Skimboarding is similar to surfing in that it involves riding waves on a board. Although, skimboarders start from the shore holding their skimboard in hand and sprint towards the water, dropping the board in the water and jumping on. The skimboarder then relies on balance and carries the momentum toward a wave and riding it back to the beach.
A skimboard is like a shorter, thinner, wider and lighter surfboard without skegs (fins). These features are critical to the boards function due to a rider's ability to run with the board in hand, and balance and glide once in the water. Fiberglass and carbon fiber cover a foam core to allow strength, floatation and weightlessness, creating an ideal skimboard.
There are two types of skimboards. Waveboards are the more popular skimboard. They are typically made of fiberglass and are used to skim out and ride waves. The other type of skimboards are called flatland boards. They are typically made from wood and are used on shallow flat water close to the shore. Flatland boards are similar to skateboards as riders can glide rails and do "ollies," a basic skateboarding maneuver.
Skimboarding dates to 1920 in Laguna Beach, Calif. Back then, round, wooden boards were used that lacked stability and control. Over the years, skimboards have evolved into fiberglass and carbon fiber with a more surfboard shape, increasing speed, mobility and control. Skimboarding has evolved into a popular competitive beach contest.
Although skimboarding can be a very enjoyable sport, it is very difficult and limited to a small section of the ocean. The boards are small and fast, making stability aboard one a very tricky situation. This can lead to many hard falls in shallow water that can cause injury. Keep in mind, too, that skimboarding is done only close to the beach. Skimboarders can extend no further than 100 feet or so into the ocean.