How to catch a wave on a skimboard


Catching a wave on a skimboard involves two important variables: timing and technique.

Skimboarding can be broken down into two main disciplines: wave skimboarding and flat skimboarding.

Flat skimboarding is practiced in very shallow, non-coastal waters and does not involve surfing the waves.

On the other side of the spectrum is wave skimming, the most popular discipline in skimboarding and one that connects wet sand and ocean waves.

In most cases, skimboarders tend to prefer shore break beaches.

The reason is that the distance between the sandy slopes and the waves is shorter than traditional beach breaks, where the waves break far from the shore.

So, to catch a wave on a skimboard, you will need to know when to go for a wave, but also choose the right wave to go for it.

“In a nutshell, you want the movement of the seashore swell to match the next wave that’s coming,” said Austin Keen, a multi-time world champion once.

The Envelope

Technically speaking, you will learn how to “wrap”, which is basically going straight towards the wave and then making a 180 degree turn towards the beach.

Here’s how to do it:

1. Wait until the ocean is flat and calm;

2. Let the first wave of the set arrive;

3. Watch your second wave;

4. Don’t wait too long – put down your board on wet sand when the wave is forming, with an open face, and never when the lip is already starting to crumble;

5. As you glide towards the wave, continue your speed, lower your backhand, bend your knees and turn your board towards the sand;

6. As you complete the 180 degree turn, shift your weight to the back of the board to avoid beading and dipping into the nose;

The more you practice your timing, the more waves you will catch.

As you get used to catching small rollers on a skimboard, you may want to progress through waves that surge further backwards i.e. glide longer distances.

To do this, you will need to learn how to perform the monkey crawl.


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