Is skimboarding like snowboarding? Do the skills translate?

by Joost Nusselder | Last Updated:  05.03.2022
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You may have seen people skimboarding on the beach and wondered if it is just like snowboarding.

Skimboarding can seem intimidating if you don’t know what it is or how it works. It can be hard to tell if it is just like snowboarding, or a completely different sport.

Both sports are a lot of fun and can be pretty challenging, but they are definitely different.

Skimboarding vs snowboarding

Skimboarding and snowboarding are both similar and different. They’re both board sports, but they use different boards to ride on the water or snow respectively. Skimboards have a concave bottom that helps them glide across the surface of water while snowboards have a convex bottom that helps grip the snow.

Snowboarding vs skimboarding

Though they share some similarities, such as being boardsports that involve sliding across a surface, there are some key differences between the two.

For starters, skimboarding is done on the sand or water while snowboarding is done on snow. Skimboarders also use a different technique to ride the waves- they crouch and use their hands to paddle and steer the board.

Snowboarders stand on their board and use their feet to control their speed and direction.

Another big difference is the size of the boards: skimboards are much smaller than snowboards. This makes skimboarding a lot more portable, and you can take it with you almost anywhere.

Skimboarding is also a bit cheaper than snowboarding- the gear is less expensive and there are no lift tickets to buy.

However, snowboarding does have some advantages over skimboarding. It’s much easier to learn how to snowboard than it is to skimboard, and it’s a great sport for all ages.

Snowboarding is also a lot more popular than skimboarding, so you’ll have more people to ride with.

Snowboarding is done on snow while skimboarding is done on water.

Skimboarders use a type of board that’s similar to a surfboard and they stand on it in a way that’s similar to how surfers stand on their boards.

When you’re snowboarding, you use ski poles for balance and to help you move faster down the slopes. Skimboarders don’t use any type of poles. Instead, they use their hands to try and keep their balance on the board.

These are the main differences:

– Snowboards have concave bottoms while skimboards have convex bottoms

– Skimboarding is done on sand or water while snowboarding is done on snow

– Skimboarders use their hands to help them balance while snowboarders use ski poles for balance

– Skimboarding is a bit more challenging because there is less grip on the water than on snow

– Skimboarding can be done in warmer weather than snowboarding

– Skimboarding is a bit more dangerous because of the possibility of wiping out and hitting your head on the water

– Snowboarding is more expensive than skimboarding because you need to buy special equipment like a snowboard, boots, and bindings and going out to ski can be quite expensive.

– Skimboarding is easier to practice than snowboarding because it can be done in a lot of different locations while snowboarding is limited to colder climates, which gives it a huge advantage

– Skimboarding is less popular than snowboarding, so it can be harder to find people to go out with and learn from.

Snowboarding usually involves a lot more tricks, although it depends on your riding style.

Flatland skimboarding on shallow water is probably the most like snowboarding, while ocean wave skimboarding, seen a lot on the laguna beach shore breaks, is a little more like surfing.

Can a snowboarder skimboard well?

Just because you’re a snowboarder doesn’t mean you can immediately skimboard well. In fact, a lot of the techniques for riding on the water are similar to the techniques used for riding on snow.

The main difference is that you need to adjust the way you stand on the board.

But the most difficult part is getting used to dropping your board and getting on it.

With snowboarding, you’re already on it and it won’t slide out from under your feet.

A skimboard does that, and it does it a lot!

Can you skimboard in the snow?

Skimboarding in the snow is possible, but it’s not as easy as skimboarding on sand.

The biggest challenge is that the board doesn’t have a lot of grip on the snow and it can be quite slippery.

Another thing to consider is that the cold weather can make your hands and feet numb, which makes it harder to grip the board and maintain your balance.

Despite these challenges, some people still enjoy skimboarding in the snow. It just takes a bit more practice and skill!

Also read: these are the best boards if you want to get into skimboarding

Tell me the most common skimboarding injuries?

Skimboard injuries frequently are just bruises. A fracture is usually found on the lower legs, particularly the tibia/fibial and mid foot.

Generally, in skateboarding and snowboard sports a fall can result in wrist fractures.

During snowboarding, lower leg injuries also occur most commonly. It may be because of the higher torsional fall.

The wrist is the second most commonly affected area with a skimboarding accident. It occurs when a hand is pulled out of its side.

Almost 90 % of all musculoskeletal trauma is caused by fractures or muscle bruising.

There are a few instances of spinal cord injuries with skimboarding as flipping over from a wave and landing on your head can cause severe damage.

Although the sand is a lot harder than snow, landing on your head is a lot less common in skimboarding than it is in snowboarding because there are a lot less aerial maneuvers.


So, is skimboarding like snowboarding? In some ways, yes – but in other ways, they are definitely different.

If you’re interested in trying out either sport, be sure to give them both a go and see which one you like best!

Also read: think you can skimboard just because you skateboard? Here’s why not

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.