Stab locates the freakish skimmer!
Floridian Brad Domke has called his sport 'skurfing' since he was 13. During a recent internet trawl, Stab was wow'd by footage of the 23-year-old hucking bigspins, shuvs and riding legitimately large waves on a regular skimboard. There's no mods here – the skim Brad surfs on is the same one he runs onto during skim contests. So, how does your skurfing get to a point where planing down an eight-foot Mexican right is no biggie? Stab tracked Brad down for some answers.
This ain't a regular sport that kids get into, huh? Well, I started skimboarding when I was 12. We moved from Bradenton, Florida to Anna Maria. I didn't have anything else to do cause the Gulf Coast of Florida sucks for waves. I was really intrigued by skimming 'cause you kinda interpret skating and surfing into one. I'd never have thought I'd turn away from surfing to start skimming, but it happened. When I ended up coming over to the east side, I kept getting barrelled on a surfboard and I was like, I'll just go out there and do it on my skim. So I'd paddle out on my skim. It's very difficult, but when you catch a wave and you're finless, it's such an organic feeling. You can get so much speed off such a little wave. There's so many options to do on the wave when it's tiny.
Watching you plane down a Mexican avalanche is really something. (Laughs) The waves were firing and there were guys doing step-offs. I was like, I can do that, I'll just go out there and paddle in on my skim. My buddy was saying I was crazy and that the guys out there were gonna just laugh at me. I got out there and seriously waited two and a half hours. Brian Conley was out there on the ski, I didn't really know him, but he comes up and he's like, what are you on? I told him I was on the skimboard and was like, let's do some step-offs? He was looking at me all strange like yeah, OK. I paddled into one and they saw it and were all stoked, so they just went, OK, let's se what you can do. It was nerve-racking, I'd never done it before. So next thing you know I'd jumped off on a wave, I got a good one, I got a barrel. I was like, oh my gosh, it's functional surfing without fins, y'know? And the skimboard I had wasn't even modified. Riding those waves with no fins, it's such a different feeling. They were offering me to do step-offs with my surfboard on the bigger ones but honestly, I just wanted to stay on my skim. I was like, you guys can't plane down the wave, then pull into the barrel, then try a skate trick! Let's do this!
The balance requires some interesting limb movements. It can't be an easy thing to do? When you're drawing the line, you really have to pinpoint the spot on the wave before you even get to it. On a big wave, you're going so fast down it, you gotta be used to the feeling of going fast without fins. Holding my line and my rail, I remember it felt like the most muscles I've ever used, my entire body, just for surfing. I had to make sure I was fully stable. If I fell, it was a nightmare. My board was white so if I lost it, 'cause I had no leash… it was just an ordeal.
Is this a profession? I treat it like a career. I take it very seriously and try to practise as much as possible. At the moment I'm not making very much money. I've been making my money through skimboard contests and my skimboard sponsor. It's not very much coming in right now but I'm just doing what I do. I'm paying for my own trips and keeping it going. I've been looking online and I've seen people going 'Oh, but why doesn't he just surf," and this and that. I'm just having fun, doing what I love. It's not that complicated. I'm not trying to prove anything, I'm just doing my thing. – Elliot Struck