Is skimboarding like skateboarding? Do the skills translate?

by Joost Nusselder | Last Updated:  04.03.2022
I love creating free content full of tips for my readers, you. I don't accept paid sponsorships, my opinion is my own, but if you find my recommendations helpful and you end up buying something you like through one of my links, I could earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Learn more

Skimboarding and skateboarding are both board sports that involve riding a board on the ground or very shallow water.

The two sports have some similarities, but they also have many differences. Some people say that skimboarding is just a watered-down version (pun intended) of skateboarding. Is this true?

Do the skills acquired from skateboarding translate to skimboarding? Can you get up a board of either sport and start riding after a few tries?

Let’s look at the skills needed, shall we?

Skimboarding vs skateboarding

Skimboarding is a great sport to learn if you want to try something new, and it can be a lot of fun! If you’re thinking about giving it a go, make sure you know the basics first.

You’ll need good balance and coordination, so that’s something you’ll have from skateboarding. But you’ll also need to be comfortable in the water.

Similarities and differences between the two sports

The main similarity between skateboarding and skimboarding is that they both involve riding on a board.

Skateboarding can be done on a street, in a park, or in an indoor skatepark. Skimboarding is typically done on a sandy beach, but can also be used for wave riding, although you can even go to the skatepark during heavy rain.

Skateboarding is more about doing tricks and stunts, while skimboarding is more about speed and catching waves, depending on the type of skim boarding you do.

Flatland skimboarding is more and more about doing tricks, most of the same as with skateboarding mind you.

So all of the trick names you learned while skateboarding translate perfectly to skimboarding. You’ll know the lingo in no time so you can do your shove its in both sports.

Here’s professional skateboarder Sky Brown trying skimboarding for the first time:

Skateboarders often use ramps to do tricks, while skimboarders use waves to get air. Some do bring their ramps and rails or other obstacles to a lake or river too, so it IS possible.

Some people might say that skateboarding is more dangerous than skimboarding because of the stunts that can be performed. But with either sport, there is always a risk of injury.

The risk with skimboarding is that you don’t know exactly how hard you can fall because of the shallow water. You’re really falling on a very hard wet sand surface!

The wetness and steep learning curve will cause frequent falls as well, often causing the most common injuries like wrist pain and back pain.

Which skills are needed for skimboarding and skateboarding?

Skimboarding and skateboarding both require balance and coordination.

Skateboarders also need strength to do tricks, and they need to be able to fall safely.

Skimboarders need good balance and coordination too, but they also need to know how to swim. This is because if they fall off their board, they might end up in the water.

Skimboarders also need to know how to read waves so that they can catch them correctly.

The learning curve for skimboarding is much steeper than it is for skateboarding, and that’s mainly because of the getting up and staying up on the board.

While traction pads and wax can offer good grip to a skimboard, the fact that it gets wet is immediately a cause to become much more slippery than skating, making it harder to do tricks.

Can you skimboard on a skateboard?

You can’t skimboard on a skateboard, simply because there are wheels underneath it that will drag you down on the water. But even if you take those off, the skateboard is much too small, thick, and heavy to be able to float.


So, is skimboarding like skateboarding? In some ways, yes – but there are also significant differences between the two sports.

If you’re interested in learning how to skimboard, make sure you do your research and get some lessons from an experienced instructor. It’s definitely worth it!

Also read: check out these best skimboards you can purchase even on a budget

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.