Another Way To Ride The Waves

If surfing isn’t your thing, you might want to give skimboarding a try

Los Cabos gets a lot of love for being a great place to surf, but did you know it’s also one of the best places in the world to skimboard?

Skimboarding is a combination of surfing, skating and wakeboarding. A skimboard is much smaller than a surfboard and doesn’t have fins, the board is used to glide across the water’s edge. You can ride the waves too, but you’re much closer to shore than surfing.

skimboard.JPGAccording to Andres Bost, one of about five professional skimboarders here in Cabo, the first step in skimboarding is learning how to get on the board without falling. This is harder than it sounds, because you have to run, toss the board in front of you and then hop onto it as it hits the water. It takes a combination of coordination and good timing.

The next step is seeing how far you can go as you glide along in the water. Once you’re able to get a good distance, then you can start learning how to ride the waves. And that’s when skimboarding gets really fun, Andres says.

Juan Carlos Nazario, another Cabo skimboarding pro, says the sport is good for people who don’t know how to swim or are scared of the water, because you’re not really out in the water. Skimboarders can still get some pretty big waves if they want, like on Divorce Beach, or they can just go to Medano and skim their way down the beach and do a few small tricks.

Speaking of tricks, you can do a lot more on a skimboard than you can on a surfboard. This is where the similarity to skateboarding can be seen. Skimboarders can do spins, jumps, alley-oops and something called a shove-it which, as best as we can determine, is when the skimboarder turns his board 180 degrees without letting the front of the board (or back, if they’re doing a back side shove-it) touch the water.

Andres says surfing is more popular than skimboarding because it’s easier. In skimboarding, you can fall a lot and because you’re right on the shore, you’re more likely to fall on the hard sand. That’s not an issue in surfing. Skimboarders can also get hurt by getting hit with the board or landing a trick poorly. They break their ankles or wrists, and hurt their knees or shoulders. Andres has snapped both of his tendons at the same time while skimming. Sound fun yet?

So now that you have a better understanding of what skimboarding is, what is it that makes Cabo such a good place for the sport? For starters, the waves are really good here, especially on the Pacific side.

“They say once you skimboard on Divorce Beach, you can skimboard anywhere,” Andres says. He says people have come from all over the world, including Spain, Portugal , Brazil, Venezuela, Japan, Hawaii and Africa to skimboard on this beach.

Divorce Beach is where the annual Cabo Clasico skimboarding tournament takes place. Both Andres and Juan have been competing in the tournament for years. Andres got second place in his first and second Clasico appearances as an amateur, in 2012 and 2013, and after that, tournament organizers said he needed to move up to the professional level. He was only 19, but had been skimboarding for 6 years at that point.

Juan has a similar story. He started skimboarding when he was 12 or 13 and turned pro at the age of 15. He won the 2015 Cabo Clasico and took second in this year’s tournament, which was held last month.

Both he and Andres plan on competing in Brazil later this year, as part of the United Skim Tour. Juan Carlos says that outside of Cabo, Brazil is his favorite place to skimboard. Not only is it beautiful and have good waves, but the skimboarders are really friendly there, he says. That’s not always the case; in California, for example, the skimboarders are very territorial and won’t let non-locals go out on the water.

And although the professional skimboarding community in Cabo is a small one, it’s not competitive. There’s no drama, according to Andres.

“We’re competitive in a friendly way,” he says.

If skimboarding sounds like something you’d like to try, you can rent the boards from Costa Azul Surf Shop, which is on the fourlane just outside of San Jose. And if you need a good instructor, you can find Juan Carlos on Medano Beach most days. When he’s not working at Mango Deck, he might be out skimming a few waves. He’d be the skimboarder wearing the apron.