With just a few inches of water and a hand-made board, students can skim hot summer nights away at the modest cost of getting some sand in between their toes.
Night skimming, or skimboarding at night, entails running along a shore, throwing a small board onto the water, jumping on said board, and skimming along the shoreline. Advanced skimmers may also do various tricks off jumps, ramps or rails placed in the water.
As night skimming grows in popularity, more and more moonlighting students can be found splashing along shallow riverbanks with moonlight, glow sticks or tiki torches lighting their way. Skimming has become so popular, in fact, that Dixie State College is actually home to a skimboarding club.
Club president Addison Foote, a senior computer information technology major from St. George, said over the past few years skimboarding club members have increased from just a few to about 35 or 40.
“It’s grown tremendously since I first started,” Foote said.
Both Kelton Harward, a junior general education major from St. George, and Oliver Hauver, a freshman general education major from Overton, Nev., said they first tried skimboarding with their friends, and they’ve loved it ever since. Lately, they said they’ve both been going every week.
Foote said: “It’s just fun being down there with your friends and progressing at it. Starting out you’re obviously not way good at it, but you get better and better, and it excites you and motivates you to want to learn to get better at it and learn new tricks.”
While skimboarding during the day can be fun, students have their reasons to go to the river after dark.
Harward said he goes skimming at night because after dark is usually the only time all of his friends can attend due to work and school.
“That’s really the only time everyone can get together,” Harward said.
In addition, Harward said night skimming is fun, yet a little “sketchy” because, as darkness falls, it becomes more difficult to actually see the board.
“It presents a new challenge and a new way to ride,” Harward said.
Skimming at night also prompted students to start bringing glow sticks or tiki torches to stick in the sand along the shore to create a runway.
The glowing runway prevents skimmers from hitting sandbars as they skim along on their boards. Going during a full moon also helps visibility. A combination of moonlight, torchlight and glows sticks creates a fun visual and party-like atmosphere.
“(Skimboarding is) a great activity to do with your friends at night,” Foote said. “It’s much cooler, and it’s just fun to be under the stars.”
The technique to skimboarding is similar to other types of boarding.
“The way you ride is the same as skateboarding, snowboarding or wakeboarding,” Harward said. “It’s all the same concept. I think when people first start, the trick is to get the transition from throwing the board and running and getting on.”
Hauver said to act as you would if you were to slide on hardwood with socks.
While Hauver and Harwood have only been skimboarding for a few months, they both can skim all the way down the shore. It doesn’t take too long for new skimmers to learn.
“I think my favorite part is when you get that really nice run and you just ride forever,” Harward said.
Both Harward and Foote said the best and most popular location for skimboarding is known as The Waterfall.
The Waterfall is located down Riverside Drive at a section in the Virgin River found in a subdivision called Riviera Palms. Harward, Hauver and Foote all said they mostly go to The Waterfall because it’s consistently shallow.
Foote said good skimboarding locations can be found in Santa Clara by the Jacob Hamblin Home, at a little creek just off Dixie Drive, or at various other places along the Virgin River.