Killian Davis was born to be on a board.
“Before he could even stand, I was putting him on a skateboard or surfboard,” Jay Davis said about his son.
His mom Meghan Davis said by the time the Beacon eighth-grader was 3 years old, she was taking photos of him skateboarding on his own. As the years passed, Killian began to progress to a level that started grabbing his parents’ attention a bit more.
“He started getting good when he was 9 because he had been doing it for a while. Good at skateboarding because we went to the skate park a lot; good at skimboarding [because] he was always going to skim camp; and he probably started surfing a couple of years ago, and it’s been a steady progression,” Jay said.
Meghan said his muscles have really started to develop over the years, something she would notice in the hundreds of photos she’s taken of her son during competitions. Mom has also noticed how her son handles himself while perfecting his craft.
“He doesn’t give up. Even if he doesn’t get it quite right the first time, he’ll just keep going and going. You’ll see the same trick 20 times in a row,” Meghan said.
Killian is noticeably dedicated to his craft and reads the sets to determine if he should grab his surfboard or continue skimming. No matter the type of board, he appears comfortable and in command.
“My grandma’s best friend got me a skimboard and signed me up for Alley-Oop, and it just evolved. I fell in love with it,” Killian said.
Although his riding may seem effortless, it is the result of hours and hours of practice, focus and resiliency.
“I feel like if you just skim by yourself enough, and put all of your focus into skimboarding, good things could definitely come out of it,” Killian said.
During the 2023 summer, Killian’s hard work led him to competitions across the country and even into international tournaments. Locally, in the Alley-Oop Skim Jam held Sept. 1 in Dewey, Killian placed second. His close friend Tristan Barnes took home first.
“Around the age of 9, Killian started hanging out with the Barnes kids – they’re really good swimmers, surfers and skaters – and they packed up and feed off each other's energy out here every day,” Jay said.
Meghan said they all support one another as well, especially at other Dewey events like the Zap Pro/Am World Championships of Skimboarding. Killian bested his friend Liam Barnes during the heats, but both were good enough to qualify for the final. Killian took third, while Liam placed second.
“Even though we’re going against our friends, the support is still there and we hope everyone makes it through the heats,” Meghan said.
Beyond the boundaries of Delaware, Killian competed in the Jackalope Festival in Virginia Beach, Aliso Beach’s Vic West in California, and, most recently, Skim Bash in Sea Bright, N.J.
Killian secured a second-place finish at Skim Bash Sept. 9. Earlier in the year, he placed third at Vic West, a tournament sponsored by Victoria Skimboards. He enjoys the jet-set lifestyle.
“It’s the best thing ever. When I grow up, all I want to do is travel and go surf somewhere,” Killian said.
Aspiring to be like his favorite skimboarders, Johnny Salta and Johnny Weber, Killian continues to fine tune his craft by studying films like Sam Stinett’s “Beast Mode” and pushing himself to do more. Killian said the other board sports – skating, surfing and snowboarding – help him to do more on a skimboard, such as his favorite trick.
“I like to go to a front-side liner just to pull in and get a little barrel,” Killian said.
His grandmother, Nancy Best, could not be more proud of her eldest of three grandsons.
“Being born and raised with the Atlantic Ocean in the backyard, it did not surprise me the boys fell in love with skimboarding and surfing. What is most remarkable to me is the friendships made, the family atmosphere and the positive energy within this skim community,” Best said.
Killian isn’t the only Davis with a promising future on the beach. His brothers Keegan and Kellen are also starting to leave their mark. The youngest, Kellan, took first place Sept. 1 at the Alley-Oop Skim Jam, while Keegan is making his way onto the scene as a goofy-footed spinner. In 2022, Keegan finished second in Skim USA’s 8-and-under division, while Kellan took home fourth place.
Killian is patient with his youngest brother, who sometimes cuts into Killian’s path due to the volume of rides he attempts. With an eye toward the sets, he doesn’t seem fazed much by the little things or if things don’t go his way. As a competitor, there are moments of frustration for the young lad, but overall he keeps a positive attitude and healthy mindset, something critical in a sport like skimboarding.
“I like to listen to music before I compete, hang out with my friends and warm up before my heat. Then I just skim. If I don’t make it, I don’t make it. If I do make it, then I’m happy,” Killian said.