Monday, April 18, 2011

At high speed on one inch of water

This weekend my buddy Scott and I went to watch a skimboarding competition.  While the sun was bright and the temperature in the mid-70s, conditions for skimboarding were not ideal.  Too much wind.

For those that don't skimboard, skimming is riding a short board along the beach, parallel with the shoreline.  Skimmers often turn their boards into the surf and do tricks on the waves as they roll in. 

Other than the wind, the day was perfect.  While we waited for the professionals to start, and the judges to come back from lunch, we wandered around and checked out the merch tent, and the Zap skimboards, and Yolo standup boards.  Watched some collegiate ladies beach volleyball.  Saw a group of Marines around a sweet red customized Hummer talk to young people about signing up while they gave out t-shirts for feats on the pull-up bar. 

Sports evolve.  The boards they use now are bigger and float better, and yet they are lighter than my sneakers.  I didn't see any wooden boards like mine (pictured above) in use.  And the tricks! These folks were swinging out into the hard surf, catching air, switching feet, doing flips.  It appears that skateboarding and maybe snowboarding have influenced the types of tricks now seen in skimboarding.

Unlike surfing or skateboarding, I don't think skimboarding is a big business.  I'm sure there must be a few sponsors out there, but I don't know if there are any full-time skimmers who don't have a regular job.  Sad in one way, because it's a great sport.  But good in a way that a sport that isn't driven by money remains pure.

And whether you're skimming in front of hundreds of people for prize money, or skimming by yourself on a empty beach, skimboarding is all about the beautiful synergy between the ocean and the rider.

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