|This article does not cite any references or sources. (November 2010)|
Skimboarding (or skimming) is a boardsport in which a skimboard (a smaller counterpart to a surfboard without fins) is used to glide across the water's surface. Unlike surfing, skimboarding begins on the beach by dropping the board onto the thin wash of previous waves. Skimboarders use their momentum to skim out to breaking waves, which they then catch back into shore in a manner similar to surfing. Another aspect of skimboarding is 'flatland', which involves performing tricks derived from skateboarding such as ollies and shove-its on the wash of waves without catching shore breaks. Skimboarding originated in Southern California when lifeguards wanted an easy way to get across the beaches of Laguna. Skimboarding has developed since then to extreme riding into big shorebreak.
Riders generally favor a board length which reaches about their mid-chest height when stood on end.
Thickness of the board depends somewhat on the materials used in construction, but typically ranges from 3/8 inch to 1 inch. The most common thickness is 5/8" and 3/4". A few high-flotation foam core boards and "soft" boards have been built with thicknesses in excess of 2 inches.
Most skimboards will have some nose lift, or rocker. There are three types of rockers generally used for skimboards. There is a constant rocker, which means that the board has a constant curve from nose to tail. Constant rockers are known for better control on bigger waves. Another type of rocker and the most commonly used is a hybrid rocker. This means that the board has a curve on the bottom through about 3/4 of the board's length, the rest (meaning the flat part) is usually the tail. This type of rocker is good for both speed and control on decent size waves; also the best type of board for flatland tricks. Last of all, a traditional rocker means that the board is almost completely flat except for the nose.
There are many types of dangers that skimboarders can face on a daily basis. It is not uncommon to see fractures or dislocations of the lower limbs, some requiring serious medical attention. Lacerations, twisted ankles and bruises are also common, due to impacts with the board itself, or rocks, logs and other obstacles present on beaches. Hamstring injury is also pretty common due to the fast and extreme movement of skimboarder's leg when they run toward the water and jump on the board. Drowning amongst skimboarders is not as likely as amongst surfers due to the shallow water in which skimboarding is usually practiced. Also, due to the shallow water, breakage of the neck is a very dangerous possibility when riding big waves.
A study was done in a British journal on the dangers of skimboarding and it states, "Over a 5 month period—May to September 2003—10 patients were seen by the fracture team at the Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust. Of the 10, eight were male, with an average age 18.7 (range 12–31). There was an equal incidence of left and right sided injuries. All the injuries were closed with no neurovascular symptoms or signs. Eight were to the lower limb, all of which were fractures of the distal tibia, ankle, and mid-foot. Six patients required hospital admission, all of these injuries were from skimboarding.""
Many injuries that skimboarders suffer happen over a long period of time. Such injuries include: groin strain, fractures, leg pains, shin splints etc. Some of these injuries can be prevented by stretching before and after a session.
Other dangers to consider are riptides. They can be very strong in certain areas and bring a skimboarder out to sea very quickly. There have been a few incidences of skimboarders dying from drowning by being caught in a riptide. If skimming in a new area make sure to ask locals about the tides and swells. It's also a good idea to check tide charts.
Rocks that are hidden under waves can also cause serious injury, so again, scout out the area and ask other people if unfamiliar with the area.
Many consider the center of skimboarding to be located in Laguna Beach, California where skimboarding became popular when life guards would skim across sand on pieces of wood. In Dewey Beach every year the world Championships of Skimboarding are held on New Orleans street. Big skimboarding waves are found in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. However, people skim in many other locations throughout North America, Europe (the main locations being Portugal, France, Spain, United Kingdom & Holland), Australia, Asia, and South America. Many people skim inland because of difficulty with shore access. Flatland skimboarding can be done nearly anywhere: lakes, rivers, creeks, ponds, golf courses, puddles, or even wet grass. Flatland skim scenes have developed in places such as North America (Outer Banks, New Jersey, Washington, British Columbia, Ontario, Delaware, California, Florida, Utah, Texas, The Great Lakes and the Maritimes) Australia (Melbourne and Parramatta), Wellington NZ. In Europe, the Flatland skim scene growing fast, with the biggest group of skimboarders situated in the Netherlands. Skimboarding is popular on many beaches where it is impossible to surf, for example on Boa Viagem, Recife, Brazil, where surfing is banned due to the threat of shark attacks. Beaches that have streams or rivers flowing into ocean can also make ideal downhill skimming areas.
Types of skimboards
Inland boards tend to be made of wood. Wood core boards are quite rugged. They are meant for grinding rails and doing tricks. They stand up well against rocks and shells, obstacles, and general wear.
Flatland or Inland Skimboards
Inland boards are generally made of wood and are easy to find at a local surf or skate shop, depending on your location. If you are close to a beach or the coast it shouldn’t be a problem finding a board.
There are two basic sides of the spectrum for board types. The “Trick board,” a board where both sides are symmetrical and the shape is even throughout. This makes it ideal for spinning the board and completing tricks due to its symmetry. The “Cruiser board,” a board where the shape follows the same curves as a surfboard and is either slightly pointed or rounded at the top or tip and the back is slightly rounder. The backside of the board can also have a tail. These boards are typically called pintails.
The increasing international interest in skimboarding has resulted in the development of a competitive industry, catering for the ever-increasing demand for both quality and cheap skimboards. Each company has what they call team riders, people who skimboard in competitions while representing their company sponsor to promote their boards. They usually have an amateur and professional team who are supplied by the manufacturer with skimboards at no or little cost. However as a pro-rider the company usually pays for all traveling expenses for their riders on competition tours.
Skimboarding contests are held to establish ranking amongst skimboarders and provide a way for companies to market product. In North America there are two centralized organizations that hold events: United Skim Tour and Skim USA. In recent years the United Skim Tour (UST) has focused solely on professional competition while Skim USA has gravitated towards amateur competition. Some events are both Skim USA and UST events, and all Skim USA competitions have a professional division.
In Europe, the European Skimboard League was created in 2009 to promote skimboarding across the world. Its creation has been seen as one of the finest moments in European skimboarding to date. The 2009 League was won by Emanuel (Mega) Embaixador and in 2010 Hugo Santos. The league consists of 4 stages mostly held in the Summer months, although UK & Spanish events tend to happen just outside of the holiday season. The stages are held in Portugal, France, The UK & Spain, each hosted at one of the best skimboarding locations found anywhere in the world. The UK event is held at Tolcarne Beach in Newquay, Cornwall. Newquay is a location famous for its surfing scene and Tolcarne Beach is known as the UK Wedge to many surfers, bodyboarders & skimboarders.
The Victoria World Championships has in the past determined the World Champion of Professional Skimboarding but it moved to a points system through United Skim Tour. Most events consist of a set time and date but there has been a small movement to start holding waiting period competitions like the Vilano Throw Down, also the DB Pro-AM at Dash Point State Park. The pros all look forward to heading down to Cabo San Lucas every spring for the first official contest of the year. Some well-known skimboarders are Bill Bryan, Brad Domke, Morgan Just, Grady Archbold, James Lovett, Sam Stinnett, Paulo Prietto, Brandon Sears and Brandon Rothe. Three leading companys are Exile Skimboards, Victoria Skimboards and Zap Skimboards. There are two types of contests; flatland and wave riding contests.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Skimboarding|