At the Beach — May 20, 2014 at 5:00 am

A Beginner’s Guide to Skimboarding

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Bengt Nyman | http://www.flickr.com/photos/97469566@N00/3120444908

Bengt Nyman | http://www.flickr.com/photos/97469566@N00/3120444908

If you’re looking to pick up an edgy and physically challenging new beach hobby but don’t want to mess with big waves on a surfboard, then perhaps skim boarding could be right down your alley. All you need is a slick shore, some waves and a skim board, and, oh yea—ample patience and a tough backside for falls. Here are some tips for the budding skimboard enthusiast.

Location
For beginners, search out a beach with little slope near the water’s edge to get used to skimming on the sand. Once you get your flow down, wave skimming can be attempted on a beach with a powerful shore break.

The Gear
Visit your local surf shop and work with a professional to get some ideas on what board will work best for you. Smaller, flatter wood boards are more cost friendly and better for sand skimming. Newer foam/carbon fiberboards are better for wave skimming. Do your research to find the perfect match, and don’t forget the wax.

Be Physically Prepared
Have a general idea of what you’re in for when you make your first skim attempt. It takes a lot of running, jumping, balance and plenty of falls that can leave bruises and shell shards sticking into your skin. Stretch your legs, arms and back muscles before each session and know what to expect- practice is key, you’ll find your rhythm, I promise!

The Technique
Take the board and place one hand on the back tail and one hand on the side of the board about halfway. Keep it held out in front of your body, wait until a wave washes up, then sucks back out, leaving a thin coat of water on the sand surface. Start running and drop your board flat out in front of you on the thin coat of water.

The Big Jump
Now, it’s time to go for the ride of a lifetime. Refrain from just hopping straight on top because you will fall and it will hurt. Try to ‘run’ onto the board by placing your lead (front) foot towards the front of the board first and then following with the back foot. This technique ensures that you will not lose speed as you jump on.

Take it Away!
Now have a blast! Enjoy the wind and spray whipping your face as you glide across the glassy shoreline. Like anything, it will take a fair amount of time and practice to get your groove, and you will pick up a few light injuries and sand in the eyes along the way. But, once you break through and make that first ride, it’ll all be worth it and you won’t be able to stop!

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