Frequently Asked Questions
Where can I get a skimboard in my hometown?
Good skimboards are hard things to get your hands on in most parts of the world. If you live outside the United States, chances are that you will have to have a skimboard shipped to you. This can be very expensive, but unfortunately there is no alternative for the time being. There are several online retailers who can ship a board almost anywhere, if you are willing to pay for it. It is also possible to order directly from some of the manufacturers.
What is the best skimboard for me?
Skimboards are a lot like cars. People tend to like certain ones for no particular reason. Of course certain brands are more durable than others just like certain boards are cheaper than others. There are certain objective facts about different boards which you can use to guide you in the appropriate direction when choosing a skimboard. In the end it is always a matter of personal preference however. Many board models are so similar (and good) that there is no clear choice as to which is best. Take comfort with the fact that in these circumstances you can’t go wrong. No matter what you choose, it will be a good choice. Check out these resources to help point you in the right direction.
Guide to Choosing a Skimboard
Skimboard Buyer’s Guide
Guide to Board Sizes
Skimboard Design Section
I have a bunch of scratches on the bottom of my board, do I need to repair these?
While these scratches may be ugly and may even affect performance slightly, it is not worth repairing them unless the fiberglass has been perforated. Any time the foam of your skimboard is exposed to water, the potential for further problems is increased. The water will often help to break down the foam. Since the foam is the main structural component of the board it is wise to keep it intact. If the scratches are deep enough for water to reach the foam then you should have them repaired as soon as possible. Otherwise you can just let them be.
I keep sinking when I am going out to the waves, how do I stay afloat?
The first thing to keep in mind is that “not every wave is reachable”. In fact, it is impossible to reach most waves on a skimboard. Reaching the wave with speed requires a combination of astute wave selection and skimboarding skill.
1) Wave Selection: The main thing to look for when learning to ride waves is NOT the wave you will be riding. You should be looking at the water in front of the wave you will be riding. Is it moving? How fast? In what direction? Water that is moving toward the shore helps keep you afloat. Water that is being sucked out to sea is almost impossible to float over. You need to run for the right waves in order to be a good skimboarder.
2) Skimboarding Skill: The main thing to keep in mind is that you want to skim over the water, not plow through it. To do this it is important that you keep your board as flat on the water as possible to maximize your surface area and minimize your drag. When making the transition from sand to water you will often need to shift your weight onto your back foot to raise the nose. After you make the transition however, you should immediately balance your weight over the center of your board for maximum efficiency. One advanced technique for maintaining your speed is side slipping.
I keep sinking when I try to turn off of the wave. What am I doing wrong?
There are numerous potential problems. You may not have enough speed. The wave may not be big/strong enough. You may be approaching the wave at too ‘steep’ an angle. Or you may just not be turning very efficiently. The last problem is the hardest one to cure. It takes time and patience. There are many different kinds of turns in skimboarding. Some are super fast slashes while others are slow carves. Which kind of turn you use depends on what the wave calls for. The thing to realize is that any time you are turning you are losing speed which you must get back from the wave. Because of this it is important to time your ride perfectly so that your turn lasts for a small a duration as possible and so that you get the maximum amount of “push” from the wave. It is much easier for beginners to perform a short turn successfully than a long drawn out turn. Another tip that may help is to try running parallel to the wave. by doing this you minimize the amount of push you need to get from the wave because you are already moving in the same general direction.
Can you put some pictures of “John Doe” on the page?
Many people write me asking me to include pictures of their friends or favorite riders. Skim Online has a policy of posting all good pictures. In general whether or not the picture is included is completely determined by the quality of the shot, with no consideration given to who the rider is. I would rather have a great shot of an amateur from Texas than an OK shot of some pro in Laguna. That said I simply don’t have pictures of every rider on the planet. Many times the reason I don’t have any pictures of a given rider is simply because I don’t have any. There is a solution however. Send me some photos! I regularly include photos submitted by readers in the photo sets. If you have some shots that you think are worthy of the page then send them to me (email or US Postal). I will be happy to scan and return photos.
Which traction pads are the best?
Astrodeck and X-Trak are the most popular. Astrodeck most notably makes a rear traction pad and arch bar designed by 9 time world champ Bill Bryan. In addition to rear pads and arch bars, X-Trak makes strips of traction which work effectively when used with archbars to provide additional front traction. X-Trak, supports skimming by buying ads in Skim Magazine, and sponsoring riders. Other traction companies are OAM, and Powderkeg.
How do I re-attach my traction pad which has come unglued?
Clean all the wax and residue from the surface using rubbing alcohol and a credit card. Try to get all the sand grains off the bottom of the pad. Using 3M’s aerosol spray contact cement, (77, I think). Coat the bottom of the pad with just enough contact cement to cover all off the pad. Apply the pad to the board and make sure the (liquid) cement bonds to the board. Quickly remove the pad and allow the pad and board to dry for about 5 minutes. You THEN permanently apply the pad back onto the board making sure it is contacting everywhere. Let this dry for a good few hours before getting it wet. It should last for a long time. Superglue also works, but is more permanent (i.e. you can’t clean it off if you ever want to remove the pad), and it is difficult to get all the edges stuck at the same time.
Why do companies sponsor riders and how do I get sponsored?
Companies sponsor riders because if one can bring in enough business (i.e. $$$) to the company, it is worth it to the company to give up a $300 board to that person. That is IF!!!! you can help them out. For example: the publicity that companies gain from donating goods to the show “The Price is Right” far outweighs the cost of the goods themselves. To market yourself you have to show companies how you will benefit them. Too many young inexperienced skimmers just want free stuff and don’t realize that companies aren’t in the business of giving stuff away. You have to give to receive!!! People will go out and be inclined to buy Quiksilver clothing because Kelly Slater wears it. Therefore Kelly Slater is valuable to Quiksilver and is compensated for the use of his endorsement.
I suggest that someone who wants to get sponsored work on refining their skills so that their skimming sells itself, instead of begging companies for free stuff. That makes one look even more desperate than before. Think as if you were in the company’s shoes looking at yourself. If you think you are good, the companies will think you are barely good. If you think you maybe could be worth sponsoring, the companies will think you are not worth sponsoring.
Click Here for more information on getting sponsored.
How do I maintain my board so it will last longer?
For minor blemishes, using superglue to do “touchup” repairs on the rails and any other cracked or broken surfaces is the easiest and cheapest way to repair you board yourself. For rails whose fiberglass has worn away and foam is exposed. Apply a layer of superglue to all of the exposed area. Repeat this many times until a thick protective layer is created. For the tail area of the bottom of the board. lay the board upside down, flat and apply superglue to the rear “rail area”, or the area that is 2 inches from the edge for the 1st foot or two. Apply enough superglue so that there will be enough to fill in the rough spots or scratches. Use a old credit card or phone card to “squeegee” or spread the superglue across the worn area. This will fill in any rough spots and will remove the excess. Have a clothe handy to wipe off any excess glue which will run down the rails. It should work, but a 2nd application may be necessary. In my experience, resin flakes away and superglue is the most durable material, having an acrylic base. It should last for a few months until it gets rough again. When necessary, repeat the procedure.
For a nose which wears quickly, build up a “nose guard” using resin and thickener, like flour. Apply a bead about the diameter of a pencil for the 1st inch or two down the rail on each side (L & R) starting at the tip of the nose. This will provide a “bumper” when you put your board into the sand, and will wear away the resin instead of your fiberglass.
Finally, Bowling alley wax will make your bottom more slick and more resistant to wear from sliding on the sand. Follow the directions on the package for proper application.
Click Here for more board care tips.
What type of rocker should I get?
Most board companies have the rocker down to a science and know better than you will what works best. But to explain it can be tricky. Generally, flat rocker will make the board more difficult to turn and deal with choppy conditions. But, it will be fast. While a lot of rocker will be very easy to turn, yet will prevent you from keeping your speed.
More Nose rocker helps you hop over waves, but too much can cause the board to “bog” down, making you lose speed. Less nose rocker increases your speed yet makes it difficult to negotiate imperfections such as chop and late turns.
No tail rocker makes the board faster, but harder to turn in the wave. A little tail rocker lets you put pressure on the back which will lift the nose higher allowing you to “hop” over small waves, and it will increase turning ability. A lot of tail rocker, will be extremely easy to turn in the pocket of the wave and easy to hop over chop, but will further decrease your ability to keep your speed.
Click Here for more information on Skimboard Design
What are the differences between carbon and regular fiberglass skimboards?
Carbon fiber is a much stronger and stiffer fabric than fiberglass. By weight it is over 100% stronger and 100% stiffer. Most skimboards however only have one sheet of carbon fiber on each side. So the resulting skimboards are roughly the same strength even though they have stronger fabric in them. But carbon fiber boards are significantly stiffer than regular fiberglass boards. That turns out to be the main difference between boards made with the two materials.
What are the differences between regular fiberglass and S-Glass?
Regular fiberglass is commonly known as E-Glass. The “E” stands for Electrical fiberglass because these kinds of glass filaments were originally conceived for use in circuit boards and the like. But as it turns out, E-Glass provides very good strength a stiffness compared to the cost of the material. Because of this, it is by far the most commonly used reinforcement. The “S” in S-Glass stands for structural. This kind of fiberglass undergoes much more processing than E-Glass which results in a stronger and stiffer filament. Unfortunately, all that extra processing is expensive and hence S-Glass is about three times as expensive as E-Glass. However, S-Glass is about 30% stronger than E-Glass as well as 15% stiffer. Boards made with S-Glass benefit from these characteristics.
How can I permanently put paint-marker artwork on my board?
Sand then clean the entire surface before you do it or it won’t stick. Let the marker paint dry completely. You should put a very thin gloss coat over it using clear spray paint or polyeurethane or satin. Do not apply it to thick or the clear paint will dissolve the market paint and cause your artwork to “bleed” or run. When the 1st coat is dry, repeat for about 3 or 4 more times until you are satisfied that the coat is thick enough. Better to do too many than too few. If you do not put a “clear-coat” on top of it, the wax will eventually dissolve the paint and it will wear off .
How do I avoid being charged extra when I take my skimboard on an airplane?
1. True Story: I arrive at airport (Dulles) with skimboard under arm. The only thing on it is pipe insulation wrapped all the way around the perimeter — nothing else. I figure if I don’t even attempt to conceal the damn thing, then the baggage throwers will lose interest and just place it normally on the plane. It worked. Anyways, the lady at the counter says, “What’s that?”. I say “boogie board” (note the use of the term ‘boogie-board’ instead of bodyboard, so as to ensure she fully understands exactly what the item that I am carrying is) She says, “Oh, well there’s no charge for those.” I arrive at my destination with one undamaged skimboard and a pocket full of cash. End of story. – Anton Flewelling
2. Once they “catch you”, just ask them to kindly point to the sentence in their baggage policy that says skimboards will be charged extra. And then when they balk, you have them on the run… why should you pay extra if its not even in the policy? They will try to say that it is similar to a surfboard. But this is nothing like a surfboard. Surfboards are on average 6.5 feet long and can be as long as 12 feet. This piece of luggage is four feet long and likely takes up far less room than your other bag which is free. Plus it weighs under 10 pounds. If that doesn’t work, ask to see the manager. I did this in Kauai and the guy was being a total ass. His manager was on break so he delighted in making me wait. But then as my flight got closer to taking off, he realized that he was going to be in deep sh*t if his manager came back and I missed my flight cause he wanted to charge me for something he shouldn’t have. He hastily checked my bags, apologized for the wait, and personally directed me to the gate. – Aaron Peluso