The flatland skimboarding guide: skimming tips & buying guide

by Joost Nusselder | Last Updated:  11.03.2022
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Flatland skimboarding is part of a sport that involves riding on top of the water using a board, known as a skimboard.

Most know skimboarding from the beaches, but skimboarding can be done almost anywhere, did you know that?

In this guide, I’ll explain how you can get started in flatland skimming, and what you might want to buy for this part of the sport.

Child inland skimboarding on a lake

What is flatland skimboarding?

Inland or flatland skimboarding is a form of skimboarding that can be done on any body of water, such as a river, lake, or stream. Riders use a wide (often wooden) board and throw it across the water. They then jump on the board and skim across the water to do tricks.

The basics of Flatland skimboarding

The first thing you need to know is that there is no one way to do flatland skimboarding. There are a few basic techniques that you will need to learn, but after that, the sky’s the limit!

You should read our full beginner’s guide to skimboarding with a few basic techniques to get you started in the main skimboarding theme.

But what is different about flatland skimboarding?

Inland or flatland skimboarding is often done on much slower moving water than regular skimboarding.

This makes it a great beginner’s sport, as you don’t have to worry about catching waves or getting pulled out to sea.

In fact, if you’re looking for a peaceful activity to do outdoors, look no further than inland skimboarding.

What do I need to start?

There is no one answer to this question, as the sport of inland skimboarding can be done with a variety of different boards and on different types of water.

However, here are a few basics that you will need:

– A board: This can be anything from a basic wooden board, to more specialized flatland boards made for flatland skimboarders.

– Clothing: Dress for the water! You’ll want to be comfortable and able to move in your clothes.

How do you Flatland a skimboard?

Now that you know a little bit about what flatland skimboarding is, it’s time to get started!

The first step is to find a body of water to skim on. This can be anything from a river to a lake.

Once you’ve found a suitable location, the next step is to learn the basics.

You need ground to run on, either in very shallow water so you can get up some speed, or on land while running towards water.

Many people think skimboarding can only be done in shallow water, but this is not the case.

Flatland skimboarding simply means that it’s not skimming out into the ocean to catch waves.

You can skim on a deep river, a pool, or even your garden in the wet grass.

The point here is to get up a lot of speed and the speed will keep the board afloat with you on it.

The only thing you need to do is to balance yourself so you won’t fall off.

Of course, there’s a lot more to inland skimboarding than that. You’ll have the most fun when you try to figure out how to do cool skimboarding tricks with your friends.

A lot of the tricks that skimboarders perform are based on skateboarding techniques so if you don’t have a group of flatland skimmers near you, you can draw some ideas from skateboarding.

Things like shove its and grinding rails are all great things to start your skimming journey.

Best flatland skimboards reviewed

So, you want to get into inland skimboarding? In this section, we’ll take a look at some of the best flatland skimboards on the market.

Remember, the best board for you will depend on your individual skill level and what type of water you plan to use it in.

But, generally speaking, you would want a twin tip skimboard for flatland skimming, which means that the board is symmetrical with both the head and tail having the same shape.

This is so you can better perform tricks, and land them either way, and still can keep going on the water while you keep your speed up.

Best overall flatland skimboard: DB Skimboards Proto


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The DB Skimboards Proto is our top pick for the best flatland skimboard.

This board is made with durable HPL top and bottom sheets, as well as a 100% North American Maple core.

This makes it a great choice for anyone looking for a board that will last all summer long.

It also features a rocker in all directions, which gives you more control and leverage when performing tricks.

Plus, the slide rail will help you avoid catching an edge and ruining your fun.

All in all, the DB Skimboards Proto is a great choice for anyone looking for a board that can do it all – from beginner to expert.

When I bought this skimboard, the quality and sturdiness were much better than the lower-priced boards I started out on, which usually only last me a couple of months.

Plus it’s very lightweight.

Check prices and availability here

Best cheap flatland skimboard: South Bay Board Co Skipper

Best overall wooden skimboard: South Bay Board Co. Skipper

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If you’re looking for a quality board but don’t want to break the bank, then the South Bay Board Co Skipper is a great option.

This board is made with an epoxy-coated plywood core, IXPE foam deck, and a fiberglass bottom.

This makes it incredibly lightweight and easy to handle, even for kids.

Plus, the soft foam deck provides a lot of traction and makes it less likely that you’ll fall off.

All in all, the South Bay Board Co Skipper is a great choice for anyone looking for an affordable but durable board.

The board is nice, durable, and has a great sticky surface. However, the wood started to strip off after a couple of weeks of use in the sand.

You can still use it and it’s what you might expect from a cheap board.

Check the latest prices here

Editor’s choice: Victoria Skimboards Woody

Editor's choice: Victoria Skimboards Woody

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If you’re looking for a quality board that will last you for years, then the Victoria Skimboards Woody is the perfect choice.

It features a rocker in all directions, which gives you more control and leverage when performing tricks.

All in all, the Victoria Skimboards Woody is a great choice for anyone looking for a board that can do it all – from beginner to expert.

This board is awesome! The only thing I don’t like about it is that it’s a little heavier than your average skimboard. Plus you should really invest in skimboard traction pads or get a skimboard wax.

Overall, I’m very pleased with this board and would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for an entry-level board that will last.

Check availability here

Best flatland skimboard for tricks: DB Skimboards Streamline


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The DB Skimboards Streamline is our top pick for the best flatland skimboard for doing tricks.

This board is made with durable HPL top and bottom sheets, as well as a hard rock Maple core.

This makes it a great choice for anyone looking for a board that will last all summer long, tailored to those doing a lot of jumping.

Plus, the rounded extra-wide nose in both head and tail positions will give you more control and leverage when performing tricks.

This board is good for people who have been skimboarding for a while and want to start doing tricks.

Check the latest prices and availability here

Check the other boards for skimming we’ve reviewed here

Do fiberglass skimboards work well on flatland?

There is some debate on this subject. Some say that fiberglass skimboards work great on flatland, while others believe they are not the best option.

The main advantage of fiberglass skimboards is that they are very fast. They also offer good control and stability on smooth surfaces. However, they can be easily chipped or dented by rails, so they are not ideal for riding on ramps or rails.

If you are primarily going to be skimming on flatland, there are cheaper boards that will work just as well. But if you want a fast, durable board for wave skimming, a fiberglass skimboard is a good option.

The history of Flatland skimboarding

Inland skimboarding began in the mid-70s in Sacramento, California. People used homemade skimboards made of plywood, fiberglass, and resin to skim on sandbars along the American and Sacramento rivers.

Freestyling tricks while skimming was first seen in the early 80s by two Sacramento locals named Mark Robinson and Launie Porteous.

Skateboarding was also very popular in Sacramento at the time so they took those skills and applied them to a layer of water. Thus, freestyle skimboarding was born.

Who are the best flatland skimboarders?

There are those that are into wave skimboarding, and although all of these boarders are very able at riding waves, they excel at freestyle boarding inland, or on the shoreline.

They star in their own videos on their video channel on youtube, have a lot of instructional content, and are some of the best in the world.

I am, of course, talking about Austin Keen and Blair Conklin.


Skimboarding is a great summer activity that can be enjoyed by people of all ages.

There are two main types of skimboarding – wave and flatland. And there’s no reason you can’t enjoy both, or get proficient in flatland skimboarding.

Joost Nusselder, the founder of Kauai Surf Report is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new sports with everything surfing at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2019 to help loyal readers with surfing and water sporting tips.