When was skimboarding invented & where did it originate?

by Joost Nusselder | Last Updated:  28.02.2022
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 is a board sport that involves riding on the waves.

The sport has been dated back to the early 1920s. Beach boys in California were noted for riding a piece of wood or a piece of metal down the waves.

The modern-day skimboard was invented in the early 1960s when Tom Morey created the first foam and fiberglass skimboard.

Read more about the history of skimboarding!

Where did skimboarding originate

Where did skimboarding originate?

When you hear the word “skimboard,” what comes to mind?

For many people who live in Southern California, it’s a sleek and lightweight board that can be used for riding waves much like surfing.

But this simple water-based sport has evolved over time.

Skimboarding got its start on the beaches of California, Laguna beach.

This unique sport originated from when Laguna Beach lifeguards wanted more speed on the smaller shore breaks of Laguna, so they used wooden planks that could get them where otherwise-no one would go – into these shallow waters with powerful undertow!

Surfers have been sliding down waves atop their boards ever since, but Tom Morey is credited with being the first to create a special device for what came to be known as “skimboarding.”

In 1962, he started experimenting with various materials such as vinyl records, plastic mats, and finally foam rubber insulation before landing on fiberglass after reading about Martin Holladay’s success using it in surfboards.

However, it has since become popular all over the world! People can now skimboard in places like Australia, Brazil, and Spain.

First foam core skimboards

Morey’s original skimboard design looked similar to a snowboard or skateboard without wheels: just a long sheet of foam core with a wooden or fiberglass deck on top.

Riders would lie down on their stomachs and use their hands and feet to propel themselves across the waves.

Early skimboarders faced significant challenges in riding the waves.

Since they were lying down flat, they couldn’t catch as much speed as surfers and they had no control over the board.

They would often end up in the water or on the shore.

However, these challenges only made the sport more exciting and challenging for riders.

They started to figure out ways to improve their skills and soon began to catch waves and ride them all the way to the beach.

When was skimboarding popularized?

Skimboarding began to gain in popularity in the 1970s as riders started to perfect their skills.

In 1975, the first skimboarding competition was held in San Diego and since then, the sport has continued to grow in popularity.

How skimboarding has evolved

Skimboarding has come a long way since its early days.

There are now professional competitions, and the sport is enjoyed by riders of all ages around the world.

There are also a number of different types of skimboarding, including flatland, freestyle, and racing.

Flatland skim scenes

Flatland skimboarding evolved from wave skimboarding and is performed on flatlands, meaning inland non-coastal bodies of water, like a lake or river, or even a puddle.

You can also do it on the beach on a stretch of beach with a puddle in it.

The basic idea is to do tricks and stunts on the board in a similar way to skateboarding.

Inland skimboarding began in the 1970s in Sacramento, California. People used plywood, fiberglass, and resin to make their own skimboards.

They used sandbars along the American and Sacramento rivers to practice.

The freestyle aspects of inland skimboarding were pioneered in the early 1980s by two locals from Sacramento: Launie Porteous and Mark Robinson.

They were inspired by the skateboard scene and started adapting skateboarding skills to skimboarding. This created the concept of freestyle skimboarding.

Also read: the 10 best places to skimboard without access to a beach

Freestyle skimboarding

Freestyle skimboarding is another variation of the sport that involves doing tricks and stunts on the waves.

Riders often perform freestyle skimboarding on smaller, weaker waves where they can show off their skills.

Freestyle skimboarding involves performing tricks on the waves while racing skimboards are specifically designed for speed and distance.

United skim tour

The United skim tour is a professional competition that takes place in the United States.

It was founded in 2009 and is open to riders of all ages and abilities.

The tour consists of a number of stops around the country where riders compete for cash prizes and trophies.

Skimboarding contests

There are also a number of international competitions, including the world championships, which are open to riders from all over the world.


Skimboarding is a sport that has come a long way since its early days.

Riders have started to perfect their skills and the sport is now enjoyed by riders of all ages around the world.

Skimboarding contests are held all over the world, with riders competing for cash prizes and trophies.

If you’re interested in giving skimboarding a try, there are plenty of resources available on our site to help you get started!

Also read: these are the top-performing skimboards to get you started

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.