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Skimboard FAQs - START HERE

This is the place to talk about riding styles, tricks, conditions, what works, what doesn't on your skimboard. Wondering about what skimboard to get for kiting? Post it all here.

Moderators: Lonny, Todd

Skimboard FAQs - START HERE

Postby Lonny » Sat Feb 06, 2010 1:50 pm

I am putting starting this page up to link to several topics that are often asked, and to have an easy reference to find the answers. I will expand the FAQs and add to it as needed, and as my time allows. Please let me know if there are any specific questions that the Skim FAQ you would like to see added.

Should I buy a Kite Company's Skimboard or just a regular skim from a company like ZAP?
At this time I do not think the extra cost that most kiteboarding company's are charging for their skimboards are justified. That is not to say they are not good boards, or "designed specifically" for kite skimming. However, from my personal experience and testing tons of skims since 2005 I can tell you with certainty that there are several boards from skim companies like ZAP, Victoria, DB, Exile, and Roush that work very well with a kite and will not cost nearly as much as a kite company's version of a similar board. Remember that the people that pioneered kite skimming started with a regular skim board as there was no kite company's version available. There are definitely designs that work better for certain conditions, and general sizes that are better than others, but overall you can have a great time on a regular skimboard not from a kite company.

What is a good type of skimboard for me to start with?
One of the biggest reasons I started LTS was to have a central place where people could find information on strapless riding of all types. I was looking all over the web for information, and finding bits and pieces, but it was so hard to find one place with a good amount of information, and a place to share the stoke. Then I was out kite skimming one day, and the light bulb went off :idea: that I should start a site. Thus, LTS was born, and it has been a real pleasure to host this site since its inception. With that in mind I wanted to have a review section of the site where real everyday riders could post their boards, and what they thought of them. Without any marketing/pimping BS. If you are looking for a board start with the LTS skimboard reviews:
LTS Skimboard Reviews - FOR RIDERS BY RIDERS

What size skimboard is best to start with?
Generally, if you find a board around 54" x 20.5" and around 3/4" thick you will be in good shape. What separates a pure flat water machine from others is stiffness, rocker, and rail shape. That is where you notice performance difference in different water conditions.

Should you put a leash on your skimboard?
That is an interesting question, and a topic we had some very good feedback on:

Should I use wax or a pad on my skimboard while kite skimming?
Wax vs. pads is a matter of personal taste. I really like pads as they have just as much grip, if not more, and you don't have to re-wax your board all the time. Plus, when you start learning ollies they protect your board from dings and most importantly, your body to cushion the impact. The only real drawback with pads is that your can lose some of the feel of the board, so whatever pad you use make sure it is relatively thin or only a single density especially for your front foot. Tail kick pads are nice for the rear. If you do put pads on, make sure to remove the wax fully and then give your deck a rubbing alcohol treatment to get the pads to adhere well.

Where should put my my deck pad on my skimboard?

Where can I find a good selection of deck pads for skimboards?

How do you do a flat water Ollie?
Flat water jumps and jumps off of kickers are two different animals. On flat water its all about speed and technique to get some decent air. With kickers you hit it and you are going up, no doubt! Of course airing and landing are just as hard on a kicker if not harder. Since I ride a lot of very flat water I spend a lot of time just working on ollies and getting them as clean and as fast as I can do them. The next time you are out find some super flat water, and go out nicely powered. Now as weird as this may sound do not try to jump off little ramps or chop. You want to find serious flat stuff to work on your technique. Build up a good amount of speed, and edge against your kite by using your back leg to build tension. When you feel some nice tension push down with your back leg and at the same time lift up with your front leg and shoot your kite towards its sweet spot for lift. Every kite is different, but hopefully it will not be too far behind your back. Its similar to a wakestyle jump, and takes time to get the timing down. Do not edge to the point where you lose too much speed. Timing and technique are critical to getting a little ollie or a 3 foot nice lift. Now when you start doing this you might only get 6", but do not worry about it. When I first started I was stoked to just get a little air and keep going fast the same direction. Now, spend just an afternoon doing that. Let me know what happens after and how I can help some more. I hope that helps a little.

How do I do an Ole?

How do I do a 180 slide?
The 180 slide is pretty easy and there are a few ways to do it. If you can hop from regular stance to toe-side with your TT that is a good start. If you watch the video at approximately 1:40 you can see me initiate a 180 slide before I complete a handlepass. As you are riding along head towards the kite or downwind a little. Then take your back foot and push it towards the kite and your front foot should push away from the kite. Make sure to keep your kite with power in the direction your are going. It should not be so low that its off the water, but not so high that it pulls you off your board or slows you down too much. Ideally, it should end up being smooth that you slide 180 and keep about the same speed. Once you are riding toe-side get the feel for doing that. It will take some time to get the feel for it as it is a bit different that doing it on a TT. Again, the nice part about removing your fins is that there will be no resistance and the slide will be easier to do. Prepare to fall a lot, but don't worry about it - that is half the fun of learning something new and it makes it all the better when you get it. :wink: Keep in mind that once you feel comfortable doing this trick you can turn it into a transition, but sending the kite the opposite direction and since you are riding toe-side with the board backwards you can turnaround and have the board facing the right way and be in normal stance.

How do I do a Shuvit?
The shuvit is the same movement as the 180 slide, but instead of sliding with the board you are going to rotate the board 180, but stay with your same stance. The trick to this move initially is to slowly bring the kite to just above your head, but not behind you in anyway. Once the kite is about to reach 12:30 its time to initiate the shuvit it. The idea is to have the board go 180 and your ride off in the same stance and direction. You can do the 180 by pushing or pulling with your back foot and then doing the opposite with your front foot. Do whatever feels more natural to you. It is not necessary to try to pop the board. At this point you are just try to get the board to move 180 underneath your feet. The reason you want the kite high above your is that you can get a tiny bit of lift from the kite just enough to lighten your feet and let the board spin 180 underneath you. Once you have completed the spin quickly dive the kite back to 2 - 2:30 to generate some power and keep going the same direction. After you have pulled it off don't forget to look around to see if your friend saw you and you can even let out a hoot! :P The Shuvit will probably be harder for you to learn and it does take some time, but in order to progress you have to get the basic shuvit it down. Plus, they are freaking cool. 8)

Should I take the fins off my skimboard?
One hundred percent - take the fins off the board. If you want to learn to ride a skimboard properly, and not need to re-learn some skills then keep the fins off at first. They are sort of like training wheels, helpful, but you need to learn again without them. Once you learn to ride a skim properly you add fins when that is the desired action you are looking for, but only once you are comfortable riding without them do I recommend using them.

I would definitely recommend riding without your fins for 2 reasons. The first, is learning to ride your skim with proper technique. Even though it will be more difficult to ride at first because the board will feel super loose, and almost like it wants to come out from under your feet. However, believe me when I say that the fins are not necessary, especially once you learn the proper technique of riding the rail of your skimmy and getting your stance and kite position right. In some ways the fins can almost cheat you of developing a good skim technique because you don't really feel a skim fully until you ride it fin-less. Once you have your skim mastered then you can add fins when you want them for extra grip or waves. Lets also not forget that you look way cooler to all the other people riding without straps and fins!! :twisted: :lol: Second, if you remove your fins you will find it much much easier to learn to slide your skimmer and learn shuvits. Also, removing the fins will make it a bit easier when riding your board backwards and when you are learning to turnaround.

Can I ride my skimboard backwards even though it looks directional or only goes one way?
Some boards work better riding backwards than others depending on the rocker line, etc. , but you should be fine - it is just a mental hurdle because the board looks directional - don't worry about that.

I am having a hard time getting upwind on my skim. What is wrong?
Riding a skimboard properly is all about riding the edge of your skimmer. At first just get planning on it, which means bear off a bit more (head toward your kite a bit) to get some speed. Once you have decent speed trust your rail and edge it aggressively against the kite. Keep in mind chop and waves will make this much tougher because if you edge hard there you will get knocked off your board. When you go to hit chop or a wave straighten up your stance, relax your knees, and bring your kite higher above your head. Then when you clear the wave or chop edge again. Before you know it you will be going upwind like crazy. Skims are very efficient machines once you learn to ride them well, and you are properly powered with your kite. Generally, they can outperform most TTs upwind if ridden properly.

Choppy water is kicking my butt, what should I do differently, and do I need another board?
Riding your skimmy in chop or rough water can be far more difficult than in butter. It definitely requires at least a different approach to how you ride and possibly a different skim. When riding in heavy chop its a good idea to keep your knees a bit more bent to have a softer stance, and be able to absorb the chop through your body. If you ride with a stiff stance you are going to be launched off your board repeatedly, which isn't a lot of fun unless you like drinking saltwater! :wink: Also, you should keep your kite a bit higher than you normally would as you hit chop to allow you a little lift upwards rather than sideways. That will help keep you on your board, and again lighten your body on the board, which in turn helps absorb the chop. Armed with those techniques, and a bit of practice you will be riding through chop in now time.

It is easier to ride a board with a rocker profile more conducive to surf and chop in surf or choppy water conditions. A board with a more aggressive rocker line, up to 3" of nose rocker and 1/2 - 3/4" of tail rocker will release water more easily and cut through chop better. Also, a rounder rail profile vs. sharper rails will provide a easier time of it through chop. However, there is a sweet spot with these characteristics in a board, because they will often slow a board down sometimes substantially. Also, it will effect how well a board tends to get upwind, which is very important when riding in surf.

One, last thing I did not mention, is that your board's construction can make a huge difference in how it feels when riding it. A very stiff board can be wicked fast in butter conditions, but knock your fillings out in chop. :shock: One of the biggest secrets in making a good skim is the right layup and construction which will result in a sweet ride on the water whether riding in chop on flat water. This is where you can really tell the difference between boards. You could have two identical boards as far as length, width and thickness go, but ride very differently due to how they were constructed.

Should I put straps on my skimboard?
I know, this Lose The Straps, but honestly it is a fair questions, and we are not about flaming on LTS. Straps on a skimmer are sacrilegious. Please there will be a massive tremor in the force if you put them on. I think Patrick said it best...
patrickrynne wrote:Is that a serious question? Look at the name of the website you are on! No straps dude!
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