If you’re hitting the beach, there’s never been a better time to talk about safer skimboarding. For the uninitiated, skimboarding is a thrilling water sport that has been gaining massive popularity over the years. Unlike surfing, which involves riding waves far out at sea, skimboarding happens much closer to the shore. In this case, riders will glide across the thin film of water left by receding waves.

This sport is loads of fun for all ages… but like any water sport, it certainly comes with its own set of risks. Read on to learn four tips for safer skimboarding. These will help you and your family glide across the wet sand safely.

Skimboarding vs. Surfing

Before diving into the tips, let’s look a bit closer into the differences between skimboarding and surfing. As mentioned in the introduction, surfing requires paddling out to deeper waters to catch a wave back to the shore. Typically, it relies on strong swimming skills and an ability to navigate larger waves and currents. On the other hand, skimboarding begins on the beaches. Riders run toward the water, drop their board on the wet sand and glide across the surface and shallow waters.

Obviously, water safety is still paramount. After all, drowning is a serious danger no matter how much water is involved! It only takes enough water covering the mouth and nose to stop breathing and cause potentially fatal consequences.

Beyond that, there is falling damage to consider. According to the British Journal of Sports Medicine, skimboarding is associated with frequent falls and injuries, similar to those sustained in skating, rollerblading, and skateboarding. Due to its “close-to-shore” nature, skimboarding might seem less risky, but it has its own set of hazards. The rapid transition from sand to water can easily cause stumbles, slips and falls. Additionally, the shallow water means there will be less cushioning if you take a tumble. This can lead to a very rough landing. Understanding these differences is the first step toward safer skimboarding.

  1. Choose the Right Skimboarding Spot for Safety

As always, picking the right location is the first step toward water safety. Look for beaches with smooth, flat sand and a gentle slope into the water. For safer skimboarding, be sure to avoid areas with rocks, shells, or other debris. These can easily cause injuries if you take a spill.

People can also get in the way of skimboarders. For that reason, it will always be wiser to steer clear of crowded beaches. This will help to minimize the risk of collisions with other beachgoers. That said, don’t operate too far outside of a lifeguard’s gaze. Having an extra set of eyes watching you can help to dodge disasters.

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  1. Keep an Eye on the Tides

Beyond the beach area, don’t neglect the weather and the tide conditions. Checking the weather reports and the tide schedule can prevent disasters. Typically, the best time for skimboarding is usually around low tide. In this case, the water should be shallow enough to allow the board to glide across the surface, but not so deep that it becomes hard to control your skim board.

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  1. Wear the Right Protective Gear

Even though you’re by the water, it’s important to guard against physical injuries. That’s where protective gear comes in handy for safer skimboarding. Consider wearing a helmet, especially for beginners or children, to avoid head injuries and concussions. Beyond that, use rash guards and wetsuits to prevent against scrapes and cuts from falls. Finally, applying suntan lotion can help protect your skin from the sun’s harsh UV rays.

Besides head injuries, one of the most common places where skim boarders take damage is to their wrists. Wearing proper supports and guards can help to mitigate this situation. Finally, don’t neglect your feet! Skimboarding barefoot is common, but water shoes can provide extra grip and defend against sharp objects on the beach.

  1. Learn the Proper Technique for Safer Skimboarding

As with any water sport, proper technique is vital for safer skimboarding. Muscle memory and knowing how to react to a fall is a huge help for reducing the risk of injuries.

For this reason, it pays to study ahead of time. Watching tutorial videos on youtube or taking professional lessons can be quite beneficial. Teaching kids the correct techniques early on will help them develop good habits for the future.

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Falls can lead to sprained ankles, wrist injuries, or cuts and bruises. To avoid these, always warm up before skimboarding to increase flexibility and reduce the risk of strains. Before heading out to the water, practice balance exercises. These can help you improve your stability on the board.

Overall, skimboarding is a fantastic way to enjoy the beach, offering a unique mix of excitement and challenge. Remember, putting safety first equals more fun and fewer worries. Enjoy your time at the beach with safer skimboarding.