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:

THE GEAR

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.

WHERE TO GO

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.

matt@mattlaw.ca

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

Just Posted

Walnut Grove’s Shawn Meehan (front) has started another band, Trigger Mafia. This local country rocker has put country on the shelf, and is going hard-core rock with this group, releasing their first single last Friday to radio. It started as a way to pass the time during the COVID lockdown, and evolved. (Special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Langley musician drives rock revival with COVID twist

Trigger Mafia goes straight from the garage to radio with raw lyrics

A reminder to students at Surrey’s Strawberry Hill Elementary to physically distance during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Teachers, staff should be included in contact tracing: Surrey Teachers’ Association president

STA says there is also ‘no harm in going even further’ with a mask mandate

A reminder to students at Surrey’s Strawberry Hill Elementary to physically distance during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Five Surrey schools reporting COVID-19 exposures

INTERACTIVE TABLE: Search for schools, organize by exposure dates

The peninsula’s Community Christmas Day Dinner at White Rock Baptist Church – seen here in 2019 – has been cancelled for 2020, because of pandemic-inspired limitations on gatherings. (File photo)
Annual Community Christmas dinner ‘just not possible’ this year

Organizers vow that 40 years-plus Semiahmoo Peninsula tradition will return, post-COVID

Strawberry Hill Hall is being renovated and moved to another location on its existing corner lot in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zillich)
Surrey’s historic Strawberry Hill Hall being moved a few metres in $1.2M reno project

Childcare spaces coming to corner lot where hall has stood for 111 years

A woman wears a face mask and plastic gloves while browsing books as a sticker on the floor indicates a one-way direction of travel between shelves of books at the Vancouver Public Library’s central branch, after it and four other branches reopened with limited services, in Vancouver, on Tuesday, July 14, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
B.C. reports 234 new COVID cases, 1 death of senior who had attended small birthday party

Roughly 5,700 people are isolating due to being exposed to a confirmed case

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry speaks Thursday (Oct. 29) during a news conference held at Fraser Health office, in video posted to Facebook. (Photo: Government of British Columbai/Facebook)
COVID-19 ‘disproportionately’ affecting Fraser Health: Henry

Health region has about 75 per cent of B.C.’s active cases

Burnaby RCMP responded to a dine-and-dash suspect who fell through a ceiling in March 2020. (RCMP handout)
VIDEO: Suspected dine-and-dasher falls through ceiling of Burnaby restaurant

A woman believed to be dashing on her restaurant bill fell through the kitchen ceiling

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A can of Canada Dry Ginger Ale is shown in Toronto on Thursday Oct. 29, 2020. The maker of Canada Dry Ginger Ale has agreed to pay over $200,000 to settle a class-action lawsuit launched by a B.C. man who alleged he was misled by marketing suggesting the soda had medicinal benefits. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Joseph O’Connal
B.C. man’s lawsuit over marketing of Canada Dry ginger ale settled for $200K

Soda’s maker, Canada Dry Mott’s Inc., denied the allegations and any liability

Vancouver Island-based Wilson’s Transportation has expanded to fill some of the routes left unserviced by Greyhound as of Nov. 1, 2018. (Black Press files)
B.C. bus companies say they need help to survive COVID-19

Like airlines, motor coaches have lost most of their revenue

A deer was spotted in October 2020 in Prince Rupert, B.C., with a bright pink yoga ball stuck in its antlers. (Kayla Vickers/Chronicles Of Hammy The Deer Official Page)
Hammy 2.0? Prince Rupert deer spotted with bright pink yoga ball stuck in antlers

The BC Conservation Officer Service is aware of the deer roaming around the city

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Kelowna Mountie hit with 2nd lawsuit in 2 months for alleged assault

Const. Julius Prommer is accused of breaking a woman’s knee during while responding to a noise complaint

Hirdeypal Batth, 24, has been charged with sexual assault and forcible confinement in relation to an incident in August 2020. (VPD handout)
Man, 24, charged with sex assault after allegedly posing as Uber driver in Vancouver

Investigators believe there could be more victims outside of the Vancouver area

Most Read