Choosing the right board is a combination of body weight, height and skill level.
Beginners should look at weight limit as the first factor to select the right board. In addition the board should reach mid chest level (at the sternum) when it is standing on end in front of the rider.
Board Weight – Here we reach for the best “strength to weight ratio” of the board. The weight rating is determined by the fracture toughness of the board’s foam core. As the rider weight limit and skill levels of the boards increase, the core density will also. An increase in density means you can count on the stress strength to be greater… with little increase in the weight of the board.
Rider Weight Limit – Also affected by the core of the board, the “suggested weight limit” will factor in the body weight of the rider with the goal of achieving optimal float. To skim across the water, a rider needs wetted area underneath the board. If he/she exceeds the recommended weight limit they will press the board down to the sand and it will stop or, in some cases, suction down to the sand. Another risk when exceeding the board weight limit is board breakage. We stress test all designs to determine the maximum float, strength and impact resistance when determining the suggested weight limit.
Height – A board should reach mid chest when standing on end in front of the rider. This will accomodate the stride and stance of the rider, assisting in balance and flow of motion.
Age – Purely a growth consideration. When investing in a board for a rider from 8 – 16 years of age, consider how much the have grown in the past year. If a rider is pushing the outside limit of a weight or height consideration, it may be wise to look at the next size up for longer fit.
Skill Level – Consider how experienced the rider is with skimboarding, what other sports they participate in, and what type of ride they are reaching for (sand skimming, wave riding, trick riding, etc). Some examples:
- A first time rider under 8 years old will be fine to choose a beginner option based upon body weight and height.
- A young beginner who is athletic (maybe they play soccer, run track, skateboard, etc.) may want to look at intermediate options to accommodate a faster advancement of skill.
- Riders who are looking to start heading into the waves or to begin competing should consider a no weight limit option and make their determination based on the performance expectation of the board shape.
The factors to consider should be combined when making a board choice. A frequent question we receive is the “older beginner” board choice. How this works – let’s say the rider is a 17 year old weighing in at 150 lbs for example – they should be considering an intermediate or more experienced skill level of board. That higher level board will float the rider’s body weight and advance skill. If a rider is over the suggested weight limit for the board it will be weighed down to the sand and will not glide.
In addition to rider weight limits, each board has a list of its board building features and performance expectations on its own page. Bullet points at the top… scroll down for more detail.