Skimboarding is a great sport because it’s accessible to anyone who lives near a body of water.
But the exact skimboard you need will depend on where you’ll be using it regularly.
We’re going to dig into important details about each kind so you’ll know exactly what you need before starting your journey.
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Wood Skimboard vs Fiberglass Skimboard
Wooden skimboards and fiberglass skimboards are the ones you’ll see most often although there are a few others out there. We’re going to focus on the differences between each board, but let’s just talk about where you’re more likely to use each one before going any further:
- Wood skimboards
- Fiberglass skimboards
Wood skimboards – Flatland skimboarding and east coast waves.
The best wooden skimboards reign supreme when it comes to any kind of inland skimboarding. You just need to find a suitable body of water and you’ll be ready to go. It could be a large puddle somewhere in your hometown where water tends to build up when it’s raining.
Or if you live close to a lake you should be able to find an area shallow enough to skim over the water at high speed. Living next to a beach would be a huge bonus because you’ll always be able to skimboard on the sand, plus wooden skimboards can still go out on the waves.
Wooden skimboards help on the east coast because the winds blow against incoming waves decreasing their energy. Due to the fact wooden boards are heavier it could boost your speed in weaker waves, but be aware they aren’t primarily designed to be used on waves.
Fiberglass skimboards – West coast and Hawaiian waves.
The waves on the west coast are the exact opposite. A narrow continental shelf, steep continental slope, and inward prevailing winds helps make the waves a lot stronger. Plus the best fiberglass skimboards were specially designed to be used in waves for surfing and tricks.
Are Wooden Skimboards And Fiberglass Skimboards Interchangeable?
Yes and no. You can use either type of skimboard no matter where you are, but each one has their positives and negatives. So you can use fiberglass skimboards for inland skimboarding but they’re not as good (or fun). And the same is true using wooden skimboards to ride waves.
Wooden Skimboards vs Fiberglass Skimboards: Main Differences
I think it’s crucial you understand the main differences between each one. It probably won’t change your mind about which kind you’ll need, but at least you’ll know why your chosen skimboard is more effective. Here are a couple of the biggest things that stand out:
1 – Price – Wooden skimboards are a lot cheaper than fiberglass skimboards, which is great for anyone interested in inland skimboarding. The reason they’re cheaper basically comes down to the fact flatland skimboards are made from wood which is pretty cheap.
Are there some expensive models made from better quality wood? Sure, but the average wooden skimboard is going to be a lot cheaper.
2 – Speed – You’ll be able to go a lot faster on a wooden skimboard. Fiberglass skimboards will still allow you to fly out towards waves, but once you’ve turned on the lip the wave speed determines how fast you’re able to go. You are the one in control when using a wood skimboard.
Here are a few things that will have an impact on your top speed:
- Surface your skimboarding on
- Skimboard weight
- Rocker height
But the speed you reach will ultimately be determined by how fast you can run and how smoothly you can throw the skimboard on the ground before stepping onto it.
3 – Rocker – When you lay a skimboard on the ground it won’t be flat. It will be curved upwards which is referred to as the rocker. Flatland wooden skimboards have a smaller rocker which helps you go faster, but if you’re hurtling towards a wave you might nosedive into the sea.
The 3D rocker is the latest innovation in flatland skimboarding and everyone loves it. There is a continuous rocker from the nose all the way to the tail, plus a side to side (taco rocker) from rail to rail too. It will prevent you from catching an edge no matter what direction you’re moving.
Steeper rockers are generally found on fiberglass skimboards and will stop you from generating as much speed. But they come out on top when you’re moving from sand to sea or skimming on choppy water, because your skimboard won’t get caught causing you to nosedive.
4 – Tail – Skimboards for wave riding usually come with a rounded pintail, which will give you more balance and maneuverability on waves. What’s the point in riding waves if you can’t make sharp turns? Wooden skimboards will usually come with much wider square shaped tails.
5 – Shape – Inland wood skimboards might come in a variety of different shapes, but they’re all basically wide and thin. It’s the shape you’d expect to excel when it’s skimming over a shallow patch of water. There is more surface area to stand on which is nice when you’re moving fast.
Fiberglass skimboards look like mini surfboards without fins. They are thinner with a thicker base. The extra thickness of the base increases the buoyancy of the skimboard on waves. You will be able to skim over the water at slower speeds without sinking.
6 – Weight – Wooden skimboards are heavy which helps with speed. Fiberglass skimboards are lighter which helps with buoyancy. But don’t expect to notice a big difference when holding them. Even a wooden skimboard for big riders might only weigh a few kilograms.
7 – Durability – An expensive fiberglass skimboard will generally last longer than a wooden one. Some even have carbon fiber tips in case you bang into anything. Wood skimboards can still last a long time provided you get the right one, plus they’re much more cost effective to replace.
8 – Tricks – Once you have some experience under your belt you’ll be able to start mastering some tricks. Wood skimboarding tricks will involve lots of spins due to the shape of the board. If you build yourself a ramp you’ll be able to do some stunts you would normally do on skateboards.
You can still perform lots of tricks on fiberglass skimboards although it’s mostly ones you’ll do on waves unless you’re using it for flatland skimboarding.
What Skimboard Size Should You Get?
The rules are the exact same when it comes to size whether you’re getting a wood or fiberglass skimboard. It must be able to support your bodyweight, so check the weight limits for each length carefully. As long as the skimboard can support your weight listen to the following:
- Longer skimboard
- Shorter skimboard
Longer skimboard – Beginners should stick to longer skimboards because they’ll be more forgiving when you’re learning.
Shorter skimboard – Advanced skimboarders will appreciate shorter boards because it will be easier to pull more tricks.
Wooden vs Fiberglass Skimboard: Which One Should You Choose?
Remember you can use any model for wave riding or flatland skimboarding, especially if it’s a good board. But the skimboard you choose should be based on how you plan to use it. After everything we’ve talked about today you should know the difference between each one.
If you want to delve deeper into a particular skimboard click on the links to Amazon to read lots of unbiased reviews. It’s always nice to get feedback from multiple people with experience of your dream skimboard.