A relaxing day at the beach is probably just what the doctor ordered for you! Snoozing under the shade of your umbrella or reading a romance novel to the sound of crashing waves is certainly hard to beat. But if you seek a beach activity that allows you to stretch your legs — or have kids who don’t want to sit still — skimboarding is the perfect solution!
Skimboarding utilizes a thin, lightweight board that typically only weighs about four pounds. Riders toss the board along the shoreline where the water meets the sand and go for a glide. It’s a fun and exhilarating way to experience the beach!
Skimboarding is definitely more popular with kids than it is with adults, and this can probably be attributed to one simple reason: Falling is a big part of learning to skimboard. And obviously, falling when you’re a little older can leave more of a dent than when you are younger and more pliable. Fortunately, falling on a sandy beach offers much more of a cushion than concrete would! Ahead, read some of the best tips and tricks to getting the hang of skimboarding.
Getting the right stance
The first thing you need to determine is whether you prefer your left foot in the front (called “regular” footing) or your right foot forward (called “goofy” footing). The simplest test for this is by putting the skimboard on the ground and jumping onto it, then seeing which foot naturally wants to slide forward. There is no right or wrong way — just do whatever is most comfortable for you. After you have determined your preferred stance, practice jumping onto the board a few times to get acquainted with the feeling.
Keeping the balance
The most important skill you’ll need to master is balance. Falling is bound to happen, but with the right form, you can help keep that in check. Keep your feet shoulder width apart on the board. Your back foot should land about two to three inches from the tail end of the board, and your front foot should be placed a little past the center — wherever feels right to you. Maintaining a slight bend in your knees will also help you feel centered and secure.
Jumping on the board
Before you ever take it to the water, you should stay in the sand to practice how you will approach the board. While you practice in the sand (and in the water), make sure to get on the board from the back versus from the sides. Doing this will allow your momentum to continue in a straight line and help propel you forward in a straight line down the water line. Remember to bend your knees when you land on the board — again, that just keeps your center of gravity low and helps you keep your balance. And instead of thinking of jumping down onto the board, think of gliding forward with the board. This will help you keep speed.
Throwing your board
When you’ve established a comfortable footing and approach, it’s time to take your board to the water. Hold your board with your dominant hand at the bottom of the base, and put your other hand about three-quarters up the board on the side. Throw the board low and level, using the non-dominant hand as a guide. It may take some practice to avoid nose-diving the board, but just keep trying!
Getting to gliding
Finally, the part you came for: actually riding your skimboard. Standing in about ankle-deep water, start running to gather speed, and then put your board-throwing practice to good use! Lots of riders find that it’s easiest to toss the board when the waves are coming in, so that you can jump and glide as the wave rolls back out. Be aware that the first time you ride for real, it will feel like the board is slipping out from underneath you — kind of like stepping on a banana peel. Keep your weight slightly forward, if anything, because it’s easier to fall forward and walk out of it. Start slow — once you hit that sweet gliding feeling, you’ll want to ride until the sun sets!
Make sure you’re in an area that’s free and clear of all people, big shells, umbrellas and chairs. You’ll want to find a stretch of shoreline that has about 20 to 30 yards of uninterrupted water. Since Daytona Beach has 23 miles of expansive beaches, you won’t have any trouble finding some room to throw your skimboard! Who knows — if you start on day one of your vacation, you could be doing impressive tricks by day three!
Didn’t bring your own skimboard? No problem! Daytona Beach has tons of beach gear rental shops, which offer everything from umbrellas to sunblock to surfboards. One easy option for skimboard rentals is Triple X Surf & Skate’s 2-hour rentals. The shop also has a 24-hour rental option. This makes it easy for you to show up in Daytona Beach, enjoy the equipment (which can even be delivered right to your hotel!) and then return it without having to haul it back where you came from — especially ideal for travelers on a last-minute getaway or for those flying in!