How Skimboards are Made

Skimming is a board sport just like surfing, but the difference is that the rider deals with smaller waves and rides near the beach as compared to surfing where the waves are gigantic and deep in the ocean.

Skimming starts with the rider dropping the board on the beach after the previous wave starts to return leaving a thin layer of water.

The skimmers perform a variety of surface as well as air maneuvers during their ride which include “Wraps, 360 shove-its, and 180s, Big Spins, etc.”

What are Skimboards and what are their characteristics?

Skimboard Riders normally prefer a board length that reaches out to their mid-chest height when standing on end.

The thickness of the board normally depends upon the materials used for construction but fluctuates from 1 to 2.5 cm. However, the most common thickness of the board is 1.5 to 2 cm. Some of the high-flotation foam boards are made with a thickness exceeding 5 cm.

The thinner the board sharper the turns sacrificing speed, and as the board gets thicker it glides more, but sacrifices turns. Hence a 1.5cm board will turn sharp but will sacrifice speed and on the other hand, a 2cm thick board will glide more, but will not turn sharp as a 1.5 cm board.

Most Skimboards have nose lifts or rockers. There are normally 3 types of rockers:

  1. Constant rockers: The word itself suggests that there is a constant curve on the board from the nose to the tail.

  2. Hybrid rockers: the board has a curve on the bottom around about three-quarters of the board length and the remaining part which is normally the tail is flat.

  3. Traditional rockers: These boards are entirely flat except for the nose. They are commonly used on the east coast where the waves are far out.

What are the materials and equipment required for making a skimboard?

  1. A sheet of plywood at least a size of 3 by 5.

  2. Sandpaper: both soft and hard.

  3. Jigsaw or Band Saw

  4. Eclectic sander.

  5. Heavy bricks or weights for giving the Board a curve or so-called “rocker.”

  6. Duct Tape

  7. Waterproof wood glue

  8. Varnish spreader

  9. Clamps

  10. Paint and markers for designing the board.

How to make a Wood Skimboard?

The answer to his questions is hidden in 8 steps which have to be followed precisely to make the board successfully glide on the water. So here it goes:

Step 1: Find a piece of plywood that is 3 by 5 in size and is 1/3 to ¼ inch in thickness. You need to find the right balance between the board being too heavy or the board being too weak, so try and test many different wood thicknesses to see which works out for you.

A thinner board is better for smaller riders and sharp curves as discussed earlier, whereas the thicker ones are good for durability, speed, and bigger people.

Step 2: Take a pen or pencil and draw the shape of the board on the plywood. You may seek help from the internet, but you can also be creative with your shape. The basic idea of the board shape is a point at the start, a broadening in the middle, and a drop-off at the end.

Step 3: Cut the board as per the drawn design, use a Jigsaw/Band saw or something which can cut the board cleanly and straight. Be sure that you are safe and don’t hurt yourself, if you need assistance seek it!

Step 4: Use the sandpaper to smoothen the board, round the edges of the board at the top, and leave the bottom part as it is. Give the board nice sand down so that it rounds up perfectly and makes it safe to use.

Step 5: Give your board a rocker. This simply means bending the boards so that it creates a curve till the nose or tip of the board. The curve is the key for the board to ride over the water and not sink in it.

The curve should always be upward and not downward as it will cause the board to dive into the water every time to try to skim.

How to shape the Board?

Soak the smoothen board in water for days and take it out, put a small piece of wood or any other thing under the nose, and then put enough weight on top of the board to allow it to bend near the nose and stay straight in the middle.

To make this imperative step more clear, do the following: place a couple of bricks under the nose while the board is lying flat on a straight hard surface, then put approximately 100-120 pounds of weight in the middle which will allow the nose to curve and the middle part to be straight.

Step 6: Once the board is dried entirely, use the sandpaper again to make it even smoother as this is the last time you are going to sand it!

Step 7: This step is all about being creative and eliciting your designing and painting skills. Once the board is completely smooth, now it’s time for it to undergo some painting. Use Oil paint or enamel paint to cover your board.

There are other options also you can use waterproof stickers, lacquer for your board. Allow the board to dry off completely and then start using it

Step 8: This step is simple, the boards ready to use, so take them out in the water and test it, start skimming. However, it needs to be waxed before starting so that water slides over it rather than sticking on the board, hence don’t forget to use surfboard Wax before your ride.


If you want to know more about Skimboarding or want to buy skimboard-related accessories don’t hesitate to visit East Coast Skimboards . We deliver our products to your doorstep.

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