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Living above West Street Beach in Laguna Beach – the fabled beach where skimboarding first began – has its advantages. I can take a break from work just about any time of the day, just about any day, and watch skimboarders of all ages and abilities make our “Mini Wedge” look easy.

Well … some of them make it look easy. Skimboarding is one of the most grinding, challenging water sports out there. It takes a lot more strategy and tactic than what meets the eye, and I finally came across a great DVD that walks you down the skimboarding path, from grom to pro – it’s Paulo Prietto’s Sessions DVD.

Check out this YouTube link for a sampler.

As I’ve been taking photos of skimboarders for years now, I’ve gotten to know the personalities and generational family lines of these kids who’ve been raised from tykehood as skimboarders. Paulo Prietto is one such “descendent,” and he continues to rock the pro circuit, travels the world, and has his own skimboard school, Solag Skim School. (And he’s one of the nicest guys you’ll meet in your life.)

Raised primarily in Laguna Beach, Paulo Prietto knows how to teach skimboarding, and it’s never been better than the Sessions DVD he released with EOS a few months ago.

Given that these skimboard guys are always trying to help me along on the best angles and shots for photos, EOS’s Paul Barker sent me the DVD for my own review. For anyone at any level of skimboarding, this DVD is the best I’ve seen (and, believe me, I’ve watched a lot of skimboarding videos and DVDs these last few years just trying to get a basic understanding of what I’m shooting out there).

The DVD starts with the basics (“THIS is a skimboard.”) to getting on the thing … getting on the thing when it’s moving (water drops) … and learning all the backsides, frontsides, liners, sex changes and “shuv-its” for big water and flatland alike. Each move (more than 20 chapters) is talked through, walked through, shown multiple times in examples, and then concluded with added tips and bulleted points.

Paulo is the primary teacher, but his pro skimboard buddies step in for different chapters in the DVD, including Isaac Thomas on Flatland skimming, and a droll, comedic series of skimboard repairs by Steve Taylor.

There are plenty of bonus sessions – Mo Just tries his hand at bungee skimming; Woody Harris has a bonus section all to himself; and Sam Stinnett, Austin Keen, Dave Armstrong, Jake Stinnett, Blair Conklin and Brandon Rothe are just a few of the pros participating in West Beach bonus chapters and one monster Newport Beach “Wedge” event (holy crap!).

The famed Vic Skim World Championship at Aliso Beach happens in just a month, so now’s the time to brush up on your skill set (or, if you’re like me, sit back and watch some amazing skimboarding in action). Check out www.SessionsDVD.com

© Diane Armitage, www.LagunaBeachBest.com

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