Best Skimboards

Updated November 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

26 Models Considered
8 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
161 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best skimboards

Last Updated November 2019

Skimboarding is a great sport that’s easy to get into but can take years to master. Whether you are looking to skim across the sand on wide, flat beaches or pull ollies on curling waves, skimboarding can be excellent exercise.

Board shapes vary widely, but there’s no “right” shape. A larger board offers more room for your feet and is better suited to beginners, while smaller boards offer more control for tricks. The longer the board is, the faster it will be, so beginners might enjoy a longer board for those precious extra seconds of skimming and learning to control the board. If you’re a veteran, most of your speed will come from your running start, and the waves do the rest of the work. Some boards have a rocker – the curved nose of the board that helps it stay on top of the water when approaching waves. Other important factors when choosing a skimboard are the material and coating.

Choosing the right skimboard means considering your skill level and the conditions. Continue reading to learn more about finding the perfect skimboard, and check out our favorites, too.

Skimboarding might be easier to learn than surfing, but that doesn’t mean you can’t pull off seriously impressive tricks.

Key considerations

Whether you’re just starting out or you’re looking for a skimboard for maneuvers, you need to consider the materials and size of each board to find one that suits your style.

Materials

The materials in a skimboard determine its weight, durability, and handling on the shore and in the waves.

  • Wood: These boards are well suited to beginners and work best on the shore. The extra weight of the wood gives you momentum, carrying you farther with each run. Cheaper boards also tend to be made of wood, making them the ideal material for most beginners. Though wood won’t last as long as a board made of fiberglass-laminated foam, it’s still a serviceable material at a low price.

  • Foam: These boards are lightweight and often covered in carbon fiber or fiberglass. They float more easily than wood boards and are perfect for catching waves and performing tricks, making them better boards for advanced skimmers. They’re also slightly thicker and more durable than wooden boards.

  • Resin: The resin is the protective layer that coats the board and allows it to glide over the water. The following are the most common types of resin:

    • Polyester: Long-lasting, inflexible, good for faster, longer runs

    • Vinyl ester: Highly flexible, somewhat slow

  • Epoxy: Light, flexible, extremely durable

Size

The size of a skimboard should correspond to your weight, experience level, and the type of skimming you want to do.

  • Length: Most skimboards range from 35 to 60 inches long. In general, a longer board is faster but harder to control. A shorter board is better suited to carving, but it might not work as well on the shore. A heavier rider needs a longer board.

  • Width: Board widths range from 18 to 25 inches. Width has the same effect as length: a wider board is faster but doesn’t carve as well as a narrow board.
DID YOU KNOW?

If you can’t run very fast, you could struggle to skimboard at a decent speed. Most of your speed comes from the running start before you step on your board.

Skimboard features

Once you know what materials you want and which size board is right for you, consider a few additional factors like the look of the board, traction pad, and rocker.

Colors and patterns

Most skimboards are brightly colored on the top with a plain, solid color on the bottom. You should choose a skimboard whose colors and patterns suit your style or complement your bathing suit. Bear in mind that you’ll also want to match the board’s color when repairing the resin.

Traction pad

A traction pad provides extra grip and control. Many skimboards have a traction pad either at the back of the board or down the length of the board. Tail pads are the most popular choice because they keep your back foot firmly planted. Beginners benefit from the control of a traction pad, and experienced skimmers find them useful for performing tricks. You can also apply a traction pad to a board that doesn’t come with one.

Rocker

The rocker is the curved tip of the board. Some boards designed for skimming on the shore have little to no rocker, while boards designed for tackling waves have extreme rockers of up to three inches high. In general, the steeper the rocker, the slower the board, and it will also be less likely to dip under waves.

Skimboard prices

Inexpensive: Entry-level skimboards that cost $30 to $50 are typically made of wood and might be smaller than the average board. While they work well for getting the hang of skimming, the laminate could wear easily.

Mid-range: You’ll find a variety of high-quality wooden boards suited to beginner or intermediate skimmers for $50 to $100. Many of these boards have durable laminates and traction pads for more control.

Expensive: In the $100 to $200 range are foam boards designed to handle waves and tricks. These have durable and lightweight laminates that allow the board to flex slightly.  If properly cared for, a board in this range is likely to last for many years.

EXPERT TIP

When you’re first starting out, look for a stretch of beach that is free of swimmers or other skimmers. You want as much open space as possible when learning.


Staff  | BestReviews

Skimboard care tips

Skimboards can suffer significant wear even after just a few days of skimming. This shouldn’t be surprising considering they often slide over sand, shells, and pebbles at high speed. To keep your board gliding smoothly, follow these steps:

  • Rinse sand, debris, and salt off your board with clean water.

  • Keep your board dry when you aren’t using it. If there are any splits in the laminate, the wood or foam could absorb water.

  • Check for scratches on the underside of your board, especially deep ones. Scratches create drag. They are also likely to worsen over time, which can result in the laminate splitting.

  • Repair fiberglass damage. Sand down any splintered fiberglass and cover the damaged area with a fresh piece of fiberglass. Coat the repaired area in resin.

  • Store your board out of the sun. A cool, dry location is ideal.

  • Wax the board. If you don’t opt for a traction pad, wax the top surface of the board to improve traction against your skin.

Other products we considered

While we believe our top recommendations represent the best skimboards available, there are a couple other options worth mentioning. For a high-quality wood board that’s likely to last for years, consider the DM Skimboards Pro Plank Skimboard, which uses durable materials and has a maple core. The unique design features a full-length rocker and a side-to-side rocker, making this a great board for tricks. For a reasonably priced foam board, there’s the Wave Zone Skimboards Fiberglass Wave Zone Rip. This board stands out for its quality materials and its ability to work well on the shore or on waves. If you’re just starting out but like the idea of building up toward pulling ollies off waves, this is an excellent choice.

Skimboarding can be done on any beach, whether it’s by the ocean, a lake, or a river. Skimboarding can be done on top of waves or along the shore as the waves come in.

FAQ

Q. What is the difference between a skimboard and a bodyboard?
A.
Quite a lot. While both boards can be used to ride waves, riders stand on skimboards rather than lie on them. Skimboards are propelled in part by your own momentum as you run and jump onto the board.

Q. How safe is skimboarding?
A.
Any sport comes with risk. With skimboarding, the greatest danger to you is the board itself. Both foam and wood boards can be very hard and cause serious bruises. There is also the possibility of spraining a joint or breaking bones when you fall on the shore. However, no safety gear is required to skimboard.

Q. Is waxing my skimboard necessary?
A.
The primary purpose of waxing the top of your board is to increase traction. If you aren’t struggling to stay on the board, you don’t need to wax it. Traction pads should never be waxed.

Q. How do I get on a skimboard?
A.
With a running start! Get as much speed as you can (or you’re comfortable with) running either along the shore or toward the waves. Drop your board on the water just as a wave pulls out and step onto it first with your front foot, then with your back foot. Jumping on the board is a good way to end your ride instantly. Keep your center of gravity low to stay on.

The team that worked on this review
  • Bronwyn
    Bronwyn
    Editor
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Peter
    Peter
    Writer

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