On a Sunday morning, browsing through the internet you came across videos of people skimboarding. You thought to yourself; this looks interesting. Spending another hour or so you finally concluded this is something you’d love to try.
Or maybe it happened another way. Maybe a friend introduced you to skimboarding. Initially hesitant, you soon developed the curiosity to experience it in first-person.
Either way, you bought yourself a nice board or borrowed one from a friend and set up directions to the nearest beach you could find.
With some practice, you learnt how to glide over wet sand. Although it looks easy, I know you needed numerous attempts to achieve your first smooth slide. And most people get this right with enough practice. The challenge comes when the board hits the water.
Why? Well, because it sinks. The challenge is to not let it sink.
This problem is not unique, virtually everyone who has attempted skimboarding has asked the question: Why does my Skimboard sink?
Well, there’s no single answer. Multiple things can be causing this. The most common are mentioned below.
I have a wooden skimboard
Wooden skimboards are prefered by beginners. Mainly because they are quite affordable & therefore not a commitment when starting out. Wooden boards perform fairly well on wet sand, but when it’s time to ride the waves; they are a disappointment. You won’t find professionals with wooden boards, they aren’t meant for high-performance stuff.
They are smaller than professional boards, so you have less surface area to distribute your weight. Not too long before they sink. Sometimes, due to the suction of sand, they get stuck to the bottom. Yes, they are a bit of a problem.
Starting skimboarding with a wooden board is okay, but if you think it’s obstructing your progress it’s time to get a foam one. They’re better in all aspects & you won’t regret getting one.
I think I am doing it wrong
Getting on a wave at the right moment is very crucial. Hop on a little early or a little late, and you’ll mess up. It takes a lot of practice to learn when to start running. Only when you approach the wave right can you think about not sinking. If you face this problem, all you need is to dedicate more time. Hopefully, with practice, you’ll learn to time your start just right.
Another reason for a sink is not having the required speed. You’re either not running fast enough or can’t hold your speed on the wave. It can’t get more obvious, if you lack motion you will hardly stay afloat. Something that will make you feel better is the fact that compromised speed isn’t entirely your fault. It can equally be the board you’re using.
You might just be using the wrong board.
Few things about skimboards:
Boards made for flatland have symmetrical tips. Boards with a streamlined shape(almost elliptical but squeezed in the middle) are very easy to steer. While the proto shaped(you will have to google this) boards provide more stability.
On the other end of the spectrum, boards made for wave skimming are asymmetrical. They can somewhat resemble surfing boards. The curvature of the tip of these boards dictates how well you ride a wave. Take a look at your board or the other most popular boards. You’ll soon find out what curvature is prefered for which purpose.
Maintaining pace gets much easier once you find the right board.
Giant skimboard or Baby skimboard?
As you might know, bigger isn’t always better. While it is true that larger boards can be better, it doesn’t follow in every context. In simplest terms, larger boards can help you stay afloat better & are faster. On the other hand, smaller boards are slower but provide much better manoeuvrability.
When buying a board, taking into consideration your height and weight is of utmost importance. Don’t just buy the biggest or smallest board you can find. You might think that finding the right board according to your height and weight can be difficult, but let me tell you a secret; it’s not. Many online brands mention it in their specifications and you can shortlist a few in no time.
Here’s a chart for a general idea.
? 80 – 140 lbs: 45? or below (Small)
? 120 – 160 lbs: 45-47? (M)
? 140 – 180 lbs: 47-49?(M/L)
? 160 – 200 lbs: 49-51? (L)
? 180 – 220 lbs: 51 and up (XL)
If you ask me, I find this and this board from EastCoast skimboards to be very good. For an average size person, they’re perfect. Don’t feel left out if you are big in size, they got you covered as well. I find this collection to be very impressive and would recommend it hundred per cent.
You don’t necessarily have to take my word for it, take a look at their website yourself. I’m pretty certain you’ll find what you are looking for. Maybe even more.
How not to sink & get it right
First and foremost, find a flat beach. A beach with flat sand can help you start out well. If wave skimming is what you are going for, then finding a beach with a steep slope would be a good idea.
Riding the board:
? Hold your board with one hand on the tail and one grabbing the side of the middle region.
? Keep the board in the plane of the beach and when you leave it make sure you loosen the grip(of both hands) at the same time. Throw it when the sand is wet, the thin layer of water formed just after the wave has returned. It should fall parallel to the ground surface.
? When to throw your board depends on what you are planning to do.
? For Sand Skimming: Leave the board just as the wave is pulled back
? For Skimming the waves: Leave the board just when the wave comes towards you.
? The landing shouldn’t be a jump. Run towards the board, placing one foot on the tail and the other pushing the ground and eventually landing on the board, providing it with an additional force to move forward. Don’t run too fast, just as fast as you’re prepared to fall. You will figure the appropriate speed with enough trials.
? When Sandskimming, put slightly more pressure on the front foot. Opposite of this for Water Skimming. Maintain balance by bending your knees and maintaining your centre of gravity.
? Keep your vision in the direction you want to move, you’ll fall otherwise.
? Don’t practice tricks when you are a beginner. Get the fundamentals right and then you can venture into more adventurous stuff.
? Also, wear a helmet when just starting. Avoid any injuries you can avoid.
? Practice is the key. Keep practising.
Although eliminating sinking is unattainable, I hope following what’s mentioned above & taking incremental steps will help you minimise the sinking frequency.
Okay now pick up that board and let’s head towards the beach. The water is calling.