Skimming to Success

Skimboarding is a watersport akin to surfing that uses a smaller board without fins. Riders start on the sand before gliding along shallow waters to reach the incoming waves. Porto de Mós resident, Miguel Braz, is the Portuguese national skimboard champion. He talks to David Lugg about how his love affair with the sport began and his need for more sponsorship to be able to compete on the World Tour. 

In a country that is world-famous for surfing, what made you choose skimboarding? 

Since I was a small kid, I used to go to a beach called Castelejo in Vila do Bispo to skimboard in the wet sand whilst my dad was fishing. After a couple years, I heard about wave skimboarding from a friend of mine called Alexandre Ferro, who made me buy a skimboard at the same time as him. Since then, I have never stopped skimming. 

After that, my big mentors were João Amaro and André Losna who taught me a lot about wave skimboarding. The difference in this sport is, whilst surfers get one wave, a skimboarder can get five. As there are no fins, you have a lot of freedom. 

Is it a difficult sport to learn? 

Like most of the extreme sports, it has its difficulties but it’s nothing from another world. 

What are the ideal conditions for skimboarding? 

The ideal conditions are a good shore break with a lot of steep sand so we can get enough speed to get the waves. 

Photo © João Cabrita

Where is your favourite place to skimboard in the Algarve? 

My favourite spot in the Algarve is Praia dos Caneiros in Ferragudo. It has a lot of steep sand and really powerful waves – sometimes big waves too. Another spot is in my hometown, Praia do Porto de Mós, which gets good waves in the winter time. 

Outside of Portugal, where do you like to skimboard? 

I think one of my favourite spots to skim outside of Portugal is 10th Street Beach in Laguna Beach, California.

You were European Champion in 2018 and National champion in 2019, but the pandemic brought an end to the championships for two years. That must have been incredibly frustrating? 

Not frustrating – maybe a bit sad. But that didn’t make me stop. I think it was actually a good year to think about the next goals and fight for the dreams we have. 

Skimboarding is a global sport so you must lead an expensive lifestyle? 

Yes, I would say so. To compete on the World Tour is really expensive and since skimboarding is not a big sport like surfing, there are not so many brands helping the skimboard athletes. I hope that can change in the future as this is a growing sport and really beautiful to watch.

Do you receive much financial assistance? 

If I want to compete on the European and Portuguese Championships, then yes. But if I want to go on the World Tour then it would be impossible. I would need to pay to travel around the world. 

My sponsors, Jahshaka and Quiksilver Lagos, Nox Club and Sal e Companhia, Let’s Party Traction and Dogflut 

Skimboards are helping a lot with financial assistance at the moment.

After a two-year absence, the skimboard championships are starting again. Where can we see you in action in 2022?

In the past month, I participated in the European Championships, where I finished in 2nd place to become the 2022 Vice-European Champion of skimboarding. Next, we have one of the stops of the World Championships in Cadiz, Spain, on the 10th and 11th of September. Also, in November, we have the Portuguese Championships in São Pedro do Estoril, near Lisbon. 

If anyone is inspired to give skimboarding a go, where in the Algarve can they take lessons?

Actually, I have been a skimboard instructor for quite some time now. Everyone is welcome to contact me if they want to try this amazing sport. I teach in the Lagos area. 

WhatApp +351 913 482 516 

Instagram @Zarb_leugim

Main image © Matt Ryall


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