Learn to skimboard with a step-by-step tutorial that will quickly help you master skimboard on waves and flatlands.
“I don’t need to learn to skimboard – it’s easy, just run and jump straight…” I hear a lot of people say this before even trying to skim.
“Okay, go ahead and do it then,” I said, handing them my board.
It’s my favorite part – laughing while almost everyone runs away.
Yes, I’m a bit sadistic, but aren’t we all a bit sadistic?
It’s all fun, and not everyone falls on their first descent, but most do. Bailing out is only part of learning to skimboard.
I went to work every Monday morning, limping just a little. But if you don’t get hit or bruised a bit on the first start, you’re not trying hard enough.
Of course, it’s easier than other sports, but you still fall and it still hurts.
Especially once you start getting into the tricks or the rails, but we’ll get to that later – no baby, little shredder, no baby.
To do things well
This guide will teach you how to skimboard quickly, easily, and with – hopefully – as little deposit as possible.
Skimboarding – or skimming as we call it – doesn’t have to be about eating sand and water at the start.
I spent years learning to skimboard the hard way and then later relearning from friends and more advanced pros.
There really is a “good” and a “bad” way to skim.
If you learn to skimboard the right way first, you will fall less and waste time correcting bad habits.
I have taught a lot of people how to skimboard. These steps have proven to be the easiest ways for you to skim quickly and correctly.
It might seem like a slow way to learn to skimboard at first, but trust me, it will work.
Whether you’re just trying to skim for kicks or a little excited eyelet, if you follow these steps you’ll be enjoying longer rides and less bail much sooner than by any other means.
1. Start on sand or grass
The best way to learn to skimboard is to perfect your run and landing.
If you do it right, the board should still slide a bit, even on sand or grass, assuming it isn’t too sticky or muddy.
1. Place the skimboard on the ground and leave it there;
2. Back up and run towards the board directly behind it – not to the side;
3. Running directly from behind will transfer the movement forward, well, forward, which is, of course, the desired effect;
4. Running to the side will push the board to the side, and you will lose both momentum and control;
It doesn’t matter which foot is your leading foot, whether you’re awkward (right foot forward) or steady (left foot first).
If you’re riding flat, it doesn’t matter which foot you land on – the front or back foot.
If you are riding waves it is best to land on the back foot first, but it is not critical.
The reason is to prevent the nose of the board from plunging into the water when you land.
It doesn’t matter how you land. Perfecting your landing is the most critical aspect as it affects everything else.
1. As mentioned above, run directly behind the skimboard, and when you get to the board, keep running directly on it;
2. Don’t jump on it. If you jump on it, the board will drop into the water and sand – not forward. Of course, you can still go a little further, but not very far or very fast. Your journey will be short and uncontrolled at best;
3. Instead, maintain the forward motion by running naturally across the board. This will continue the forward movement and give you the most momentum with the least effort;
4. This practice of run on the set is usually what takes the longest time for most people. It takes time to get the timing of the movement of the board in the water with the rhythm of your stride;
1. Both feet should be turned to the side of the board;
2. You can also tilt your front foot slightly towards the toe of the board, but not too much. Your position is similar to that of a snowboard;
3. Keep your feet centered and toward the back of the board with each foot closely aligned with your shoulders;
4. Pop-a-squat: Bend the knees a bit to facilitate movement;
5. Getting closer to the back will give you more control on the board, as your back foot controls it and is the one that starts most tricks like shove-its and ollies. ;
When you land, like I said, it doesn’t matter if you land with your back foot first or your front foot, although if you’re riding waves it’s best to land with your back foot first.
Either way, as long as the first two steps are correct, the swing will move the board forward.
1. Keep your knees loose and bent slightly squatting;
2. Do not block your straight legs. Locking your legs will push the board down, losing control and can lead to injury as well. By keeping your knees slightly bent, you have full control as your legs are able to react with the board through the waves, and you decide where the board goes;
3. Keep your weight centered on your feet – don’t lean too far forward or backward;
4. Lean slightly more towards your back foot – just a little. If you put too much weight on your front foot, you will dive your nose into the water / sand. If you put too much on your back, however, you will slow down your board;
This balance, like all new things, will take a lot of time and practice. Soon it will become second nature.
2. Skim’s Up
You master the technique on the training grounds. Now is the time to learn to skimboard in the real world – the skim area.
I know the urge is to get out and run fast and ride, but don’t do that yet unless you are really a pain-hungry person.
1. Find a quiet spot on the shore where there is a long line with a thin layer of smooth water;
2. Just a few inches. Too deep, and you will sink (you need a lot of speed to go into deeper water). Too little, and you will stick to the sand;
3. Drop the board into the water with the nose facing the direction you want to go;
4. Now practice all the steps (above) you learned first on the sand or grass. Be prepared to relearn all of these steps because this time the board will move over you – and quickly;
Run and hunt
You now have the basics of skimboarding – you are ready to actually start skimboarding.
1. By holding the skimboard with both hands with the nose slightly up, you can start to run – slowly;
2. Taking a few steps, throw the board just slightly in front of you and run on it as practiced before;
3. Now you are skimming for real;
4. Don’t throw the board so far in front of you that you have to catch it. By the time you catch up, it will have lost all of its momentum and you will have expended too much energy. Also, you give up a lot of control doing this because the waves control the board more as it slows down, and who knows where it will be when you catch up with it;
5. You should only take a few quick steps before you run on the board;
6. Once you get the hang of this, there are faster and more efficient ways to keep going, but for now just focus on running, landing and balancing;
Give it all you got
The faster you run, the faster and further you will go.
You’ll be able to ride deeper water and have more energy to pull off some nice tricks – eventually.
Control the Skimboard
A combination of your back foot and torso is what controls the board.
1. The place where your head shoulder is facing is where you automatically go;
2. In addition, you can control the turns and move the board sideways using your back foot;
Here is an additional tip.
Once you are in the skim area, there is a certain skim etiquette that must be observed, not only for your safety but also, so as not to annoy other skimmers.
3. Read the skim lines or waves
Timing is critical.
Skimming is possible in almost all conditions, but you still need to learn to read skimming lines (plain skimming) or waves (wave foam).
It’s pretty easy to get started.
All you need is a few inches of water, some pretty smooth sand (no deep ripples, rocks or shells), and you can go there almost anytime.
1. Wait for the water to swell on the beach. As it does, it leaves you with a nice, smooth line to brush against;
2. It is good practice to watch a few swells to see how far it rises and how far the levels drop on the way back;
3. There will also be periods of higher and lower swell between the average periods;
It’s a little trickier.
As with surfing, you will need to watch the swell trend.
1. The goal is to start running when you see a wave coming before it breaks, so you can ride it as it breaks – just like surfing;
2. Usually you will start when you see the wave you want to start to emerge;
3. Running and falling quickly you will usually hover over the previous wave that has already broken, lifting the nose of the board slightly to “jump” it – but don’t jump too much. Your goal is to move forward quickly to catch the wave it’s on its way;
4. Once you get to the wave, move with it, hovering over the direction it is going, or you can use it to launch yourself into the air and flip or “jump” it;
These are the basics of skimboarding.
Keep practicing these steps and check out these skimboard tips, and you’ll be skimming like a pro in no time.
Once you’ve mastered them, it’s time to learn some simple tricks and move on to more advanced techniques.
Words from Nicole Rigler | Skimboarder