World-class skimming

Skim city.

Skim city.

The 14th annual Skimfest takes place this Saturday, September 11, in River Park’s Paradise Beach, 5415 Sandburg Drive. Registration begins at 9 a.m., skimming begins at noon and fees range from $5-$25; the event is free to the public.

When I thought of skimboarding, first I thought of the ocean, and that the sport would be a genius way for parents to keep kids out of their hair while relaxing on the beach. It’s safe. It takes place in shallow water.

And then I sat down with Skimfest creator Lon Porteous. Although it’s under the radar even in the world of extreme sports, skimboarding has become one of the coolest ways to catch big air, break bones and mortally wound yourself. And you don’t even need to go to the ocean.

So much for the little kids.

Anyway, for the last 14 years, skimmers have been running Sacramento’s river fronts, fine-tuning skills in a sport whose popularity has now spread across the globe.

“[Sacramento’s] the mecca of flatland inland skimboarding,” explained Porteous, who threw the first Skimfest 14 years ago. “Now we have people come from as far as Australia, Germany and New Zealand, because this is the event to prove their skills.”

On online skimboarding chat rooms, the talk year-round is about Sacramento’s famed skim team and the now-legendary Skimfest event. “We never thought, 14 years ago, about this becoming the spectacle it is today,” said Porteous, who most consider the “Godfather of Extreme Skimboarding.”

And so, this Saturday at Paradise Beach in River Park, the best of the best will be doing big spins and varial flips galore. With sponsors AOK Clothing, Kayotics and J-Gordon in tow, Sacramento’s claim to extreme-sports fame is open to the entire public and promises action you’ve never seen (unless you’ve looked up “Sacramento Skimfest” on YouTube, which I highly recommend).

“We started this, and now it’s worldwide,” Porteous said. “And people say there’s nothing going on here.”