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Don't Skimp on Safety and Get Injured Skimboarding

Skimboarding is a recreational activity that is enjoyed at the beach or other areas of low- standing water. The skimboarder runs along with a thin board, drops the board parallel to the ground, and jumps on to hydroplane forward, and can reach speeds of 10–15 mph,1 skimming over 1–2 inches of water or off the beach into an oncoming wave.

Beginners should consider taking lessons to acquire basic fundamental skills and knowledge of the skimboarding “rules of the road.” Since the rider is speeding along over packed, wet sand, a fall from the board may result in significant sprains or fractures. Published research studies demonstrate that the most common sites of injury are the ankle or wrist.2 There are two common mechanisms of injury that occur as a rider falls off the board. The first is rotation on a stationary lower body part. This can result in ankle sprains, or in some cases, fractures. However, lower leg and knee injuries are also possible. The second is falling on an outstretched hand. A fracture of the wrist is the most frequent injury. However, elbow, forearm, and shoulder injuries have also been reported.2,3 Like most recreational or sport activities there is a risk of injury associated with skimboarding and new and experienced skimboarders should be aware of the particular types of injuries that most often occur. Beginners should consider taking lessons in order to acquire basic fundamental skills and knowledge of the skimboarding “rules of the road,” including: • Finding an optimal spot that isn’t overcrowded when first trying to learn in order to avoid collisions with other riders • Learning from an experienced skimboarder who can help you choose the right waves to ride • Being aware of sunglare off the water and wearing sunglasses to protect eyes • Making sure you are using the proper type of board • Wearing protective equipment as you learn in order to prevent injuries With proper training and attention to safety, skimboarding is an activity that can be enjoyed by beachgoers both young and old with a wide range of skill levels.

References 1. Tuck EO, Dixon A. Surf-skimmer planning hydromechanics.J Fluid Mech. 1989.205:581-592. 2. Sciaretta KH, McKenna MJ, Riccio AI. Orthopaedic injuries associated with skimboarding. Am J Sports Med. 2009.37:1425-28. 3. Merriman D, Carmichael K, Battle SC. Skimboard injuries. J Trauma. 2008.65:487-490.

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