Are you tired of always falling flat on your face every time you’re skimboarding? There are many reasons why this could be happening, such as you’re not running fast enough, the wave is too far out — or you’re using a skimboard that’s not the right size for you.
Choosing the right skimboard size can be tricky. Size charts help, but you can’t just rely on them. You also have to take into account other factors like your skill level, speed, and the location where you’ll be skimming.
In this blog, we’re going to walk you through everything you need to know about skimboard sizes. We’ll also include the different elements you need to consider before purchasing a skimboard. Let’s get started!
What is skimboarding?
Skimboarding, or also known as skimming, is a popular water sport inspired by surfing and skateboarding. It’s done by using a skimboard to glide across the shore towards an incoming wave, and then back to the shore.
You can practically skimboard anywhere, as long as there’s a thin layer of water, like puddles, lakes, beaches, or streams. This sport is done by throwing the board across the shallow water, and then jumping on it as it glides over the surface. When skimming, riders usually perform stunts and tricks, and they can also ride the waves similar to how surfing is.
How To Choose the Right Skimboard Size
The general rule when choosing board sizes is that the nose of the board, when it is standing upright, must go up to your nipple line or sternum. But while this one’s often true when buying skimboards, it’s also important to refer to size charts to determine which one’s suitable for your weight.
With that said, you must first measure your height and weight before we begin. Here’s what the average chart looks like in most stores:
|Model Size||Skimboard Dimensions||Skimboarder Weight (lbs)||Skimboarder Weight (kg)|
|XXS||45” x 19”||Less than 80||Less than 36|
|XS||48” x 19.25”||80 to 100||36 to 45|
|S||51” x 19.75”||100 to 140||45 to 64|
|M||52” x 20”||120 to 160||54 to 73|
|ML||52.25” x 20.25”||140 to 180||64 to 82|
|L||52.50” x 20.50”||160 to 200||73 to 91|
|XL||53” x 20.75”||180 to 220||82 to 100|
|XXL||54” x 21.50”||200 to 240||91 to 109|
If you will look at the chart above, you’ll notice how the board gets bigger as the rider’s weight gets heavier. The reason for this is that boards that carry more than their weight capacity will tend to sink in sand and water. That said, lighter riders must choose smaller boards, while heavier skimmers should opt for bigger boards. Additionally, the skimboard must be buoyant enough to be able to hold the rider’s weight.
Aside from the weight, there are other personal and external factors to consider when determining the right skimboard size.
In skimboarding, speed is crucial because it determines how fast you’ll be able to catch waves and slide across the shore. The faster you skim, the more buoyant you’ll be in the water; therefore, if you’re a slow runner, you must choose a board that’s bigger and heavier than your weight. Meanwhile, smaller and lighter boards are your best choice if you like zooming.
But take note that smaller boards are faster but they can only cover limited distances. On the flip side of the coin, wider and lengthier boards cover larger surface areas.
Level of experience
Smaller boards tend to be faster than larger ones, but if you’re a beginner who’s still trying your best to balance yourself on the top of the skimboard, choosing a smaller board may not be a wise option. On the other hand, intermediate riders who will use bigger boards will have a hard time trimming the wave line because it’s slower and has more drag.
If you’re into performing and learning tricks like Shuv-Its and Flat Spins, you must choose smaller boards. They’re fast and light, so they’re easier to maneuver and control whereas larger and wider boards are for slow skimmers and entry-level riders.
Size of the waves
When you’re buying a skimboard, it’s seldom that the salesmen or salesladies would ask you where you’re going skimming; however, this factor is more important than what you might think.
The wind plays a role in the wave conditions of certain places. For instance, the wind’s direction comes toward the coastlines of California and Oregon, therefore the waves are stronger in these areas compared to the ones in Florida and Georgia.
With this in mind, if you’re skimming on locations with small and weak waves like on the East Coast, you need to get wider and lengthier boards. Small waves are choppy, so it requires a board that provides more stability and balance in the water.
In contrast, places with powerful waves such as the ones in Laguna Beach and Huntington Beach require smaller boards because they’re faster and more efficient in performing tricks. Here’s a pro tip — If you plan on surfing on the West Coast, we suggest going one size smaller than your regular board!
Skimboard Buying Guide
Now that you know the right board size for your skimming needs, it’s now time to discuss the other variables that must be taken into account before purchasing skimboards.
Also known as the curvature of the board, the rocker prevents your board from digging through sand. It also contributes to how well your skimboard is going to perform in flatland and waves.
Boards with shallow rockers are best used in flat and calm waters as they glide more smoothly, as opposed to boards with steep rockers that are much slower and are more suitable in choppy waters.
Pintails are the most common tail of skimboards as they provide good balance in the water, while the square tails shorten the board, making it more adaptable to performing skimming stunts.
If you want an all-around board that can handle most wave conditions, then we suggest choosing the hybrid skimboards. This type of board is good with airs, rides well with the waves, and is nearly compatible with any type of technical tricks. It’s also more balanced, so casual skimmers are able to keep themselves above water for longer durations, making skimming a more fun experience.
High-quality skimboards don’t come cheap. So if you’re looking for entry-level skimboards that could last until you decide if you’re going to pursue skimboarding or not, you need to invest in your board.
Don’t buy skimboards that are priced at USD 50 and under. If you’re looking for decent ones, you must look at those that are priced at USD 100 and over. More expensive boards last longer, given that they’re made from good construction materials such as fiberglass and EPS cores.
There are two kinds of skimboard cores: wood and foam.
Wood skimboards are boards made for skimming non-coastal bodies of water like creeks, rivers, and lakes. They’re made stiff to glide through rough surfaces better; however, they can be quite heavy so they’re not recommended for wave skimming.
Because of its weight, wood skimboards may tend to sink on sand and water. For this reason, you’re more prone to face-planting if you don’t know how to properly use it yet.
Skimboards with wood cores are also cheap, that’s why they’re the popular choice for entry-level riders. The only problem with this kind of board is that they’re not very durable, and they only last a few sessions before they start to tear apart.
If you want a long-lasting skimboard that can withstand the most intense skimboard sessions, we recommend choosing boards with EPS or foam cores.
These boards are great for learning, and they usually last one to two years before they break. Foamies (as skimmers call them) are light, thick, and more flexible; hence the reason why they’re more suitable to use in wave-style skimboarding. Since they’re also able to handle powerful waves, they’re most commonly used by advanced and intermediate riders on the West Coast.
Now that you know how to determine the right skimboard for you by using a size chart and considering different external factors, it’s now time to get into skimboarding!
We hope that you find this guide insightful, and if you need more information about the best skimboards in the market, then you should definitely check out this post.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Are skimboard size charts accurate?
Yes, size charts provided by skimboard manufacturers are accurate; however, when purchasing a skimboard, you also need to consider your skill level, your speed, and the location where you’ll be skimming.
Q: What is the skimboard size pro skimmers use?
To determine the right skimboard size for their sporting needs, professional skimboarders refer to size charts. Additionally, the size of their skimboards depends on the techniques and stunts they perform, as well as their personal factors that include their weight, speed, and level of experience.
Q: What is the alternative to skimboard size charts?
If you don’t have access to a size chart, the rule of thumb goes that the nose of the skimboard must be able to reach your sternum or nipple line when it’s standing upright. Your board must also be larger and heavier than your body weight so it won’t sink.