Professional skimboarder Bill Baxter of Bethany Surf Shop will begin a new weekly skimboarding series on July 22, airing on local access television channels. It will be seen every Friday evening at 7:30 p.m.
Baxter started his professional career at the Delaware shore, entering and winning the East Coast Skimboarding Championships in Dewey Beach as an amateur. He grew up surfing in Florida and was introduced to the burgeoning skimboarding sport by his friends at 20.
“When we got older, my friends started skimboarding and encouraged me to try because I was a pretty good surfer,” said Baxter. “It’s kind of cool to see what’s possible on a skimboard — especially when you can apply surfing and skateboarding maneuvers to skimboarding.”
“Skimboarding has become really big around here,” Baxter said. “We don’t have great waves around here, so skimboarding is ideal for kids around here because of the great shorebreak.”
Having skimboarded for about 10 years now and produced a handful of skimboarding movies already, a skimboarding cable series seemed like the next step for Baxter.
He has already produced “Short Swords” and “Mug Shots,” and coming in early August is “Children from the Corn.”
“I was contacted by (Comcast cable television producer) Bill Salmon to do a local skimboarding series,” explained Baxter. “I already had experience producing DVD’s and skimboarding movies,” he added.
The half-hour weekly series will showcase Baxter and other professionals’ skimboarding prowess at sponsored demonstrations from locations around the world, including Mexico, Japan, Europe, California, Florida and Delaware.
The demos seem to be a driving force behind the popularity of skimboarding — especially abroad, said Baxter.
“Everybody was stoked. Some of these people have never seen skimboarding before and others were stoked to see someone else doing the same thing that they are doing, just in another part of the world,” said Baxter of the reaction to the films.
“It’s exciting for the fans to watch because they are so close to the action,” said Baxter. “It’s not like surfing, where there is a lot of distance between spectator and competitor and you need binoculars to watch. We’re so close that people can watch and be a part of the competition from the beach.”
Baxter is currently sponsored by Zap skimboards, Astrodeck, DC shoes, Bethany Surf Shop and Dlax Star Productions. He also will have his own signature skimboard available in surf shops internationally in the near future.
In addition to the skimboarding footage at assorted sponsor demos, the series will also include an interview section about the athletes’ travels and trick tips for kids.
Baxter currently offers private lessons and offers demonstrations weekly in Bethany Beach. His next demonstration will be held on July 24 at 6 p.m.
Baxter said he hoped that this series might give local kids a new opportunity and show them that there is a big world out there to explore.
“Hoepfully, this series will open the sport up to those who haven’t seen it before and give them something to aim for,” said Baxter.