Flatland skimboarding

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Flatland skimboarding

Flatland skimboarding (also known as inland skimboarding) is a form of skimboarding practiced on non-coastal waters, such as a river, lake, stream or puddle. It uses a wooden board about three times as wide as a skateboard and one and a half times as long. The board is thrown across a thin film of water. While the board is still moving the rider jumps on and skims across the water to do what ever tricks he or she can imagine.


Skimboarding has been around since the 1920s when lifeguards from Laguna Beach used large plywood disks to skim the wavebreaks. Inland skimboarding emerged in the mid 1970s and has its roots in Sacramento, California. With homemade skimboards made of plywood, fiberglass and resin, skimmers were sliding on sandbars along the American and Sacramento rivers. Most skimmers back then were just doing headstands, multi-360 spins and 180 shuvits for tricks.

The freestyle aspects of inland skimboarding were pioneered in the early 1980s by two Sacramento locals: Launie Porteous and Mark Robinson. Influenced by the emerging skateboard scene, Launie and Mark started adapting their newfound skateboarding skills to skimboarding and the concept of freestyle skimboarding was born. This freestyle adaptation has led to what is now considered the true definition of this sport.

With the evolution of the Ollie on a skimboard, it allowed skimmers to transcend into olling over obstacles and opened up the doors for more technical tricks. Riding up the side of a wet river bank and coming back down to simulate a 1/4 pipe was also a new trick. Skimmers also propped up skimboards or wood planks on logs creating a ramp to jump off and do more tricks.

In the late 80's, skimmers advanced to building better rails and jumps and adapting more technical skateboard tricks, but they still used stuff found around their environment like shopping carts, road cones, trash cans, etc. to use for obstacles.

The 90's is where inland skimboarding started to really take hold as a cult sport. Utah was next to have an inland skimboard scene that was actually influenced by Sacramento skimmers that transplanted there. Come the late 90's, inland skimboarding had steadily grown and had emerged in other US cities and in Canada and Australia.

As of today, Canada has the largest number of participants of flatland skimmers; they can't be referred to as inland skimmers because they skim on the coast, but their style of skimboarding is the same as inland skimboarding. Australia also has a large coastal flatland skimboard scene. Flatland and inland skimboarding has also taken hold in various European countries.

Differences from other boardsports[edit]

Flatland skimboarding can be done in almost every region of the world as it only requires a shallow pool of water which can be found in oceans lakes and even flooded fields. Riding rails in flatland skimming is unique in that you can combine snowboarding and skateboarding tricks into one. Without trucks to prevent the rider from spinning creates many variations and combinations of tricks when combining it with the non-binding skateboard tricks such as big-spins and pop shuv-its.


In late 1970s and early 80s, companies such as J-Gordon and Victoria manufactured wood skimboards for local California surf and skateboard shops. For the first time inland shops like GoSkate of Sacramento offered skimboards to the local crowd. Shortly thereafter, Surf&Skate in Sacramento also got involved with offering boards to the emerging skim scene.

Before the availability of production-made boards, inland skimmers just made their own wood boards from scratch. The boards back then were a classic tear-drop or tombstone shape. Current designs and constructions have not changed much, but the new shape preference for most inland skimmers is a twin-tip or symmetrical shaped board.

The problems encountered with inland skimboarding are the countless rocks, sticks, logs, clam shells, railsliders, run-away boards, etc. These obstacles will eventually destroy any foam constructed board, so wood is still the preferred material of choice for most inland skimmers.


There are an unlimited number of tricks that can be performed while skimboarding. This list only covers a small chunk of the tricks possible. As with other board sports, riders seek out or invent new tricks to progress the sport.


  • Ollie-A basic jump into the air with the board.
  • Ollie North-A small variation on the Ollie except that you lift your front foot off the board.
  • Hippy Jump-The rider rides up to an object a few inches off the ground and jumps over it while the board goes under.
  • 180 ollie- Performing a 180 spin while doing an ollie

Flip Tricks[edit]

  • Varial Flip - Consists of doing an ollie and then flicking then leading foot in the front right of the board which if done right will generate a flipping and spinning motion that will spin the board in a 180 or 360 depending on how much power was generated from the foot and transferred from the foot and will flip the board also in a side motion that will eventually make and end product of a varial flip.
  • Kickflip - A kickflip is when the rider after airborne from an ollie then proceeds to use the outer sole of his/her leading foot and also applied with a fast forward motion of the leading foot which should be simoultaniously timed with the side flicking motion with the leading foot, the board will flip in a sideways motion thus the rider will stop this motion and stomp the trick. This is arguably one of the hardest tricks in skimboarding.


  • By pushing the sand while moving the rider can spin a number of revolutions.


  • Shuv-It- By jumping in the air and sweeping the back foot forward and the front foot backwards you can make the board spin 180 degrees.
  • 360 Shuv-It - By placing your feet differently and sweeping your feet harder it is possible to spin the board a full 360 degree spin.
  • 540 Shuv-It - By placing your feet differently and sweeping your feet harder than a 360 shuv it, and jumping higher to get the full 540 degree spin.
  • Pop Shuv-It - By mixing an Ollie and a Shuv-It you can spin the board in the air.
  • Big Spin - Mixing a 360 shuv it with 180 varial.
  • Bigger Spin - Mixing a 540 shuv it with 180 varial. Trick Created by John Minns
  • Induvit - Consists of doing a large shuv it and then grabbing the board in an indy in either the 90 degree position or 270 position and then proceeding to finish the shuv it by continuing to finish the spin with the arm that grabbed the indy in the beginning of the Induvit.

Body Varials[edit]

  • Body Varial- If you jump into the air and spin without spinning the board you can perform a Body Varial. You will know you have performed this right if you land with your back forward.
  • Sex Change By combining a Shuv-It and a Body Varial you can perform a Sex Change. You will know you have done this right if you land with your back foot forward and the back of your board facing forward.


The first ever inland skimboard event and competition was put on by GoSkate skate shop in 1985 at a skim spot named Rio located along the American River in Sacramento, California. The second inland skimboard event, Skim Fest, occurred in 1997 and was also held in Sacramento along the American River at a popular skim spot known as Paradise Beach. Skim Fest was created by skim pioneers Launie Porteous and Mark Robinson and the event has evolved into an annual competition since 1998 to present. It now holds the title as the longest running inland skim competition in the world.

External links[edit]