Who Is The Best Skimboarder In The World?

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The best skimboarders might not have the recognition of Kelly Slater, Mike Stewart, and other kings of the wave, but there is still some top talent in this sport, including all of the following skimboarding legends.

Blair Conklin

  • Where Are They From? Laguna Beach
  • When Were They Born? May 23, 1995
  • What Have They Won? 2016, 2017, 2018 United Skim Tour Champion.
  • Where Can You Find Them? Find him on Instagram and YouTube.

Blair Conklin grew up in Laguna Beach, the home of skimboarding. He began skimboarding when he was just 4 years old and by the time he turned 15, he was competing at a professional level.

Despite committing to the sport very early, Conklin didn’t jeopardize his studies and later got into UC Berkeley, where he studied environmental science. Conklin regularly posts on Instagram and YouTube (under the popular channel “SkidKids”) and is one of the most prolific skimmers in the world, winning three consecutive championships between 2016 and 2018.

Sophia Nguyen

  • Where Are They From? Pensacola, Florida
  • When Were They Born? 2003
  • What Have They Won? 2017, 2018, 2019, 2021 United Skim Tour Champion.
  • Where Can You Find Them? Instagram.

Sophia Nguyen is an unstoppable force in the sport of skimboarding. She won four consecutive United Skim Tour titles between 2017 and 2021 (2020 was not staged) and her first victory came when she was just 14 years old.

She says that she just wanted to surf, but as her mother wouldn’t let her, she took up skimboarding instead. This is not the only sport in which she excels, as Nguyen is also a gifted soccer player.

Austin Keen

  • Where Are They From? Raised in Tybee Island, GA; Lives in Dana Point, CA
  • When Were They Born? May 20, 1990
  • What Have They Won? 2013 United Skim Tour Champion. 2016 VIC World Championship of Skimboarding.
  • Who Are Their Sponsors? East Coast Skimboards, Powerbar, Clarion Marine, Obrigado USA
  • Where Can You Find Them? Find him on Instagram and YouTube.

Austin Keen learned how to skim when he was just 11 years old. He was the 2013 UST champion and has also branched out into other action sports, including wakesurfing. Keen won the 2018 and 2019 GoPro Million Dollar Challenge and posts videos of his exploits on Instagram and YouTube.

In addition to his title successes, Keen was the first person to skimboard at Kelly Slater’s surf ranch, a high-tech wave park that is invite-only.

Lucas Fink

  • Where Are They From? Rio, de Janeiro Brazil
  • When Were They Born? August 24, 1998
  • What Have They Won? 2019 United Skim Tour Champion.
  • Who Are Their Sponsors? Red Bull
  • Where Can You Find Them? Instagram.

Lucas Fink became a skimboarding legend when he rode the “biggest ever wave” on a skimboard in late 2021.

The Brazilian rode the wave at the famous Portuguese big wave hot spot of Nazare. The surfer and skimboarder is part of the Red Bull team and won the 2019 UST.

Sam Stinnett

  • Where Are They From? Laguna Beach
  • When Were They Born? 1990
  • What Have They Won? 2019 United Skim Tour Champion. 2014 Annual World Championships of Skimboarding.
  • Where Can You Find Them? Instagram.

Sam Stinnett is a Laguna Beach local who began skimming when he was 6 years old. In 2014, he beat Austin Keen and Blair Conklin to win the Annual World Championships of Skimboarding and half a decade later he was claimed the UST champion.

Ryan McFarland

  • Where Are They From? Jax Beach, Florida
  • Who Are Their Sponsors? Wave Zone Skimboards and Hammer Traction.
  • Where Can You Find Them? Find him onFacebook and Instagram.

Ryan McFarland is a pro skimboarder known as “McGnarland”. He is sponsored by Hammer Traction and Wave Zone Skimboards and has his own signature board with the latter.

Gerardo Valencia

  • Where Are They From? March 23, 1995.
  • When Were They Born? Barra de Navidad,Mexico.
  • What Have They Won? 2021 United Skim Tour Champion.
  • Who Are Their Sponsors? Zap Skimboards, Biznaga, Elev8, Spice Skate, Goviloop, Compound Boardshop.

Gerardo Valencia is a Mexican skimboarder who first tried the sport aged 15. He was a quick learner and was competing at the highest level within a few years.

Zap Skimboards was the first to pick him up back in 2014, but he has since worked with a number of companies and after his 2021 UST win, he’s considered to be one of the most exciting boarders in the sport.

Other Great Skimboarders

Skimboarding has been around for a surprisingly long time and there are a number of events out there, but it’s nowhere near as popular as surfing, snowboarding, and skateboarding. As a result, the crop of top-notch talent is very small, and many pro skimmers struggle to make a living solely from this sport.

Still, as the above list shows, there are some supremely talented skimmers out there and the list is getting bigger all of the time.

In addition to the names mentioned above, the following skimboarders also deserve a mention:

  • Casey Kiernan: The 2014 and 2016 female UST champion.
  • Keiao Bucasas: Won both the 2013 and 2015 UST.
  • Harry Wilson: A pioneer of the sport.
  • Bill Bryan: A multiple-time champion and skimboarding legend.
  • John Weber: A Delaware native who grew up skimming Dewy Beach. Weber claimed the 2021 annual Vic.
  • Sam McCoy: A talented skimmer sponsored by Zap Skimboards.