Is Skimboarding Still Popular (and Are Skimboards Dangerous)?

Skimboarding is still popular among water boards enthusiasts all over the world. It continues to be popular due to the abundance of skimboarding meccas on the planet. While skimboarding is relatively safe, it does have inherent dangers, especially when pursued recklessly.
Is Skimboarding Still Popular

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Skimboarding is a type of water board sport and skimming sport that is being enjoyed worldwide by people of all ages and genders. Read on if you are curious about how skimboards work, their difference to bodyboards, whether it is safe or dangerous, who invented it, where and when it originated, and who is the best skimboarder in the world.

What Are Skimboards Used for?

Skimboards are used in skimboarding wherein you glide across the water to meet a relatively small wave and ride it until you are back on the shore. You can use your skimboard to be able to perform either wave skimming or sand skimming.

Skimboards are basically a smaller surfboard that enables you to ride smaller waves. Skimboarding uses the basic fundamentals of both surfing and skateboarding, in which you ride the board across the water while performing tricks.

How Does a Skimboard Work?

There is some physics involved in how a skimboard works. For starters, the amount of water displaced by the skimboard affects how fast it moves. This is why skimboarders use their boards in shallow water because there is less water to move, and they need less energy to move across the water.

Aside from that, a skimboard also works on what is referred to as the “ground effect.” As you use your board to skim on shallow water, swirling water will be formed underneath your board, and while the board pushes the water down, the ground counters it by pushing the water up. The ground effect prevents the board from touching the ground and, instead, pushes the board to move forward or to skim across the water.

Is Skimboarding Like Skateboarding?

There are many similarities between skimboarding and skateboarding. For one, in both sports, you basically ride the board the same way wherein you use the same points of your feet to control your board and to balance yourself perfectly.

Aside from that, skimboards work the same way skateboards do in the sense that skimboarders use them to catch the wave and perform tricks while riding the waves. With a skimboard, you can do skateboard tricks like high jumps, ollies, 360, and shove-its, among others.

What Is the Difference Between a Skimboard and a Bodyboard?

While both skimboards and bodyboards are used for watersports, there are many differences between the two. These differences include the materials used on both boards, their sizes and shapes, the way you ride them, and the fact that skimboards do not use leashes.

  • Materials: Nowadays, most skimboards are made with fiberglass or carbon fiber with polyurethane foam cores. The fiberglass or carbon fiber is then coated with an outside layer of resin to protect the board. There are also skimboards made from water-sealed plywood. However, wood skimboards are not as popular now as it is before. On the other hand, bodyboards are made from polyethylene, polypropylene, or extruded polystyrene.
  • Size and Shape: Skimboards are usually about 3 feet in length, 18 inches in width, and less than an inch in thickness, and they have the same shape as surfboards but are relatively shorter and wider. Skimboards also usually weigh 3 pounds. On the other hand, bodyboards are usually about 4 feet in length, 2 feet in width, and 2 inches in thickness. Bodyboards are more rectangular in shape as compared to skimboards, but their tails come in either crescent or bat shapes.
  • How you ride the board: Skimboards are used to catch the waves closer to the shore, where they can choose to ride the wave or to perform tricks. On the other hand, riding a bodyboard is similar to surfing. However, you stay lying on your stomach instead of riding the board while standing up. While more skilled bodyboarders can ride their bodyboards while kneeling or standing up, most bodyboarders ride their boards lying on their stomach.
  • Leashes: This is easy to remember: skimboards don’t use leashes while bodyboards do. You don’t wear a leash while riding your skimboard because you are basically riding it close to the shore, where it is impossible to lose your board during a wipeout.

Is Skimboarding Safe or Dangerous?

Because skimboarding is done very close to the shore, it is considered to be less dangerous than other board sports like surfing. While it is considered safer than most board sports, it still comes with inherent dangers.

The learning curve for skimboarding is steep. That is why kids and beginners may have a hard time controlling the board, which may result in injuries. The good news is, whether you are new to the sport or you are already a professional, there are many ways that you can avoid skimboarding-related accidents.

How Dangerous Is Skimboarding?

As with all sports, skimboarding is as dangerous as you make it to be. If you pursue the sport recklessly, it may result in falls and injuries. Here is a list of the most common injuries that you can get from skimboarding:

  • Broken bones
  • Sprained joints
  • Torn ligaments
  • Spinal injuries
  • Knee injuries
  • Surfer’s ear
  • Eye problems
  • Groin pulls

These injuries can be prevented if you only do the sport carefully and under the supervision of a qualified instructor if you are a beginner.

Is Skimboarding a Sport?

Skimboard is a type of water board sport and skimming sport. Moreover, it is the only one of its kind that does not need wave or wind conditions to be able to be performed. Skimboarding follows the basic fundamentals of both surfing and skateboarding.

Like all sports, skimboarding requires athleticism, stamina, focus, control, and balance. Skimboarding may deal with relatively smaller waves in shallow water, but it still requires skills, and you can progress and learn more advanced moves.

Is Skimboarding an Extreme Sport?

Skimboarding is often referred to as the least recognized extreme sport. It is categorized as both a water board sport and a skimming sport, along with surfing, wakeboarding, and kiteboarding. Skimboarding is performed closer to the shore, but it requires faster movements in order to be done successfully.

As the population of skimboarders in the world significantly increases, more and more sporting events are being held to judge the skills of skimboarders.

Where Did Skimboarding Originate?

Skimboarding originated in Laguna Beach in Southern California. Skimboarding came about because a couple of lifeguards in the area wanted to try surfing the waves that are way too fast and way too close to the shore.

Skimboarding has come a long way since its early years in Laguna Beach. Now it is being enjoyed all over the world by skimboarders of all ages, races, and genders.

Who Invented Skimboarding?

Two Laguna Beach lifeguards invented skimboarding. Their names are George Griffeth and Jimmy, and they started skimboarding in an attempt to surf the waves that come in too fast in the shallower part of the ocean, which is closer to the shore.

In the beginning, George and Jimmy started sliding across the waves using five feet long rounded disks that are made from redwood connected by several strips of oak. The woods were connected by screws and square nuts.

When Was Skimboarding Invented?

Skimboarding was invented around the 1920s by two Laguna Beach lifeguards named George Griffeth and Jimmy. The sport was originally called “skid boarding” until 1976 when people started referring to it as skimboarding.

Skimboarding has come a long way since it was first performed by George Griffeth and Jimmy. Its popularity has significantly increased in the past years, and more and more people come out and try the sport.

Who Is the Best Skimboarder in the World?

In 2019, Lucas Fink was recognized as the top skimboarder in the world in the Men’s Division. Prior to that, Blair Conklin was recognized as the top skimboarder in the world in the Men’s Division for three years in a row. He was crowned number 1 in 2016, 2017, and 2018.

Meanwhile, Sophia Nguyen was recognized as the top skimboarder in the world in the Women’s Division in 2019. Nguyen has topped the list for three consecutive years, starting in 2017 until 2019.