Flatland skimboarding is probably the easiest way to learn how to skimboard but it also offers awesome opportunities for advanced skimboarding tricks using various ramps or rails. This style of skimming is most comparable to skateboarding - the tricks and rails are very similar.
Flatland skimboarding (sometimes known as Inland skimboarding) is probably the most versatile form of skimboarding as there are so many different ways to enjoy this style of skimming.
Flatland skimming is done along coastal shores on a sandy beach and Inland skimming is done, well, inland - along puddles, rivers, channels, quarries, etc. - anywhere that is not along the coast. To keep things easy, I will consider Inland the same as Flatland.
The most basic way is to skim along the water edge. Pools and channels of water at beaches, rivers and quarries offer another level of advancement. Pools of water are great places to set up obstacles for sliding on such as rails but almost anything will do - pvc piping, smooth logs, rocks for jumping over, or even old boats turned upside down.
Channels are excellent to practice control of the skimboard. These are obvious places to skim, but there are lots of other places too. Wet grassy fields, icy/snowy/slushy areas, fountains, or even a slick road will suffice (probably best to use an old crappy board for these conditions).
If it's slippery and smooth, it's probably skimmable. Once you get the skim addiction in your veins, you will get "skim goggles" and see opportunities everywhere!
Wooden skimboards ("woody") are the most common (and so far still the best) type of boards for flatland skimboarding. They are usually shorter and rounder than wave skimboards ("foamie") and much thinner and heavier. Also, wooden skimboards tend to have more rocker throughout the board with a bit of kick at the ends for tricks - like a skateboard - and they handle rails and other obstacles really well (wave boards have most of the rocker in the nose with a bit in the tail) .
All skimboards are super smooth and slick on the surfaces. Of course the side for sliding in the water needs to be. The deck, however (the side where your feet land), needs to have good grip or you will slip and slide everywhere else but on the board. If you do manage to stay on, you won't have any control whatsoever.
To solve this issue, you have two choices:
(ok, so that's three options, but just two materials)
There is no right or wrong, just whatever you like best. That said, more and more skimmers and manufacturers are leaning towards traction pads as they are easier to use, soft on the feet, they don't get all over EVERYTHING! or melt in the sun and peeps can make their own designs. Still, others prefer skimboard wax as it's heavier and gives superior grip over the pads.
Both Flatland skimboarding and Wave skimboarding are equally fun and equally technical but they are very different breeds.
At the moment, many skimmers consider wave skimming to be the top dog with it's roots bred in the surfer style, but flatland is quickly rising in popularity and skill with incredibly advanced maneuvers adopting more of the skateboarder style.
Flatland, Waves... whatevs... as long as I'm skimmin, I'm happy!
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