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Monday, October 27, 2008

Interview - Victoria Skimboards

Victoria Skimboards is one of the world’s premier skimboard companies. Inland skimboarding wanted to do an interview and find out a little more about the company and what is available to inland skimboarders. Trigg Garner, General Manager of Victoria Skimboards, was generous enough to help us out.

Inland Skimboarding: How did the name of the company originate?
Victoria Skimboards: Tex Haines’ family would vacation at a house on Victoria Beach which is where he began his skimboarding career. Through the years he went on to do many different things and eventually made it back to Laguna Beach and made skimboards for all of his friends. After a while, he and Peter Prietto started Victoria Skimboards in 1976 but the company got its name from the beach Tex basically grew up on.
Inland Skimboarding: Where is Victoria Skimboards located?
Victoria Skimboards: Victoria Skimboards has its offices/repair facility/retail outlet in Laguna Beach, California.
Inland Skimboarding: How have you seen the skimboard market change over the years you have been in business?
Victoria Skimboards: The board market has gone through many different changes over the years. A first there were wood core boards used for riding the shoreline and then as riders got more daring and moved into the water, the technology began to change. Wood core lead the way to foam core and vacuum bag technology which allowed people to get out farther in the water and do more technical maneuvers. The next advancement was the introduction of Carbon Fiberglass. Now boards were stiffer and lighter than ever. From there we have seen changes in resins, shape, foam, etc. all leading to the technical, highly advanced boards we have today.
Inland Skimboarding: How long have you been making skimboards?
Victoria Skimboards: Since before 1976
Inland Skimboarding: What is the difference between skimboards used for wave riding and skimboards for inland use?
Victoria Skimboards: It can be anything from the shape, to the core, to the materials, to all of the above. It depends on a rider and what they desire ultimately but as a standard, there is a certain “wave riding” shape/rocker that has proved itself over the years that is different from the shape/rocker used on inland boards.
Inland Skimboarding: A lot of inland skimboarders start off on boards that they have made themselves. What are the advantages of moving to a professionally manufactured board?
Victoria Skimboards: When you get a professionally manufactured board you are getting a board that has been through the R&D, made the mistakes that a “garage” shaper will make and fixed them, and refined the end result to be a better performing board all around. Of course there are exceptions but this tends to be the norm.
Inland Skimboarding: What makes a good inland skimboard?
Victoria Skimboards: It is a combination of board and rider. Then it really comes down to personal preference. Some people prefer light weight, others prefer a board that is heavier. Some like flex to their board, others like a stiff board. Either way, there really is no right or wrong, just what works best for the individual. But again, it is a combination of rider/board.
Inland Skimboarding: Tell us about your inland skimboards.
Victoria Skimboards: At this time we have two models; Grinder and Matrix. The Grinder is more of an entry level Flatland board. The wood core makes the board durable and the three stage rocker makes it perfect for the rails. The Matrix is a more advanced Flatland board geared for tricks.
Inland Skimboarding: Why should I buy a Victoria skimboard?
Victoria Skimboards: It boils down to experience and the work we put into our product. We have been building boards of all kinds for over 30 years. We have made the advances and the mistakes and learned from it all. We have experience built into each board. We also pride ourselves on the quality of our product and its ability to hold up over time. Tested by our team riders and under constant R&D, we work to make the boards the best performing boards around. From our product to our people we love skimboarding and it shows in our work.
Inland Skimboarding: What makes your inland skimboards unique?
Victoria Skimboards: There is so much cross over between manufactures product that it is sometimes hard to distinguish between boards unless you get down to price. With our boards, we take time to work on the rocker of the board more than other manufactures and I feel that this will help set our boards apart.
Inland Skimboarding: What kind of testing/quality control do your boards go through?
Victoria Skimboards: We have a few things that we do to test our boards. Anywhere from the R&D room to the outdoors, the boards are worked over again and again before hitting the market.
Inland Skimboarding: Rails have become an integral part of inland skimboarding. Boards take quite a bit of abuse as a result. Talk a little bit about the challenge that presents when designing and building inland skimboards.
Victoria Skimboards: Rails have created a whole new animal in this discipline of skimboarding. When someone buys a skateboard, they are not as concerned with hitting the rails and scratching their board and ultimately breaking their board because the deck only cost $30 - $40. With a skimboard, the materials and process to make that board able to handle the water, the rails, and time are much greater and more costly. So the questions for us then become; how do we make a board that can handle riding the rail, hitting the rail, grinding the rail, running over gravel like sand, cruising over rocks, etc.? If I told you the answers that would be giving away all of my secrets.
Inland Skimboarding: When you get feedback from inland riders, what positive things do you hear most often?
Victoria Skimboards: They are the coolest things ever! Here are some of the quotes we have had:
“ Hands down, the Matrix is the most advance, progression pushing board on the market. “
“The rocker of your boards is perfect and holds its shape over time whereas other manufactures rocker will change.”
“ The boards are wicked fast.”
“ The boards slide the rails for you.”
Inland Skimboarding: Where do you see the sport of skimboarding 10 years from now?
Victoria Skimboards: That is a really tough question to answer because after 30+ years in the business, Skimboarding is still not as big as skateboarding or surfing. Yes, Flatland has more potential for growth due to its accessibility but we must make sure to not limit ourselves. Take for instance, the Grinch or the Bungee systems. Many Flatland “purists” seem to downplay the part that this could play in the forward movement of the sport but look at Wakeskating and its development. I am not saying this “will be the future” but it will be part of the future and we all need to keep our minds open to angles that could help the sport grow and not stifle that growth.I would like to say X-Games, a professional global tour, big money and sponsors, and all of us “living la vida loca” but all of that will take a community coordinated effort. I just want us all to build the discipline and make sure that it is not an overnight fad. It will take work and Victoria Skimboards is ready to put in the effort to help move it forward.
Inland Skimboarding: Do you see anything new on the horizon technology wise that will improve the next generation of inland skimboards?
Victoria Skimboards: It seems that people are taking a heavy look at snowboard technology and plastics which could make some changes. There are things that we are working on but again, it cannot be shared at this time.
Inland Skimboarding: Inland skimboarders often get called names, talked down to, and shown little respect from some wave skimboarders. Inland skimboarders are often told what they are doing is not “real” skimboarding. What is your view of the inland skimboarding scene?
Victoria Skimboards: For me personally, I break Skimboarding the sport into three disciplines all with equal importance; Ocean, Flatland, and Wake. An Ocean rider has certain skills that make him/her good at what he/she does and the same stands for a Flatland rider. Flatland has really only recently made a strong push to be in the limelight and I have heard people say that “Flatland is not real.” My question to them is why do you say that? What are your reasons? Normally I do not get an answer so I must speculate that they are saying this because to them the discipline is “new” (actually not new) and they do not understand it. They do not understand the lifestyle, the skill, the dedication, etc. that goes into it. People are so brainwashed into a certain discipline that they are not willing to open themselves to the other disciplines; ignorance in full effect.
Inland Skimboarding: As a board manufacturer, is there anything you can do, or are doing, to increase the respect for inland skimboarding?
Victoria Skimboards: It really is not about us and what we can do as we are doing a part (advertising, building boards, sponsoring riders, pushing the knowledge base) but it is about getting the industry collectively together and working toward a common goal. It may sound “cheesy” but it is the truth. Without “unity” we will only take small steps forward instead of larger leaps.
Inland Skimboarding: What inland skimboarding events have you been involved with? Tell us about your experiences at those events.
Victoria Skimboards: Since beginning in the 1990’s we have been involved in the Sacramento contest. During that time we have seen quite a bit of change in the riding styles and the “playground” that has been the stage for the event. The rails have gotten more impressive and to be honest, the level of courage to ride some of the rails is what is most astounding. Amazing is a word that sums it up nicely.
Inland Skimboarding: Do you have any sponsored inland skimboarders? What does it take for an inland skimboarder to get sponsored by Victoria?
Victoria Skimboards: we have four sponsored riders at this time but are always keeping our eyes and ears open. Without having an established contest circuit with recorded results to build a resume, the best thing to do is to send us a “Sponsor Me” packet. In that packet would be (but not limited to):
1) All contact information so we can reach you
2) A professional presentation
a. If you can present yourself well that is a start
3) Information on your local spots and where you ride the most
4) Contest results (if you have them)
5) The number of years you have been riding and why you are interested in the sport
6) Video, video, video footage
a. The footage needs to not all be from one day and one session – spread the wealth
b. Progression
The idea to the above is – what sets you apart from the other riders? This should be told on paper, in photo, and in video.

Inland skimboarding would like to thank Victoria Skimboards for an awesome interview. To find out more about Victoria Skimboards, visit their website at

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