Foam vs Wooden Skimboard: Which Should You Buy?

When you’re looking to buy a skimboard for yourself or as a gift for someone it can be pretty confusing whether you should buy a wooden skimboard or a foam skimboard.

The price difference can be absolutely MASSIVE! Wooden skimboards often sell for around $30-$50 whereas foam skimboards can sell for as much as $500-$600!!!

Are foam skimboards really that different and are they worth the cost? Or should you just buy a wooden skimboard?

Which one is right for you?

Wooden skimboards are cheaper, smaller, not as good as foam skimboards for skimming and riding waves. Foam skimboards are far superior when it comes to skimming long distances and catching waves. Wooden skimboards are ok for wet sand or flat water for beginners but all serious skimboarders use foam boards.

The difference between foam and wooden skimboards are actually pretty extreme in all the key areas that make a skimboard good.

Let’s have a look at what wooden skimboards are good for and then we’ll compare that to foam skimboards.

Wooden Skimboards Aren’t Very Good For Anything Other Than Basic Skimming

The first thing you need to understand is that wooden boards are cheap for a reason and that is because they are both cheap to make and they aren’t very good.

Wooden boards are usually small, heavy, not extremely buoyant and they are also very flexible (which you’ll learn is a bad thing when it comes to skimboarding).

If you’re just looking for a cheap gift for someone or you or your kids just want to have some fun skimming along the wet sand at the beach or the lake then a wooden board will do the trick.

However, if you want to actually be able to catch and ride waves then a wooden board is going to be useless and you won’t be able to catch any waves at all. I’ve written an article on everything you need to know about wooden skimboards for more information.

Even professional skimboarder Austin Keen struggles to actually catch any waves on a wooden skimboard and this guy is one of THE BEST skimboarders in the world! So if you want to catch waves on a skimboard then you need to avoid wooden skimboards and go for a foam skimboard instead.

Why You Should Buy a Wooden Skimboard As a Beginner

Despite wooden skimboards being pretty trash when it comes to performance they are often an ideal option for beginners or a great option as a gift for someone.

I personally started out with a wooden skimboard even though I knew they weren’t very good when it came to catching waves.


Because they are extremely cheap and you can get started in the sport for not a lot of money.

I personally didn’t want to invest $500+ into a board before I even knew whether I enjoyed skimboarding or not.

So I spent $40, got a wooden board and used it for a few months until I got the basics down and knew this was something I enjoyed. You can even get decent wooden skimboards for cheap off Amazon…

See the latest price of a Wooden Skimboard at Amazon

Note: If you’re buying a wooden skimboard don’t both buying grip pads for it. Just use some surf wax on the top. Read my article on wax vs grip pads for skimboarding for more infomation.

Also you don’t need to put speed wax on the bottom on your skimboard. It’ll skim just fine as it is.

If you’re a bit more serious about skimboarding and want to be able to skim further and potentially even catch waves then you are 100% going to need a foam skimboard.

Foam skimboards are 10x better than wooden skimboards for a variety of reasons:

Larger Boards

Foam skimboards are usually much larger in size than wooden skimboards. A larger size means your weight is spread out over a wider surface area when skimming, which allows you to skim further and faster than you could on a small board.

Think about skimming rocks. It’s the wide flat rocks that skim best, not the small fat ones.

More Buoyant

Foam boards have a (you guessed it) foam core which is filled with millions of tiny air bubbles. This makes them float really well compared to a wooden skimboard which will mostly sink.

This buoyancy again helps you to skim faster and farther, allowing you to get out to the waves and catch them.

More Rigid

If you want the best performance from your skimboard then you want a board that is completely rigid and doesn’t have any flexibility in it at all. Wooden skimboards are very flexible and a lot of energy is lost through this making them slower.

Foam skimboards are usually covered in either fibreglass, epoxy or carbon fibre making them stiff and rigid, allowing them to perform better.

More Durable

Wooden skimboard will get scratched up on the bottom pretty quickly. They are still fairly durable but a high-quality foam board will last you even longer and rarely need to be replaced unless you’re a pro pushing the board to the limits…or if you’re being an idiot and skimming on super rough surfaces.

Better Designs For Higher Performance

I don’t mean the pattern on the board (though foam boards do usually look better than wooden skimboards) but the actually shape of the board.

Good quality foam skimboards are shaped in such a way that you can skim far on them but they also feature sharp rails and tapered tails which gives you more control when you’re on the waves.

What Foam Skimboard Should You Buy?

Foam skimboards range greatly in quality and in price and there are a wide variety of brands, sizes, shapes and thicknesses to choose from.

Honestly, it can get extremely confusing trying to understand what foam skimboard you should buy.

This is why I’ve written a full guide on the best skimboards for beginners which walks you through exactly how to choose the right skimboard for your needs.

But basically depending on your budget and how serious you are going to take skimboards I have 3 main recommendations:

Cheapest Foam Skimboard: Wavestorm

If you’re just looking for a basic entry level foam skimboard then the cheapest option you’re going to find is the Wavestorm foam board.

It gives you a larger size than a wooden skimboard for better skimming and it has a 4x marine ply stringer system for strength.

It’s base it made from tough HDPE plastic and has a GFT foam deck. This makes it one of the softest and safest boards for kids to use.

This board isn’t super durable and it does have a fair amount of flexibility in it which doesn’t make it great for catching big waves. But as a beginner board it’s pretty decent and it’s a step up from a wooden skimboard at not a huge extra cost.

Materials: Foam core with GFT foam deck and hard HDPE base

Sizes: 45″, 48″

See the latest price of the Wavestorm Foam Skimboard at Amazon

High Quality Entry Level Skimboard: Exile EX0 or Driftsun

If you’re serious about skimboard and want to get something high-quality but that won’t break the bank then the Exile EX0 or the Driftsun Skimboard are 2 good beginner options.

The Exile EX0 has the same Hybrid shape as the professionals use but uses slightly cheaper materials with an E-Glass Epoxy construction (as opposed to carbon fibre on the pro boards).

It’s also got more rounded rails which help you skim further as a beginner. This is a great board by a great brand.

Materials: Foam core with E-Glass Epoxy construction

Sizes: 44″ (5/8″), 48″ (5/8″), 52″ (3/4″)

See the latest price of the Exile EXO Skimboard

The Diftsun is another good start board that won’t break the bank. It’s got a high performance shape and is a lightweight board with a PVC foam core and outer layer of fibreglass with reinforced carbon fibre rails for extra durability.

The benefit of getting the Driftsun over the Exile is that is comes with traction pads pre-installed on the board. These usually cost between $50-$100 for the back foot pad and arch bar and it comes included on the Driftsun making it good value for money.

Both of these boards are god starter options.

See the latest price of the Driftsun Skimboard at Amazon

Top Of The Range Pro Skimboard: Exile Carbon Fibre Hybrid

When it comes to foam skimboards very few boards come close to the quality of the Exile Carbon Fibre boards.

This is what the professionals use and if you’re taking skimboarding seriously and want the board with the best performance then this is what you want to get.

It doesn’t come cheap but you pay for quality here and this board will perform well and last you a lifetime.

The Hybrid shape is a great balance between large surface area for longer distances as well as good rails for sharp turns and ultimate control over your board. This is what I would recommend for anyone buying this type of board as a beginner.

Materials: Foam core with double carbon fibre epoxy

Sizes: 46.62″-54.6″

Thickness: 5/8″, 3/4″ tapered to 5/8″, 3/4″

See the latest price of the Exile Hybrid Carbon Fibre Board