Skimboards: the foam and wood dilemma | Photo: Exile Skimboards

Picking the right skimboard can be complicated. The good news is that a size chart and a few skim science rules will resolve the most common doubts.

How do you choose a skimboard? First of all, write down your height and weight, as these variables will count when buying new gear.

Then, ask yourself a couple of questions: are you a beginner or an accomplished rider looking to increase your quiver? Are you a frequent flatland skimmer or do you prefer trimming the line in the waves? Your answers matter when asking for advice at your local surf shop.

The majority of manufacturers shape skimboards with closed cell foam in the core and fiberglass/resin in the outer layers. Carbon fiber boards are high-performance leaves that are often used by professionals.

Foam models have higher floatation and are widely used by wave riders, while inland skimmers normally use wood planks because they're heavier and truly resistant.

Skimboards range between 45.00'' and 57.00'' in height, and between 17.75'' and 23.00'' in width, depending on the rider's physical characteristics, level of experience and type of ride (waves or flat waters).

Thickness plays a crucial role in the board's behavior. Thick ones will glide better but won't turn and carve so well because they lack responsiveness. In other words, are you looking for speed, tricks, or a balance of both?

Boards with too much rocker are slower and can easily be picked up by medium-to-strong winds. The most common tail type found in skimboards is the pintail because it will add extra stability to its overall performance.

As a rule of thumb, a larger model (in height and width) will be faster, but will not carve rapidly if you want, for example, attack a falling wave lip. Smaller boards tend to be "nervous" yet slower. Rule of thumb number two: buy a skimboard at about mid-chest height.

Traditionally, wood skimboards are cheaper ($50-$100) than foam skimboards ($150-$300) but, above all, you've got to get the best gear for your height, weight, experience and type of ride.

Skimboarding tricks will require having installed a good traction pad. You can also use wax, but decks also help performing tricks like airs and shove-its. A skimming wave is not a surfing wave.

The best and most popular skimboard manufacturers are Victoria Skimboards, Zap Skimboards, Exile Skimboards, Slotstik Skimboards, Wave Zone Skimboards, Meyer Boarding Company, Body Glove, DB Skimboards, Grape Skimboards, and Santa Cruz Skimboards.

Check the following Skimboard Size Chart. The most experienced riders may pick a board that is smaller than their corresponding model in the chart, while beginners can buy a larger leaf in order to improve faster.

Skimboarder Weight

> 80lbs
80-100lbs
100-140lbs
120-160lbs
140-180lbs
160-200lbs
180-220lbs
200-240

Skimboard Model

XXS
XS
S
M
ML
L
XL
XXL

Skimboard Dimensions

45.00'' x 19.00''
48.00'' x 19.25''
51.00'' x 19.75''
52.00'' x 20.00''
52.25'' x 20.25''
52.50'' x 20.50''
53.00'' x 20.75''
54.00'' x 21.50''