Skimboarding: How to Make a Wood Skimboard in 8 Steps
Wood Skimboards - The Beginning
Nearly 10 years ago my brother introduced me to skimboarding. At the time, we lived on a tropical island with great beaches, so it was natural for us to discover the exciting beach activity of skimboarding.
We did have one dilemma: neither of us had the funds at the time to buy an expensive foam skimboard.
So we learned how to make a wood skimboard!
My brother and I got very good at making wood skimboards, and for a time we even sold them to other people. I enjoyed designing the skimboard; my brother liked painting them. We both enjoyed using the skimboards!
I am sharing this information on skimboard building because it is one of my favorite hobbies and I hope everyone can enjoy skimboarding and building skimboards for themselves. I also hope you will be able to make your own wood skimboard so at the end I included 8 steps to make a wood skimboard. Happy Skimming!
What's In This Hub:
- What is Skimboarding?
- Different Types of Skimboarding - Flatland and Beach
- 8 Steps for How to make a Wood Skimboard
What is Skimboarding?
For those of you out there who do not know what skimboarding is, or are unsure of its distictions, here is some basic information about skimbarding.
Skimboarding is done with a slightly curved board that has a completely flat bottom. A skimboard is similar to a surfboard, except it is shorter and has no fins.
How to Skimboard:
To skimboard, a person will hold onto the board while standing on land and then run, drop the board on shallow water, and jump onto it and ride standing on it until it slows and stops.
Most riders want the water to be an inch or less deep, as this makes it easier to ride further However, some skimboarders, with larger foam skimboards actually ride straight out into the waves in water more than a foot deep.
Skimboarders usually go to beaches, where the water breaks on a soft sandy beach, or long shallow puddles to skimboard. (more information below about beach and flatland skimbarding)
Skimboarding is a more recent phenomenon. I will not go into the history of it, but only to say it has only recently become popular.
Flatland Skimbording and Beach Skimboarding
Flatland skimboarding is usually done on level ground with a long shallow puddle to skimboard on. Slow-moving shallow rivers or even puddle-covered fields are common locations.
Beach skimboarding, on the other hand is, as its name implies, done on the beach. A beach skimboarder will try to skimboard on the part of the beach where the waves are breaking and leaving a shallow layer of water over the sand. Beach skimboarding is a little bit trickier because you have to time your skims with the waves. Some beach skimboards will skim parallel to the beach, while others go straight at the waves, choosing to either ramp off them or turn and come back into shore riding them.
I personally have tried both flatland and beach skimboarding. They each have differences and which ever one you choose to do probably depends a lot on whether you have a beach or puddle available to skim on.
I enjoy beach skimboarding because it is more difficult and more unpredictable. You do not know what the waves will do and you can sometimes catch some really crazy ones.
However, flatland skimbarding allows you to work on your technical skills such as tricks and spins. I do not think I will go into that here but i will say that i enjoy working on new skimboard tricks while flatland skimboarding.
Read my article What Makes a Good Skimboard Beach to learn more!
Pictures of Skimboarding
Building vs. Buying a Skimboard
I have made my own skimboards and even made some that I sold to others. I would say that you could probably make your own skimboard for much less than what it costs to buy a good one, but it does take a fair amount of time and energy.
For just a wood skimboard, the cost to build will probably be between $5 and $25 depending on what wood you use, what paint you get, and if you use something fancy to seal it.
There are lots of great skimboards out there that you can buy, so weigh your options.
For me, I simply did not have the money to buy a good skimboard at the time, and I felt adventurous enough to make my own. So here are the basic steps to make your very own wood skimboard.
What You Will Need to Make A Skimboard:
List of items needed for making a wood skimboard:
- Sheet of wood or plywood at least 3' by 5'
- Sand paper: both fine and medium grain
- Electric sander: Not necessary, but makes the job quicker
- Jigsaw or band saw: Something that can cut a curve
- Heavy bricks or other weights for giving the board "rocker"
- Paint and paint brushes, or spray paint
8 Steps: How to Make a Wood Skimboard
Step One: Find a piece of wood about 1/4 inch thick to 1/3 inch that is at least 5 feet by 3 feet or so. Plywood often works great. You have to find a good balance between your board being too heavy and too weak, so test different thicknesses out to find what works for you.
A thinner, lighter board is better for smaller riders and for tricks. A thicker, heavier board is better for durability, bigger riders, and maintaining speed better. Choose what you think will be right for you.
Step Two: Draw the shape of the skimboard on your plywood. Look online at various designs and choose a simple one you can cut out. Be creative if you want, I have been creative with my designs and sometimes iIhave come up with some great boards. You basically want some sort of water-drop shape: a point for the front that widens at the middle and then tapers off again.
Step Three: Cut out your skimboard design. You can use a band saw, or anything that will cut it cleanly and straight. Make sure you are careful! Seek assistance if you are unfamiliar with the tools needed for this step.
Step Four: Sand down the board. At this step you want to round the edges of the top of the board, and leave the edges of the bottom of the board as they are. Give the whole board a good sanding.
Step Five: Give your board some rocker. What this means is bend your board so it curves up at the nose, or tip of the board; curving up towards you if you were standing on it.The upward curve or rocker allows the board to ride over the water, not under.
What you do not want is for it to curve downward which will cause it to dive into the water every time you try to skimboard.
To give it this curve or rocker, you soak the board in water for several days, then take it out and put a small piece of wood or something under the nose and then stack a fair amount of weight on top of the board. You want the board to sag in the middle and for the nose to curve up.
To clarify this step, place a 2" block of wood or brick under the nose of the board while it is lying flat on cement or something hard. Then place about 100 pounds of weight on the middle of the board, so it bends the nose up an inch or two. Leave it like this for several days, until the board is dry and it keeps this bent shape.
Step Six: When the board is all dry, sand it again. This is your final sanding, so make it smooth!
Step Seven: Paint your board. Use oil-based paint or enamel paint to cover your board. You want to seal the wood and provide a protective layer. I use many layers of enamel spray-paint>
There are other options besides painting your board: you can also lacquer your board, or put a finish or stain on it. What you want is just something that will keep it watertight and protect it. I have also used resin and fiberglass on some of my boards and this works really well, but it is a bit more costly and difficult.
Choose an option, whether paint or some other wood sealer, that will be watertight and durable.
Step Eight: Test it out! go and try out your board! if your first board is not all that great, that's OK! My first board was not the best. Just take what you've learned and make a better one. I found that the more boards I made, the better I made them. so do not worry if your first is less than perfect.
Finally, good luck and I hope you get to enjoy skimboarding as much as I do!
Pro Beach Skimboarding
If you are looking for more information, you can post a comment and i can get back to you, or you can simply look it up online! There is tons of information on a bunch of great sites so just google it and i am sure you will find an answer.
But leave a comment if you want anyway!