With the winter weather finally here, summer activities seem a mode of the past. During the summer, however, with a simple walk down to one of the many American River beaches, a relatively unknown sport will manifest itself. Sometimes called water skateboarding, inland skimboarding has rapidly developed since its Sacramento founding about 20 years ago. Due it increasing prevalence, many here in Sacramento have heard of the sport, but have not seen it in action, let alone know much about it.
With a board about three times as wide as a skateboard and twice as long, the sport consists of three steps: beginning with a run, the rider throws the board parallel to the water as it glides in front of them, then the rider jumps on the board, using his or her momentum to propel the board even further; lastly, once on the board, the rider can perform a number of flatland tricks or ride onto a rail, usually constructed with wood and PVC pipe. Lon Porteous, a Sacramento resident and skimboard legend, was arguably the first person to ever take the shallow water gliding of ocean skimboards to a rail on our very own American River.
Now a teaming, underground culture worldwide, avid riders continue to push the sport further and further. Mike Finneran, a Rio senior and sponsored DB Skimboards rider, says “I skimboard to get girls.” For most, however, the allure of the sport is in the beautiful American River, the exercise, and the unlimited progression.
Annually, around the beginning of September, Sacramento hosts the world’s longest running inland skimboarding competition called Skimfest. After 14 years of intense progression, the competition has evolved from a few local riders and basic rails to riders from as far as Canada and gnarly set-ups. Skimlife rider and videographer Derek Popple says, “it seems that every year Skimfest’s rails and turnout get bigger and bigger.” Keep an eye out for the next skim season’s intense progression, but until then skimboarders all over wait impatiently for the heat and favorable water level to return.