A journey back in time from when I started skimboarding on a round woody, discovering what skimboarding is all about and importing my first board directly from one of Exile’s co-founders, all the way up to the present representing Exile in South Africa, sponsoring a rider & growing SkimZA into a respected local skimboarding community & resource.
Originally published: 15 Jun 2011 | Updated: 25 May 2017
Riding a Woody back in the day – Late 90’s
I must have been about 13 when I started skimboarding. Back then (1998) all I had was a round wooded skimboard & an endless amount of energy that would see me spend hours on end on Camps Bay beach skimming back & forth. A few of my friends also gave it a shot and immediately got hooked.
After getting bored with the skimming along the flatland & pulling off the few tricks we knew, we started skimming down the banks and into the waves. We were trying to take our riding to the next level, but round wooden boards are not great when it comes to buoyancy. They were in fact horrible! I must have lost about 5 boards skimming into waves – after hitting the wave, the board used to sink to the ground & sand would pile onto it. I would stand there frantically searching with my toes to feel for the board, but 9 out of 10 times I’d have to go home & break the bad news to my parents.
Discovering what it’s all about – early 2000’s
By this stage, I had found SkimOnline.com (the largest skimboarding resource on the internet) and was eagerly learning more about the sport. I read about flatland skimboarding vs wave riding, the history of the sport, riding instructions, board construction & much more. I also started watching online videos, which simply blew my mind. I had never seen anything like this. I had made up my mind … this was the sport for me!
Buying my first ‘real’ board – 2004
The round “woodies” were not longer an option. If I was going to take this to the next level, I would need a “proper” board – one of the surfboard shaped ones. I got in contact with Aaron Peluso (co-founder of Exile Skimboards in California) & ordered my first board. It was a red hybrid double carbon with black beaker traction & a grey board bag. I spent a ton of money to import one of the best boards & I was the most excited kid on the block when my package finally arrived.
It was the weirdest thing trying to skim on this new board. I was so used to throwing the board like a Frisbee, running after it and jumping on. But I had to adapt and that is what I did.
At this stage my other mates had lost their interest in the sport – perhaps cause they were sick of their woodies and weren’t willing or able to make the costly upgrade purchase. I however spent hours and hours on the beach running into waves working on my technique.
For the next 4 yea, s I skimmed on and off with long breaks focusing my energy on my musical projects and my studies.
Skimboarding in Australia – 2008
After my studies I spent a year in Australia working and traveling. Skimboarding was not really part of my original plan, but while over there it did not take long for me to meet and join the local Queensland skim crew. I made some great friends, enjoyed some memorable skim sessions and finally learnt how to do the ‘3-step drop’ (the technique of running, dropping and getting onto your skimboard). To cut a long story short, I made some great friends and had a really fun time skimboarding in Australia.
Back in Cape Town – 2009
I arrived back in South Africa with improved skills, an Australian skimboard called “Nemo” & renewed energy to skim my local beaches. I spent as much time as possible on my local beaches (Camps Bay, Glen Beach and Clifton). And it was around this time that other skimboarders appeared out of nowhere. I now kept seeing the same happy faces on the beach on a regular basis and the Cape Town crew came into existence. As the weeks passed our group grew into a handful of regular skimboarders – we all shared a passion for this amazing sport.
Will I ever skim again? – 2010
In early June 2010 (a week or two before the kickoff of the FIFA World Cup), I suffered a 2nd-degree ankle sprain during a football training match in Camps Bay. Ironically one of my main reasons for getting back into playing Football was to get fit for skimboarding. I guess my plan backfired.
My injury kept me out of skimboarding for 9 long months and I was not sure if I would ever be able to skimboard again. It was a challenging recovery and my injury really made me re-think a lot of things. While injured I kept in touch with the crew and tried to mission to the beach every now and then to take some photos and watch, while deep down I was sad that I could not jump on my board and join in.
Back on board & growing the sport – 2011
The period of 2011 and 2012 has been the most exciting period for my skimboarding journey, as well as for Skimboarding in South Africa. I got back on my board around March 2011 and was over the moon about being able to skim again. The Cape Town crew kept growing from strength to strength. On some days we had between 10 – 15 riders skimming Camps Bay beach.
I created a SkimZA presence on facebook and made a point of personally promoting the brand to every skimboarder I meet on the beach. It’s the best place online to meet & interact with other local skimboarders. And shortly after that, I launched SkimZA.com. I’ve always had huge plans for the SkimZA site, but it’s always been a work in progress fueled by a love for this great sport.
In 2011 SkimZA became the official representative of Exile Skimboards in South Africa (a dream that I had back when I unpacked my first Exile board) and sponsoring Chris da Canha as the first official team rider for Exile South Africa.
We’ve also imported and sold a bunch of boards to local skimboarders in South Africa.
Riding with the pros & hanging out with Exile in California – 2011
Towards the end of 2011 I spent a month in Dana Point, California (just south of the famous Laguna Beach). During this unforgettable trip I got to meet and skim alongside some of the pro riders, hangout at the Exile Team house during the Santa Cruz content, watch a content at Newport and skim some of the best sports in the area. It was a dream come true!
Taking Some Time Off: 2012 – 2017
The past 5 years have been quiet for my personal skimboarding journey and the Skimboarding scene in South Africa. Some of our best local riders either moved abroad or decided to throw in the towel. Other riders, like James Dean and Satya Jones, have however kept up the stoke and are still skimboarding hard. The flame may have died down a bit, but it’s definitely still burning.
Announcing Exile Prices for South Africa: 2017
I’ve recently published an updated price list for Exile products and look forward to importing more products, so that more riders can experience the joy of the fun sport. If you’re interested, then check out the Exile Skimboards 2017 Prices & Order Form.
I have always had big plans for SkimZA, but need to see how things go.
This brand and website has always been a passion project that I’ve built and managed on the side.
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