What board should I buy?
This is a very difficult question to answer. If you are new to skimboarding or don’t know much about skimboard design, you may find it helpful to visit the board design section before reading this one. You also may want to check out the board size section and the choosing a board section.
Here are some of the big manufacturers with a little information about their companies and products.
Created by Aaron Peluso (webmaster of Skim Online) and Andy Chiavetta in 2002, this company was over a decade in the making. They offer high end boards for advanced riders in two distinct shape variations, Hybrid and Pro shape. The Pro shape is longer and narrower than the Hybrid shape which is shorter and stubbier in the nose. In addition to the two shape variations they also make Pro Model Boards which are signature boards for Exile’s top riders. And speaking of top riders Exile has lots of them. Exile’s team of over 40 riders consists of about 25 Professionals. Exile also sponsors competitions and events worldwide as well as ground breaking skimboarding DVD’s such as Bearded and Stimulus.
Victoria is the original skimboard manufacturer starting production in the mid 1970’s. Based in Laguna Beach CA, Victoria manufactures a variety of different board types and styles to suit just about any rider. Starting with wood boards and moving to their entry level foam board series dubbed the “Foamie”, all the way up to their Pro Model boards, Victoria has a lot to choose from. They have a lot of experience making skimboards for some of the best riders in the world and they continue to have one of skim teams in the world. Victoria runs the oldest and perhaps best known skimboarding competition in the world at Aliso every summer, in addition to sponsoring several other events domestic and international.
Zap Skimboards is probably the biggest skimboard manufacturer by volume in the world. They are based on the Gulf Coast of Florida and began production in 1984. Owner Bob Smetts was originally a surfboard shaper but began getting custom orders for skimboards. Over time, the skimboard business took over as the surf business faded away. Zap offers a complete line of skimboards from very simple entry level foam boards all the way up to Carbon Pro Model boards. Their entry level boards ordinarily are built primarily for kids and come with weight restrictions & recommendations which should be considered. On their higher level boards the weight recommendations are more of a performance consideration than they are a load tolerance consideration. Zap is known to sponsor several top athletes as well as having a huge presence in sponsoring skimboarding competitions, especially on the East Coast, where it supports the entire SkimUSA tour.
Apex is the new kid on the block beginning production in 2008. They have made a big splash developing a core following and quickly supporting events near and far. They have a growing professional and amateur team seem to be growing all the time. Apex offers primarily high end and intermediate level boards as well as some pro models for their top riders.