In recent years, a fairly young sport with a board – skimboarding, a type of surfing on shallow water near the shore, has become increasingly famous. In this article we will look at what skimboarding is, when it was invented and how to start doing it if you really want to.


History of Skim

In the twenties of the last century, when surfing was experiencing its renaissance, the natives of California were drawn to new discoveries. Not everyone could afford expensive boards, but many wanted to get their share of adrenaline and ride.

The birthplace of skimboarding is Laguna Beach, California.

Californians, mostly lifeguards, are resourceful people. They left the fiddling with mahogany, fiberglass and resin coating to professional surfers. For their own good fortune, ordinary plywood, lightly trimmed to a decent look, was enough.

The birthplace of skimboarding is Laguna Beach, California. The city was chosen for a reason. It is famous for its unruly waves, soft tides and perfect sand. Sliding in the shallow waters or on the wet sand fell in love with the local youth. Fansurfing quickly spread among sea lovers. The popularity of the new sport began to grow in the 1960s. A group of guys were going to relax and have fun on Victoria Beach.

Among the teenagers were future famous riders Tex Haynes and Peter Prietto. In the late 1970s, the masters united and founded a skimboarding company named after the beach – Victoria Skimboards. It was this event that elevated skimboarding to the rank of a serious sport and consolidated its status. The first competitions were held under the company’s management, and Laguna Beach became the official gathering center for skimboarders from all over the United States.

In the 1970s, every kid knew what skimboarding was and got up on a board more than once. Some retained this love for the rest of their lives, spending all their free time on the board. In the 1980s, skimboarding reached the height of its popularity.

Particularly through publications, stories, photos and covers in the famous Sports Illustrated magazine. In the 1990s interest in the sport weakened slightly, but thanks to the Internet there were a large number of specialized sites and communities. Today, wherever sandy beaches and water can be found, skimboarders are perfecting their skills.


Modern skimboarding has evolved considerably. Athletes practice two techniques: Waveskimming and Sandskimming.

Waveskimming / Waveriding

Closer to surfing. This style is the most popular and is recognized as the best kind of skimboarding. In wave riding there are more competitions and, accordingly, more recognized athletes. It is also the hardest and most technical type of skimming.


Gliding in shallow water on sandbanks. Sandskimmers perform various tricks borrowed from skateboarding and surfing. For example, popular with skaters ollie. This also includes jibbing – sliding with natural or artificial obstacles.

How to choose a skimboard

Compared to surfboards, skimboards are smaller and thinner and feature an oval or teardrop shape. The bow and stern are slightly raised up, so that the board does not bury itself in the sand and waves. The boards are often covered with a special rug for stability.

The thinner the board, the more maneuverable it is, and the thicker it is, the longer it glides.

The height of the board reaches approximately the middle of the chest. The thickness depends on the materials used in production, but usually ranges from 2 to 2.5 cm. However, some high-tech water-resistant skimboards with a foam layer, as well as softboards (made of soft wood-fiber material) have a thickness of about 5 cm. The thinner the board, the more maneuverable it is, and the thicker it is, the longer it glides.

Today, as before, a large percentage of skimboarding boards are made of wood. Professionals, of course, are capricious and ride only skimboards made of:

  • fiberglass,
  • epoxy,
  • and carbon.

The latter is the highest-grade type of fiberglass, extremely strong and stiff, and is used to make professional boards that are very fast and also very expensive.

In the U.S., domestically, you often hear another name for skimboards – foamie (from the English word for “foam”). This is due to the fact that many manufacturers use foam plastic, which resists water pressure well. Fiberglass is used to strengthen the outer shell.

Today’s skimming boards are the result of trial and error. Beginner boards are quite different from the professional ones. It is important to choose the right skimboard, taking into account its size, functionality, ability and style.

The skimboard must be light enough to glide on the waves, but at the same time heavy enough so that it is not simply blown away by the wind. Since the skimboard needs the appropriate speed to reach the desired wave, the board must glide well through the water. An important element is the rocker, chosen with the terrain in mind. There are three types of rocker:

  • permanent,
  • hybrid,
  • and traditional.

A permanent rocker is a bend from bow to tail. Such boards are famous for better control over big waves and for steeper slopes. The next type and the most popular among riders is the hybrid. Hybrid rocker boards have about ¾ of the bend and the rest (usually the tail) is the flat part.

Hybrid boards are suitable for all speeds, as well as high waves and flat tricks. They are versatile. Finally, the traditional rocker is a completely flat board, except for the nose. Typically found on the East Coast of the United States, where waves are far from shore and a good run on land is necessary.