For outdoor sports enthusiast Auston Reisman, skimboarding was a way to connect with Whidbey’s outdoors when he first moved here as a kid.
With “ideal conditions” for skimming, boards are able to seamlessly glide for a longer distance. When he throws the board mid stride and jumps aboard, all the clutter in his mind seems to drift away.
Reisman wants to share that same experience with kids at his skimboarding summer camp.
“Anybody can do it, all you need is a skimboard and a low tide,” Reisman said. “If you can run, you can ride. You just grab your skim and ride the glide.”
Reisman is leading a two-day “skim skool” from 10 a.m. to noon on Aug. 20 and Aug. 21 at Double Bluff Beach. The camp, geared toward seven to 15-year-olds, covers the fundamental basics of skimboarding to provide a foundation for future boarders. It’s the second camp Reisman and the guys at Jack’d Skimboards have held this summer, the first of which was a skimboard painting workshop.
Although many of the kids who plan to “ride the glide” at the camp will bring their own boards they painted earlier this month, those who didn’t can get loaners from Reisman’s shop. All skill levels are welcome to join, as the first day will cover basics such as proper stance and throwing form before getting more advanced. Camp registration is $85, and space is still available. The camp organizers allow for last-minute registration.
According to Carrie Monforte, program manager for South Whidbey Parks and Recreation District, the camp is a favorite summer event that brings people back for more.
“It’s a very popular program, and at the skimboard painting workshop, some were painting their own boards for the second time,” Monforte said. “You’d be surprised how many kids made a smaller board earlier and since they’ve grown they wanted a larger board.”
Whidbey has some of the best conditions for skimming on the West Coast, Reisman said. Given the shallow nature of the island’s beaches, there are multiple stretches of sand that make for an ideal flat surface to glide across. Being in the “armpit” of Puget Sound, as Reisman calls it, the tidal fluctuations mean low tide provides a nearly perfect set up for skimming. The hard-pack sand also contributes to the good conditions.
“Double Bluff and Useless Bay in general is a prime location and one of our favorite spots,” Reisman said. “There are other good spots out there, but I won’t give up my secrets.”
Kids who attend will learn as a group before getting one-on-one training from any of the handful of instructors. Once the basics are nailed down, Reisman said the kids have a lot of say in what they can do. If they want to skim up ramps, that can be arranged. If they want to learn how to do tricks such as a shove-it, Reisman say’s he can show them how to pull it off.
For him, there’s nothing quite like the adrenaline that comes with gliding across water while balancing on the wafer thin board. It’s a freeing experience for him, one that clears the mind. It’s a result of the focus required to gain equilibrium on the board, he says.
Most importantly, it’s something he believes everybody has the potential to do. It also doesn’t require an array of equipment, either. All is takes is a board and the right attitude.
“Whidbey is a mecca for a bunch of outdoor recreation: kiteboarding, mountain biking and skimboarding to name a few,” Reisman said. “Skimboarding is perfect for the area, and not that many people are doing it. I’m trying to show kids what they’re missing.”