Wooden skimboards are a common choice for beginners looking to get into skimboarding and have a bit of fun. But are wooden skimboards any good and what do you need to know about them before trying to go skimming and ride some waves?
As someone who has surfed for over 20 years and recently got into skimboarding I started with a wooden board and quickly learned everything I could about skimboarding so I could get better and start catching waves.
Are Wooden Skimboards Good?
When you're looking at the different skimboards out there you may notice the huge price difference between wooden skimboards and foam skimboards. Given how cheap they are you might ask yourself whether or not wooden skimboards are any good?
Wooden skimboards are cheap and good for beginners to learn to skim on wet sand. They are not good for surfing waves as they aren't buoyant or rigid enough. To improve and ride waves like a professional you'll need an epoxy foam board.
Wooden skimboards are not high performance skimboards and no professional skimboarders use them in competitions or even in day-to-day riding of waves. However, they are extremely afforable which can make them good for people wanting to dabble in skimboarding and give it a try. This wooden skimboard at Amazon is under $50 and is a good one to start with if you want to get a wooden board.
They are smaller than epoxy foam boards, a lot less buoyant and they have a lot of flex in them. All of this adds up to a board that will slow down quicker and sink faster making it difficult to make it out to the waves or to ride them.
Wooden Skimboards Are Smaller Than Professional Skimboards
When choosing a skimboard a general rule is for the skimboard to tall enough to reach up to your sternum.
Wooden skimboards are usually around 37-41″ in length whereas professional boards are around 44-54″ in length.
This smaller size gives you less surface area to distribute your weight. This leads to more drag, slower speeds and your board sinking faster.
Wooden Skimboards Aren't Very Buoyant
If you use a wooden skimboard you'll often find they sink to the bottom pretty quickly and sometimes even get stuck on the bottom due to the suction of the sand.
Compared to thick epoxy foam boards they are so much less buoyant.
This means they drag more, sink faster and will give you less speed.
Wooden Skimboards Flex A LOT
To maintain speed when skimming and surfing on waves you want a board that is super rigid. This is why a lot of skimboards are made from carbon fibre which is super strong and doesn't flex much.
Wooden skimboards on the other hand flex a lot making it difficult to catch waves.
Professional skimboard Austin Keen says this about trying to use a wooden skimboard:
“I hit the wave and I felt the thing like fold in half. It couldn't even hold the force of the wrap though. The entire thing like folded in half”
“So far I've got to really tailor my skimming to this board. This thing has zero stiffness and every time I'm actually in a nice good pocket of the wave the board just completely flexes and once it flexes like that it loses all momentum”
Wooden Skimboards are More Dangerous Than Other Types
Epoxy foam boards are lighter than wooden boards and have rounded edges. Wooden skimboards are thinner and have flat edges.
The dense wood, small size and sharp edges (known as rails) means you're more likely to injure yourself using a wooden skimboard than any other type.
Taking a wooden skimboard in the shins is extremely painful and something most beginner skimboarders know all too well.
Wooden Skimboards are Super Affordable
The major positive of wooden skimboards and the reason they are so popular is because of the cost. They are extremely cheap to buy and usually only cost around $30-$100.
See the latest price of a Wooden Skimboard at Amazon
Compare that to the entry level Exile skimboard the EX0 which will set you back around $200-$300 and you can see
How Much Does a Wooden Skimboard Cost?
One of the major benefits of a wooden skimboard is their affordable price.
A wooden skimboard will cost around $30-$100 depending on the size, brand and design of the skimboard. Wooden skimboards are much cheaper than professional carbon fibre skimboards which cost around $500-$600. This is why they are so popular for beginners.
See the latest price of a Wooden Skimboard at Amazon
The downside of wooden skimboards is they aren't as durable and they are difficult to catch waves with.
So if you're serious about skimboarding you'll likely quickly upgrade from a wooden skimboard to an epoxy foam skimboard which you'll also need to pay for.
Can You Catch Waves On a Wooden Skimboard?
If you're like me you were inspired to start skimboarding from videos of the pros on YouTube or Instagram. It looks so fun skimming out and catching waves back in. But can you catch waves on a cheap wooden skimboard?
It's extremely difficult to catch waves on a wooden skimboard, it is more designed for skimming across wet sand. Wooden skimboards have a lot of flex which means you lose momentum and sink when trying to catch a wave. Foam epoxy boards are better for catching waves.
While it's still technically possible to catch waves on a wooden skimboard it's extremely difficult to do. Give a professional skimboard a wooden skimboard and they'll even struggle to get onto waves.
Professional skimboarder Austin Keen said this about trying to catch waves on a wooden skimboard
“Surprisingly you can actually get a little flow, a little turn but right when I turn and come back in it just sinks. This is like the shittiest board you can use”
If someone like Austin Keen struggles to catch waves on a wooden skimboard how do you think beginners like you or I are going to go? It'll be nearly impossible.
The small size, lack of buoyancy and flexibility of the board means you lose momentum fast. You can only really try to surf on waves extremely close to shore and even then it's going to be difficult to perform a turn and stay on the wave.
Is a Wood Skimboard Good For Beginners?
Given the entry level cost you might assume that wooden skimboards are the ideal starting place for beginners. But are wooden skimboards actually good to learn on?
Wooden skimboards are good for beginners looking to skim over wet sand or flat water but they are not good for beginners looking to catch waves on a skimboard. They are too small, not buoyant enough and flex too much. For serious beginners an epoxy foam board is a better skimboard to learn on.
I started learning on a wooden skimboard. But that was before I knew anything about skimboarding at all. I didn't even know that epoxy foam boards existed!
Honestly, the wooden skimboard was fine to get my started skimming. After a bit of research I learned how to do the one step drop and consistently get onto the board.
I also learned how difficult skimboarding is fitness wise. The recovery after my first few times skimboarding was brutal.
Where I think wooden skimboards are great for beginners (and I talk about this in my list of the best skimboards for beginners) is a cheap way to try out skimboarding and see if it's something you want to pursue without wasting a lot of money.
I would hate to have someone spend hundreds of dollars on a board that they only use a few times and then realise they have no passion for skimboarding.
So for me my wooden skimboard got me started learning, helped me realise that yes this is something I would like to do more of and then I upgraded to a better board.
See the latest price of a Wooden Skimboard at Amazon
What Is The Best Skimboard For Beginners?
If you're just getting into skimboarding and you're a beginner what's the best skimboard for you to get started?
The best skimboard for beginners is an epoxy foam board like the Driftsun Fibreglass or Exile EXO. These are wider, more buoyant and more affordable than pro boards and are great to get you started skimming and catching waves. Wooden skimboards are a cheap option for flat water but aren't good for catching waves.
I've done a full writeup on skimboarding for beginners and in that article we go through the ins and outs of choosing your first skimboard.
What Wood Is Used for Skimboards?
Did you know you can actually make your own skimboard at home? Skimboards are made from easy to source materials.
Wooden skimboards are made from marine ply, usually around 2 1/4 inch thick. The board is cut to shape and a “rocker” or upwards bend is added so it doesn't dive into the water. Paint, lacquer or epoxy is added to the exterior to add protection and make it watertight.
You don't need specialized tools to make your own skimboard and a lot of people like to do this as a fun side project or to save money over buying a wooden skimboard from a shop.
Is a Wood or Foam Skimboard Better?
There are 2 main types of skimboards – wooden and foam skimboards. The wooden skimboards are cheaper and usually smaller and the foam skimboards are larger, more expensive and usually covered in some sort of epoxy to add strength. But which is better a wooden or a foam skimboard?
Foam skimboards are better than wooden skimboards in every way. They are lighter, more durable, more buoyant and less flexible meaning they help you go faster, skim farther and catch waves better than a wooden skimboard. The only benefit of a wooden skimboard is that it's cheap.
Wooden skimboards are fine for skimming along the wet sand on the beach or along flat water and you can perform some simple tricks on them but they are definitely not performance boards and no pro skimboarder ever uses a wooden skimboard.
For beginners and people just getting into skimboarding the Exile EXO or the Driftsun Fibreglass Skimboard is a good starting foam board that will get you skimming longer distances and riding waves. Once you improve then you'll likely want to upgrade to a carbon fibre foam board like the Exile Hybrid or a similar style professional skimboard.
Do You Wax a Wooden Skimboard?
If you have a wooden skimboard you might be tempted to just take it out and start skimboarding straight away, but don't forget about the wax.
Wooden skimboards require a layer of surf wax on top of them in order for you to use them. Without surf wax the top will be extremely slippery and your feet will likely fall off leading to injury. You do not need to wax the bottom of a wooden skimboard.
I've written an entire article on how to wax a skimboard properly for the first time which I suggest you read before taking your wooden skimboard out for a ride.
Waxing your wooden skimboard is simple. Simply apply a good layer of wax to everywhere on the board where your feet might go.
For beginners I recommend waxing the entire top of the board and your foot placement will be all over the place in the beginning and there is no harm in waxing the entire board.
How To You Care For a Wooden Skimboard
If you spend your hard earned money on a skimboard you'll want to make sure you take good care of it so it lasts a long time.
To care for a wooden skimboard use it on wet sand or water and try to avoid skimming over coarse shells and rocks as this will scratch your board. After use rinse with fresh water and store in a cool dry place out of direct sunlight so the skimboard doesn't warp.
There is nothing super special about any wooden skimboard. Most of them just have a plain wooden base with either paint, epoxy or lacquer on the bottom and this is enough to have them skim over the water.
Some more expensive wooden skimboards have a fibreglass bottom for better skimming, but if you're going to be spending extra you really should be purchasing a foam skimboard like the Driftsun Skimboard or the Zap Pro Skimboard.