Local pioneer of flatland skimboarding continues to share his passion with the community
by Natalie Bruckner
As people gathered on Centennial Beach in the late 90s and watched in awe as teenager John Minns slid along a handmade rail on what appeared to be little more than a wooden disk, little did they realize they were witnessing the evolution of the sport of skimboarding into something called flatland
Almost 20 years later and flatland skimboarding’s popularity has exploded, in part because unlike its sister sports wave skimboarding and surfing, as long as there is a body of water, you can flatland skimboard anywhere. No surf, no problem!
“It combines the bindingless tricks of skateboarding with the smooth flowing spins you can do snowboarding, with a splash of beach vibes,” explains Minns, founder of Kayotics Skimboards and Kayotics Skimboarding Camps.
Minns, a Boundary Bay local, is one of the world’s top riders and recognized globally as one of the pioneers of flatland skimboarding.
“When I was in grade 11 my mum bought me my first skimboard; I became obsessed,” says Minns. He realized, however, that to advance he needed something more tailored to his needs; something that would allow him to perform bigger and better tricks. With the help of a family friend who was a carpenter, Minns made his very first flatland skimboard. He wanted to share his passion with the world, but at that time flatland skimboarding was still in its infancy.
“A lot of my friends were getting sponsored for skateboarding and snowboarding, and I wondered if I could get sponsored, or at least recognized for my sport.” This was a time before social media and YouTube, but Minns had a vision, so he took his passion for filming and photography and started making his own videos and sending them to companies.
“No skimboard companies got back to me, so I decided to do my own thing,” says Minns. “I created a logo, began making branded t-shirts in the kitchen with my mum, and started sponsoring like-minded people.”
Little did Minns know he had caught the attention of some local stores and their customers. “Suddenly stores started calling me. I wasn’t even ready for retail, but kids wanted the boards,” says Minns.
Almost 20 years later and Kayotics Skimboards distributes worldwide, and has a huge fanbase in Japan, Europe, and the Philippines. “The sport is growing in landlocked places because all you need is a body of water.” Just last year Minns taught a Kayotics skimboarding camp in Candle Lake,
Every year, Minns and his team of fellow instructors, hold four camps each in Centennial Park, White Rock and Spanish Banks during low tide. The week-long camps run for three hours a day and teach all skill levels, from never-evers to more advanced riders, as well as private lessons for all ages.
Looking back, Minns says it’s the impact that flatland skimboarding has on people that is the most rewarding aspect about what he does. “I remember being in Vancouver when this six-foot guy came upto me, and said, ‘Hey, it’s me Ian, you taught me when I was 12.’ To know that I made a lasting
impression on a kid, getting them out there, is a very special thing.”
For information visit: http://www.skimboardingcamps.com/
No two skimboarding (disciplines) are the same.
Practiced on non-coastal waters, such as a river, lake, stream or puddle. The rider jumps on a board and
skims across the water or performs tricks on rails and obstacles.
The rider glides across the water’s surface to meet an incoming breaking wave, and rides it back to
Riders use artificial waves to perform basic to sophisticated turns and tricks within a relatively small
The rider uses a skimboard and trails behind a boat, riding the boat’s wake without being directly pulled
by the boat.
BEST PLACES TO FLATLAND SKIMBOARD IN DELTA
White Rock Beach
Boundary Bay Regional Park