How To Just Skim It, Baby!

Oh these many delays are definitely opening opportunities for me.

Just recently, I ended up booking a flight to Aklan without really thinking about it in order to address a distress call which I will not mention here. Despite getting only an hour’s sleep, I dragged my ass to the airport to catch the first flight to Kalibo and spent half of the day travelling to Caticlan then to Malay (where Boracay Island is) because I was such a cheapskate. Tired as I may have been but my first day in the island was still full packed and one of the activities that my friend thought of was skimboarding.

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Skimboarding, or skimming, is a boardsport where you will glide across the water’s surface using a board that is similar to a surfboard only much smaller without the fins. But unlike its counterpart where surfers paddle to the ocean to wait for a big wave, skimboarding begins by lightly throwing the board onto the thin wash of waves on the shore in which skimboarders will rely on their momentum to skim out to breaking waves. The sport, as per Wikipedia, originated in Southern California when lifeguards wanted an easy way to get across the beaches of Laguna.

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My friend Gio, who is a manager of two hotels in Boracay Island, was generous enough to lend me a skimboard and to give me lessons. My first, unexpectedly, was not a disaster. So that your experience will turn out just the same or maybe even better, here are the things I learned on my first lesson on skimboarding.

1. Wash your board.

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Since you are sand skimming, it will be impossible not to get any sand on your board but you can make sure that you washed off any sand before you take your first as this will help your feet get a firm grip of your board. It does not have to be squeaky clean but at least pay attention to the sand on your board.

2. Find a good skim spot.

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My instructor and I scouting Station 1 of Boracay Island for the perfect spot to skim.

Location is everything. Find a good spot in the beach with very little slope and minimal rocks/pebbles/stones/shells (call them whatever you like). These little monsters will be a nuisance when you skim, not to mention, will also scratch your board.

Also, you would need to skim in an area where there are less people swimming or lounging. Your injury is one thing but causing injury on other people is another.

3. Pay attention to how you hold your board.

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Of course you can hold your board any way you want but preferably, to the experts, you have to hold it with one hand on the back tail and one hand on the side rail halfway up the board. This way, it will be easier to drop the board and slide it forward on the thin coating of water. Don’t forget to go low by bending your knees.

4. Get on board in accordance to what works for you.

Skimboarding with Gio

Learning how to get on board/Goofing around.

Some skimboarders will advice you to NOT jump or hop on your board because this will break the surface tension due to the sudden weight increase; while others will suggest that you place your foot a few inches past the middle first then followed by your other foot behind it (which to my observation increased your chances of falling or slipping). Being a beginner, I don’t know which is the best advice but I say you try both. I tried both and the results are true.

My little experiment now is to try the second advice more and practice doing it properly until I will get used to it. By gradually putting my weight onto the board, I would probably lose little or no speed and might even be smooth and easier once I get used to it.

5. Skim any way you like.

Tutu on the board

For skimboarding, it’s simple. The two important words are ‘skim away.’ You just go until you stop. You have an option to go straight, you can do a shoot, lie chest-flat on your board, or later manage a big spin and not worry about any darn rule because there aren’t any. Well, at least, none was discussed during my first lesson.

There you have them, 5 things I learned on my first skimboarding lesson.

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