The dog days of skimboarding on White Rock beach

The dog days of skimboarding on White Rock beach

WHITE ROCK — As with most board sports, skimboarding was born in Southern California.

Lifeguards rode wooden planks across the tide pools of Laguna Beach as far back as the 1920s.

Almost a century later, the days of wooden planks and one-piece bathing suits have entered the history books, giving way to an exciting modern sport.

Despite its presence on White Rock beach for more than 40 years, skimboarding has remained on the fringes.

"It’s been a pretty underground sport but it’s starting to gain in popularity now which is good to see," said Alex Dobbie, 18, operator of White Rock Skimboarding.

Dobbie, a White Rock native and business student, runs week-long summer camps teaching kids the fundamentals of the sport.In recent years, skimboarding has evolved in both technology and technique.

The boards have progressed from the wooden planks of yesteryear to modern materials like carbon fibre and fibreglass.On the sloping beaches of California, the sport adopted much of the flow and wave riding from its big brother, surfing.

Here on the flat tide pools of White Rock, skimboarding evolved alongside its estranged cousin, skateboarding.

Riders now build jumps and rails, pulling tricks that would look more familiar in a concrete skate park.

Unlike the concrete skate park, however, the beach can provide a much safer and relaxed atmosphere.

"It can be super relaxed, bring a pizza down and some speakers and just skim across the water, or if you are trying to learn new things you can just be sprinting back and forth and tiring yourself out … but you really get to go at your own pace," Dobbie said.

Skimboarding culture is about fun andprogression.

"It’s not like a sport where someone is constantly yelling at you to do better and there’s a team structure, you just come out here to have some fun and go at your own pace," Dobbie said.

"You just have to get the board and be willing to get wet and sandy. You catch on really quick in skimboarding especially if you have a little guidance."And strangely enough, the most important part of the sport – according to Dobbie – is falling.

"If you’re not falling, you’re not getting better."

Getting started:


Inexpensive boards can be found at stores along White Rock beach, but Dobbie says that the cheap ones often limit what a rider can do.

"The board is a huge part of skimboarding. You don’t want the cheap ones although they are good for beginners, you want one that can go both directions," he said.

Boards can be made out of wood, a dense foam core coated in fibre glass or carbon fibre.

Regardless of the material used in theboard’s construction, the shape dictates how it will perform.

"You want them shaped so they will glide on the water and they won’t cut, the cheaper boards will clip the water because they are not curved properly," Dobbie said.

Higher quality boards can be found at specialty board shops.

Not much is else is needed for a day of skimboarding at the beach, just your favourite bathing suit – polka dots optional.


Skimboarding is a beach sport and, luckily enough, White Rock has one of the best beaches for it.

Shallow tidal pools or channels are the prime location for flatland skimboarding, and at low tide those can be found in abundance.

Once you have a spot, be sure to clear the pool of shells and rocks to save your feet from cuts.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The interventional oncology team at Surrey Memorial Hospital. The Surrey Hospitals Foundation has invested in innovative technologies to kickstart a new Interventional Oncology service at Surrey Memorial Hospital. (Submitted photo: Yvonne Chiang)
Surrey Memorial home to machines for ‘minimally invasive’ cancerous tumours treatments

Technology can freeze, burn tumours without need for surgery

An example of a Surrey Police cruiser, showcased at Mayor Doug McCallum’s State of the City Address at Civic Hotel in May of 2019. (File photo: Amy Reid)
OUR VIEW: Surrey Police Service continues to draw from RCMP well

Again, it flies in the face of mayor’s election campaign pitch that Surrey needs a police force whose ranks live in this city

New United States Vice President Kamala Harris (left) and President Joe Biden (right) are sworn in at U.S. inauguration ceremonies Wednesday morning in Washington, D.C.. (Saul Loeb/Pool photos via AP)
Surrey Board of Trade highlights innovation, policy changes as new U.S. president sworn in

COVID-19, border re-opening among issues affecting city, SBOT says

Guildford Seniors Village, located in Surrey. (Image: Google Maps)
Fraser Health declares COVID-19 outbreaks over at 2 Surrey care homes

Outbreaks over at The Emerald at Elim Village, Guildford Seniors Village

A tow truck works to pull a dump truck from a ditch at 176 Street and 40 Avenue, following a two-vehicle incident Tuesday (Jan. 19) afternoon. (Aaron Hinks photo)
PHOTOS: Dump truck, car collide in South Surrey

Intersection – 176 Street and 40 Avenue – was site of 2019 fatal collision

A woman writes a message on a memorial mural wall by street artist James “Smokey Devil” Hardy during a memorial to remember victims of illicit drug overdose deaths on International Overdose Awareness Day, in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, on Monday, August 31, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. paramedics respond to record-breaking number of overdose calls in 2020

On the front lines, COVID-19 has not only led to more calls, but increased the complexity

A Langley woman said she was shaken by the angry encounter. (Google Maps)
Woman shaken after belligerent encounter with unmasked man in Langley store

A man angry about vaccines berated a fellow shopper, a witness said

Inspection of bridge crossing on a B.C. forest service road. (B.C. Forest Practices Board)
B.C. falling behind in maintenance of forest service roads

Auditor finds nearly half of bridges overdue for repair

(Black Press Media files)
Woman steals bottles of wine after brandishing stun baton in New Westminster

Police say the female suspect was wearing a beige trench coat with fur lining

Stand up paddleboarder Christie Jamieson is humbled to her knees as a pod of transient orcas put on a dramatic show on Jan. 19 in the Ucluelet Harbour. (Nora O’Malley photo)
UPDATED WITH VIDEO: Vancouver Island paddle boarder surrounded by pod of orcas

“My whole body is still shaking. I don’t even know what to do with this energy.”

Toronto’s Mass Vaccination Clinic is shown on Sunday January 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Canadian malls, conference centres, hotels offer up space for COVID vaccination centres

Commercial real estate association REALPAC said that a similar initiative was seeing success in the U.K.

Kamala Harris and Joe Biden are sworn into office on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. (Saul Loeb/Pool Photo via AP)
Joe Biden has been sworn in as the 46th president of the United States

About 25,000 National Guard members have been dispatched to Washington

A memorial for the fatal bus crash involving the Humboldt Broncos hockey team at the intersection of Highways 35 and 335 near Tisdale, Tuesday, October 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Liam Richards
‘End of the road:’ Truck driver in Humboldt Broncos crash awaits deportation decision

Sidhu was sentenced almost two years ago to eight years after pleading guilty to dangerous driving

Cumberland photographer Sara Kemper recently took the top spot in a Canadian Geographic photography contest. Photo by Sara Kemper
B.C. photographer takes top Canadian Geographic photo prize

Sara Kemper shows what home means to her in Comox Valley photo

Most Read