Skimboarding is a fun and exciting activity that anyone can enjoy, regardless of their skill level. Whether you’re a beginner looking to improve or an advanced rider who wants to perform tricks, one thing is certain – you need one of the best skimboards.
Two factors play crucial roles when looking for a new board – bodyweight and skill level. To help you choose the right board, we’ll break down everything you should look for when choosing. But first, we’ll take a look at the best skimboards for various skill levels, so you can get out on the water with confidence.
How To Choose a Skimboard – Buying Guide
Skimboards come in a wide range of sizes, and the right size for you is determined by your riding style and body type. As a rule of thumb, the best skimboards are the smallest and lightest models that fits your body. These will be the fastest when going over a longer distance.
If your goal is distance rather than speed, you should look into a board that is longer and wider. This type of board has more buoyancy which keeps it floating on the surface longer. On the other hand, the added surface area creates more drag that slows the board down.
When looking for a skimboard, make sure that it can support your weight. Here’s a chart that gives you general guidelines about the right length relative to bodyweight:
- 80 to 145 pounds – small boards (under 45 inches)
- 120 to 160 pounds – medium boards (45 to 45 inches)
- 160 to 200 pounds – longboards (49 to 53 inches)
- 200+ pounds – extra-long boards (53+ inches)
One more thing to take into account when choosing is your experience. If you’re just starting with the sport, we advise that you get the best long skimboard. This will provide more buoyancy and stability so you can practice and learn faster. On the other hand, if you already have some experience under your belt, going with a small board will improve the performance.
Generally speaking, shorter boards are a lot more flexible and require a higher degree of skill. The smaller foot area makes it harder to stand and control but makes it easier to do tricks and spins. While everybody starts out with a longboard, the size should be reduced as your skills build up.
When talking about the board shape, there are two main areas to pay attention to – the nose and the tail. On most boards, the nose has a gentle curve that provides the best balance between stability and speed.
As for the tail, it usually comes as either a pintail or a w-tail. A pintail is often found on the best skimboards for beginners as it gives good balance on the water, while W-tails are better if you want to make tighter turns and perform tricks.
One more area that requires your attention is the board profile, as this greatly impacts the performance in different conditions on the water. Some boards are relatively flat, while others come with a more or less pronounced rocker.
The rocker is the curvature that the board has when you look at it from the size. It will determine how easily you can stand up, while its shape keeps the board’s nose out of the sand. Going from model to model, the rocker usually measures 2 to 3 inches. This number represents the difference in height between the nose tip and the board center.
Choosing the type of rocker depends on your skill level and the conditions on the water. For example, the best skimboards for intermediate and advanced riders feature a smaller rocker (flat bottom) so they can slide faster. On the other hand, the best skimboards for beginners have a larger rocker that will provide extra stability and make learning easier.
On top of this, choosing the right skimboard will also be determined by the area you live in. In general, if you are skimboarding on the east coast, you should be opting for a 2-inch rocker as the waters tend to be a bit calmer. On the west coast, however, you will be better suited with a 3-inch rocker.
As we’ve mentioned, the rocker also influences the performance in different conditions. For example, a larger rocker is ideal for choppier water, as it will prevent the board from sinking. On the other hand, a smaller curve results in a faster board that will do wonders in calm waters.
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The size of the waves you will be boarding on also plays a role when looking for the best skimboarding board. Mostly as a result of different winds, waves on the west coast tend to be larger than those on the east coast. In addition to this, local conditions can be very different from going from one place to the next.
Generally speaking, a more buoyant board with a larger rocker is better for larger wave riding. On the other hand, a flat board made out of wood will do a good job in calm conditions.
Materials and Construction
Skimboards are most commonly made using one of two core materials: foam or wood. Once the core is shaped, it is then covered in a wrap. The wrap itself can be made from different materials whose quality plays a key role in the durability of your board. Here’s a quick review of these materials and what they add to the board quality.
- Core Materials:
- Foam – This is the lightest material option and makes the board very buoyant (stays on the water surface longer). The thing that makes it stand out is that it’s flexible and can be used in choppy water.
- Wood – It’s a strong material that allows the board to be thinner. Wood skimboards glide well over different surfaces (even sand) which allows you to use them both inland and on the coast. However, wood is much heavier than foam which means that it will break the surface of the water and sink faster than its foam counterpart.
- Fiberglass/Carbon – Even though the majority of boards are made from the two aforementioned materials, there are still some specialty models made from higher-end materials like carbon fiber or fiberglass. While they might offer a significant performance boost, they also cost a lot more.
- Wrap Materials:
- E-glass – This is the most common wrap material but, unfortunately, it’s also the weakest. Even though this board type is the least durable, its looseness adds a ton of flexibility and speed to your board. In addition, it’s often the least expensive wrap to get.
- S-glass / Texalium – This cover is featured on mid-priced boards and has a ton of advantages. Offering both strength and speed, these boards are great for those who plan to use their skimboard often.
- Carbon – This wrap is found on high-end (expensive) skimboards. The tight weave in the material makes this board quite stiff which adds to its speed and performance. This is the strongest wrap type and is ideal for coastal waters.
Q: How To Ride A Skimboard?
While it does require a bit of practicing, riding a skimboard isn’t that difficult. To get on your board, you have to follow these simple steps:
- Grab your board with both hands, keep it on your right if you are regular-footed
- Find a fairly flat wet surface along the shoreline
- Start running and building up speed
- Throw the board in front of you, making sure it falls flat
- When the board has landed, put your back foot on the tail, and then the front foot on the nose
- Bend at the knees so you can gain and maintain balance
- Slide across the water until the board loses momentum
Skimboarding can be an incredibly fun sport for those with good balance and no fear of falling. You will need to master a few basics but, once you do, you will have a lot of fun on your board. The first step is to find an optimal spot.
To begin with, you want to look for a good spot on the beach, as it’s much easier to learn on a beach than on a lake. Next, you should decide whether you would like to sand skim on a flat beach, or enjoy wave riding in an area with higher waves.
Skimboarding is much easier for those who are in good physical shape. Not only is this important for maintaining balance, but you will also have run and jump when getting on and off the board. You are also likely going to fall so you should be able to handle a few bruises.
When getting on the board, you should try to run onto it rather than jump on it. If you jump on the board, it will break the surface tension of the water and you will ultimately fall.
Be sure to practice this a few times before heading into deeper water or attempting more advanced moves. If you are having a hard time getting the hang of this, try flipping your board to the other side and see if running that way feels more natural.
Q: What Is The Difference Between Skimboard vs Bodyboard?
Skimboards and bodyboards look very similar, but there are some subtle differences between the two. The main difference are the materials that are used to make the boards. The best skimboards are typically made of a foam core that is covered in fiberglass or similar material, while bodyboards usually have plastic cores with foam edges and carbon fiber stringers.
Generally speaking, skimboards usually have similar shapes to bodyboards. As for the differences, bodyboards have more of a square shape and are thicker. In addition, bodyboards are ridden laying on the board and come with a leash, while skimboards have no leash and you ride them standing upright.
Q: What Is The Difference Between Skimboard vs Surfboard?
The main difference between skimboard and a surfboard are their sizes – surfboards are a lot longer than skimboards. While skimboards are around 4 feet long, surfboards range from 4 feet all the way up to 12 feet. Surfboards also have fins to help you maneuver when wave riding, while skimboards do not.
Q: What Is The Difference Between Skimboard vs Wakeboard?
Skimboards and wakeboards have many things in common, but one of the main ways to tell them apart is their strength. Wakeboards are designed to be used in choppier and rougher waters, and their materials match that design. If you were to take the best skimboards and use it for wakeboarding, it’s very likely that the skimboards would break really fast.
Wakeboards are also designed to hit the water hard and travel over waves at high speed. On top of this, wakeboards are often curved differently and come with fins. As for length, wakeboards usually range from 3-8 feet which makes them a bit longer than skimboards.
Q: What Are Skimboards Made Of?
Skimboards are usually made from foam or wood. If you are a casual rider and want to save some money, you should go with a board that is made of wood. Plywood and poplar are common types of wood used for a skimboard.
On the other hand, higher-end skimboards will cost you a little more but the materials are lighter and more durable. Costlier skimboards feature foam cores that have been wrapped in fiberglass or carbon fiber.
Q: How Do You Wake A Skimboard?
You do this in pretty much the same fashion as you would with a classic wakeboard. However, the performance you’ll get won’t be the same. Even the best skimboard isn’t strong enough to handle the forces of a wake, so it’s likely to get damaged. Additionally, unlike wakeboards, skimboards don’t have fins so you’ll lose balance much easier.
Q: How To Add A Traction Pad To Your Skimboard?
Adding a traction pad will significantly improve your grip and prevent slipping. Luckily, most traction pads come with simple installation instructions so you can do it on your own without too much trouble. If you want to make sure that the pad stays on, make sure to follow the instructions step by step.
First, clean your board with some rubbing alcohol, especially the part where the traction pad is going to go. After you’re sure that all the dirt and grime is removed, center the pad on your board and draw an outline of the pad.
Then, take the backing off the traction pad, and use the pencil guide to position the pad on your board. Make sure to work out any air bubbles, starting from the center and working your way out. Let the traction pad sit for 24 hours to set before you use the board (you can erase the pencil lines during this time).
Q: Should I Wax My Board If I Use Traction Pad?
Yes, especially if you’re not using a traction pad. Even with a pad, you’ll discover that some uncovered areas are not giving you the grip you need. Waxing the board will solve this problem and ensure a good grip, significantly reducing the chance of slipping and falling.
Q: What Type Of Traction Pads Should I Use?
There are two main choices when it comes to the type of traction pad you will use on your skimboard – tail pads and arch bars. Tail pads sit near the tail of your skimboard and stop your back foot from slipping backward on the board. They sit across the width of your board.
Arch bars run from one end of your board to the other. This type of traction pads is commonly found on the best skimboards, significantly reducing the chance of you getting irritated by the traction pad. The main benefit of this type of pad is that it allows you to place your feet anywhere along the length of the board.
Regardless of the type, we would always recommend buying a set of pads for your board. Combining the two types of traction pads on your board will give you excellent hold and give you a wide array of secure foot positions while riding.
Q: How To Take Care Of A Skimboard?
When you are done with your skimboard, you should rinse it with warm fresh water. This will wash off any debris such as sand, and the warm water will dissolve any accumulated sand which could damage your board.
Check your board for any damage as you are rinsing it and, if your board is still dirty, use warm soapy water to wash off the dirt. After rinsing your board, make sure to let it dry properly before storing it. However, keep it out of direct sunlight or you risk the UV rays damaging your board.
Q: What Kind Of Resins Do Skimboards Use?
A skimboard usually uses one of the three main types of resin – epoxy, polyester, or vinyl ester. Other resins are available too, but these are the most reliable options. All three will do a great job for you, with only subtle differences in performance.
Globo Surf Overview
Whether you’re on a lake or an ocean shore, skimboarding can be incredibly fun. As you’ve had the chance to see, a good skimboard is an essential piece of the puzzle. Hopefully, our reviews helped you choose a model that matches your body type and skill so you can truly enjoy yourself and perform tricks with ease.