What is the difference between a skimboard vs a surfboard?

by Joost Nusselder | Last Updated:  04.03.2022
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You want to try out a new water sport but don’t know which board to choose, and you might be wondering what the difference is between a skimboard and a surfboard.

Surfboards are better for those who want to ride waves, whereas skimboards are better for those who want to do tricks.

So, what’s the difference? Let’s take a look.

Skimboard vs surfboard

Skimboard vs surfboard: What’s the difference?

Skimboards (like these) are typically smaller than surfboards, and they have a thinner, more flexible board that makes it easier to do tricks.

Surfboards are thicker and heavier, which makes them more stable when riding waves.

Skimboards are also less expensive than surfboards, and they are easier to transport because they are smaller.

Surfboards are more expensive and can be harder to transport because they are larger.

If you’re looking to do tricks and want to quickly get started, then a skimboard is probably for you.

Why are surfboards great for riding waves?

Surfboards are designed to ride waves and are therefore more stable in the water, providing more buoyancy.

This is great for catching waves out in the open water. You can’t do that on a skimboard, which is for riding waves near the shore line where the waves break.

They have a larger surface area that makes them easier to balance on, and they typically have a curved shape that helps them cut through the water.

Surfboards also have a fin on the bottom that helps them stay stable and move faster through the water. This fin also helps the surfer stay on track and makes it easier to turn the board, compansating for the minimal edge control of the board.

So, if you’re looking to ride big waves and want a more stable board, then a surfboard is the right choice for you.

The length of a surfboard is one of the most important factors in determining how it will perform.

A board that is too short or too long will not be as effective as one that is correctly sized.

The average length for a surfboard is around seven feet, but there are many different variations.

Some riders prefer a shorter board for tighter turns, while others prefer a longer board for more speed.

What’s the right length for you? That depends on your height, weight, and surfing experience.

A good way to determine the right size is to measure your height and then add ten or fifteen inches.

This will give you a good starting point for finding the right length board.

But no matter how small you buy your surfboard, it’ll always be much larger than a skimboard!

Why are skimboards great to do tricks?

Skimboards are designed to do tricks, and they are thinner and more flexible than surfboards.

This makes them easier to flip and spin in the water, and gives you the ability to skim flat water (flatland skimming). They also have a smaller surface area, which makes them more agile and easier to control with minimal effort.

Skimboards are typically around 3-4 feet in length, making them easy to transport and store.

They also tend to be a bit on the thin side, which makes it easy for riders to skim across the surface of the water.

While there are variations in size, most skimboards fall within this general range.

Why you can’t use a skimboard to surf

  1. Skimboards won’t support your weight as well as a surfboard would when you’re trying to catch a wave
  2. Skimboards are smaller and lighter than surfboards, so they’re not as stable when you’re surfing
  3. The design of a skimboard is different from that of a surfboard, so it’s not as easy to ride waves for extended periods of time on a skimboard, it for riding short and quick bursts of waves along the shoreline


So you see, skimboards are typically smaller than surfboards, and they have a thinner, more flexible board that makes it easier to do tricks.

Surfboards are thicker and heavier, which makes them more stable when riding waves.

Also read: can you skimboard on a waveboard?

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.