Skimboard Laguna Beach with Legend Blair Conklin
Blair doing what he does best in Laguna Beach, photographed by Andre Magaro
We first met Blair about two years ago during a photo shoot in San Diego and were blown away by his professionalism. He's one of the most polite, authentic and genuine people we've met in the surf industry and has been on our list of "dream guides" to add to the platform since day one. A Laguna Beach native, Blair has thousands of hours of water-time and knows this stretch of beach better than probably anyone else in the world. He also genuinely cares about sharing his love for the sport and expertise with others, from first-timers to World Champion surfers like Jamie O'Brien. When this whole COVID thing dwindles, Blair is on the top of our list of pros to ride with, and we strongly suggest you move him to the top of yours as well!
To celebrate Blair joining the AIO family, we asked him a few SERIOUSLY IMPORTANT questions to get his take on all things Skimboarding.
Adventure IO: How long have you taught skimboarding and what’s the most common mistake people make when learning to skim?
Blair Conklin: I have been teaching skimboarding for about 8 years now. I started teaching at a camp called Solag Skim School when I was 15. When my skimboarding hero Paulo Prietto asked me to help out with his camp it was a no brainer. Not only is he a fantastic skimboarder but he is also very good at helping any level of skimboarder improve. I have learned a lot about how to teach skimboarding because of Paulo. The most difficult thing to learn is how to run, drop, and slide out to a wave. In order to do that it takes perfect timing. That is what I am here for! I love helping people with learning how to time a wave perfectly. Timing is the easiest thing for beginners to mess up and often leads to some serious wipeouts.
AIO: What’s the greatest Adventure you’ve been able to take as a professional skimboarder?
BC: My favorite place I have traveled for skimboarding is Brazil. There is a very special wave there that gets me more excited to skimboard than anywhere else in the world. The wave is called Sununga and it is similar to "The Wedge" in Newport Beach but it breaks in the opposite direction. It is a regular footer's dream skimboarding wave.
AIO: What is it about Laguna Beach in California that makes it so perfect for skimboarding?
BC: Laguna Beach is a mecca for skimboarding because of the unique slopes of our beaches and bathymetry off the coast. What I have found with many of the world's best or most consistent skimboarding waves is that they all have really steep drop-offs from the shoreline. As skimboarders, we're looking for waves that are breaking very close to the sand with a similar shape to what you look for in any good surfing wave. The best shorebreak that I have experienced in my lifetime is a product of steep-sloped beaches where the drop off beyond the shoreline continues into deeper waters.
AIO: What’s it like pulling into a barrel that ends on a dry sandy beach? Doesn’t it hurt getting swallowed by shorebreak waves every session?
BC: It's the best. There is nothing more satisfying to me than ending a good ride by sliding back up on the sand. I think skimboarding is pretty similar to skateboarding or snowboarding when it comes to falling. You will quickly learn how to fall in the shorebreak and how to avoid hitting the sand.
AIO: Who is the most interesting/notable person you’ve taken skimboarding?
BC: Jamie O'Brien was probably the most notable person I have taken skimboarding. It was really fun to watch one of the most prestigious Hawaiian surfers of our time ride a skimboard at the Wedge. He was surprisingly good considering how much time he had spent on a skimboard. I think anyone should be very happy if they pick up a skimboard and can do half as good as Jamie did.
AIO: Tells us about the skid kids? Who’s in, how long has it been going on, and how do you get so many video views!?
BC: Skid Kids has been a really fun project that I have been working on for just a little over a year now. Jamie O'Brien and Beefs TV inspired me to start my own YouTube channel based on how well their's were growing. I have found it to be a great way to put our sport on the map and expose it to people who would have never seen it before. I originally named it Skid Kids because I wanted it to include everyone in our small little skimboarding family. I find it really fun to highlight the many talents in our sport.
Where’s the first place you’ll fly to when it’s safe to travel the world again?
Hopefully Brazil, Mainland Mexico, or Nicaragua. Any of those places sound like a dream right now. Warm water, limited crowds, and plenty of skimboarding and Surfing waves.
Be sure to give Blair a follow in Insta and also subscribe to the Skid Kids youtube channel for endless amounts of entertainment from the worlds best skimboarders. And when you're ready to get back out there, book your summer session with Blair using Adventure IO.
More of Our Favorite Videos from Blair and the Skid Kids