Desert beach scene, 2014 Virgin River Skimboard Classic; STGnews Photo Gallery

Participant of the 2014 Virgin River Skimboard Classic, located at the Waterfall, St. George, Utah, July 12, 2014 | Photo by Dave Amodt, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Saturday morning 27 young people competed in the 2014 Virgin River Skimboard Classic, which took place at The Waterfall, located at 2700 E. Waterfront Drive, and served as the 18th annual skimboarding competition organized by the City of St. George.

Beginning at 10 a.m. competitors aged 18 and younger slid their boards along the cool surface of the Virgin River to show their skills and perform tricks on different features such as the rail slide, ramp and flat box, designed for flatland skimboarders to ride upon.

Dawn Mead skims the surface at the 2014 Virgin River Skimboard Classic, located at the Waterfall, St. George, Utah, July 12, 2014 | Photo by Dave Amodt, St. George News

Competitor Dusty Maurer, 10, has been skimming since he was 3-years-old. He has followed in his older brother’s skimboard trail – who was competing at a different skimboard competition in Washington state.

“The best thing about skimming is you can hit jumps and when you try to land and you fall it’s still fun,” Maurer said. “Jumps are my favorite.”

Skimboarding was just a natural fit for Derek Millward who has been skimming for two years. He said he just came down to the river one day and there were a bunch of people skimming so he decided to give it a shot.

“I’m just out here a lot pushing the sport,” Millward said.

The trick features are a new facet to the face of this competition, said Mike Gardner, who has been involved as a judge since the inception of the competition in 1996. His family moved to the St. George area in 1988 from Sacramento where ocean skimming is a major sport.

“Ocean skimming is kind of a hybrid between surfing and skimming,” Gardner said. “You actually skim out into the ocean and then ride the waves in.”

Participant of the 2014 Virgin River Skimboard Classic, located at the Waterfall, St. George, Utah, July 12, 2014 | Photo by Dave Amodt, St. George News

Some of the most challenging techniques of skimboarding are learning the balance and coordination, Gardner said, because you set the board down in the water and then you have to run and jump on it. Unlike skateboarding or snowboarding, where gravity helps pull you along, skimboarding is human-propelled.

“I tried to skateboard and I can kind of skate but I can skim a lot better,” competitor Jackson Gentry said. “Me and all my friends come down just about everyday to come skim.”

People who have never skimmed should go down to the river and give it a try. It’s a family-oriented sport that continues to grow in popularity; a desert beach scene that allows youth the opportunity to work towards a goal.

“As long as the tamarisk don’t overrun the river and the water level stays healthy,” Gardner said, “we’ll continue this competition.”

St. George News Reporter Aspen Stoddard contributed to this report.

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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2014, all rights reserved.

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