Words By: Sean Jahnig
Coming from South Africa where we always had a good selection of waves, bodyboarding was enough for me. Then I moved to Dubai and discovered that with limited waves, I needed to open my mind and find other ways of keeping myself entertained. This led to surfing, skating the Canopi Bowl at Tashkeel and cruising the hills of Fujairah on my longboard. It also led to skimboarding.
Of all the other sports that I’d begun, skimboarding was the toughest because there wasn’t (and still isn’t) much support for it locally. Neither in terms of professionals to learn from, nor stores that sell the equipment. Nevertheless, I persevered and progressed from a flatland woody board, to the custom, carbon fibre ware-riding boards that I’m on now. Along the way I’ve met other passionate riders from around the globe (including Westerners, Emirati’s and other Arabs) and together we’ve formed a rad little community.
Skimboarding is, no doubt, a difficult sport. But then again, so are skateboarding, surfing and many other board sports that it is associated with. The nice thing is that they’re all linked in a way and practicing one is ultimately, practicing the others.
Here’s a quick graphic to give you an idea of how we do it.
Some important facts about skimboarding, and specifically doing so in the UAE:
- Conditions here are less intense than other countries which make it a great place to learn.
- Skimboards are stronger and less expensive than surfboards.
- You can still hang out with your non-surfer friends on the shore while waiting for waves.
- It doesn’t matter if you have a small car, the board still fits inside.
- Just like surfing, you need a good shape wave and the right tide for a perfect ride.. Other conditions are fun, but this is what you really hope for.
- Waves that are good enough to really enjoy happen a lot more often than with surfing.
- Going for a skim is like going for a combo surf/skate at the same time.
- It isn’t easy. But be patient and enjoy the process of learning – its super fun!
- It’s great for fitness.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to say that skimboarding is a replacement for surfing – why would I ever. On the contrary, they’re complimentary. I’m willing to bet that any surfer who opens their mind and gives skimming a go will fall in love with it.
Check us out on Facebook at Skimboarders of the UAE where the humble community is always willing to answer any questions about how to start, where to buy equipment and what spots we skim at.
Check out video here.