Ben Walton with skimboard at Boomerang Beach (Photo: Brianna O'Rourke)

What you need to know about skimming

Josh Nairn and Ben Walton race into the surf at Boomerang Beach taking turns with their wooden skimboard.

The boys sprint and just at the right moment throw the board down on the wet sand, jump on top of it and (attempt to) glide off into a small incoming wave.

Skimming or skimboarding is generally known as “that thing you do on the sand”.

A board sport where a skimboard, similar to a surfboard but smaller with no fins, is used to glide across the water’s surface to meet an incoming small wave and ride it back to shore.

The skimboarder stands about 20ft from the ocean with their board and waits for a wave.

After seeing one they run toward the wave and upon reaching the wet sand drop the board and jump onto it as quickly as possible.

Once on the board, the skimmer must remain stable and then hopefully glide out into the ocean toward the oncoming wave, bank off it, and ride back to shore, smooth as butter.

After getting a skimboard for Christmas when he was 10, Nairn, now aged 22, says he still enjoys it because he likes the satisfaction of getting it right.

After Walton’s first time skimboarding, the 21-year-old said: “It was harder than I thought it would be, it was a lot more about balance and positioning rather than just staying up right.

“I think because I’m taller I had a little bit more trouble staying on the board than my shorter counterpart [Nairn].”

“Overall it was a fun time, would recommend.”

Ben Walton

The water sport is certainly more difficult than it looks. Half-an-hour in, the boys have become well-acquainted with the sand as they nearly head ‘A over T’.

When the board slips from underneath their feet, their arms flail and they stumble forward like drunken sailors.

If you’re a fear of commitment type, there’s a good chance you’ll eat sand if you try skimming.

“Once you’ve gone through the motion of throwing the board down, you just have to commit to it so you get the momentum right,” Nairn said.

“If you commit you’re less likely to fall over but you also just have to accept that you might fall over, but if you don’t commit you’ll always fall over.”

But besides all the acrobatics and hard falls, skimming is no more dangerous than surfing. And since skimmers play in such shallow water, they’re less likely to get into difficulties in the water.