I didn’t know skimboarding with a winch was a thing

It’s that time of year – watch out for turtles on the roads
May 3, 2024

Story Location:
Prospect Street
Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971
United States

I don’t live close enough to the beach to be there every day, but I’m down there pretty often. Recently, I saw something I’ve never seen – skimboarding while being towed by a winch stationed on the beach.

I was in Rehoboth Beach covering the Broadwalk on the Boardwalk. The walk ends at the very southern end of the Boardwalk before making its way down to the beach. I wanted photos of the walkers getting to the beach, so I made my way over the dune. As I did, I saw a young guy standing in his wetsuit, his left arm stretched out, holding a handle attached to a rope. As I scanned up the beach, looking to see where the rope led, I figured I would see a parachute laying on the ground, ready to be whipped up into the air for a kiteboarding ride.

Instead, a couple hundred feet away were two more young men in wetsuits standing next to something about the size of an amplifier. As I turned my attention back to the guy in front of me, he did the universal sign for let's-get-this-moving with the pointer finger on his open hand. All of a sudden the line grew taut, he threw his board into the surf and he was off.

After I got my photos of the Broadwalk, I walked up the beach to see what was going on. It was four teenagers – Ethan Baum, 15; Alex Chung, 17; Hunter Raffert, 17; and Jacob Kaplan, 18. Baum and Chung are from Maryland. Raffert and Kaplan are from Virginia. Their parents own property in town, and they’ve all known each other since they were digging holes in the sand as 7-year-olds.

They were being pulled through the water by a winch powered by a small engine. There was a couple hundred feet of rope between the handle and the winch. Raffert traded an electric skateboard for the machine over the winter. It was the second day of their first weekend using it for skimboarding, but apparently it had been tested this winter while sledding.

“We’re board friends that like doing everything together,” said one of them. 

They said their winch was an older model that required a person to start it. Newer models apparently have controls in the handle, allowing the skimboarder to start the winch remotely.

It was a beautiful morning, and it was easy to tell they wanted to keep going, but they were wrapping up. They all had to get back home for school on Monday.

It’s turtle saving time

Here’s my annual reminder to watch out for the reemergence of the area’s slowest movers. No, I’m not talking about the octogenarians who are returning after a winter down south – although, watch out for them too – I’m talking about our shelled friends that are beginning to cross our paved roads at all times of the day.

Delaware is home to a number of different turtles, and this is the time of year they start getting active along Route 1, especially near the bays south of Dewey Beach and on many of the back roads near the county’s inland bodies of water.

If you decide to help a turtle, I’ve got two recommendations: first, be smart about it and don’t cause an accident; and second, don’t help a snapping turtle with your feet if you have flip-flops on.

Joke of the Week

Mother’s Day is just around the corner. I found a bunch of heartwarming, we-love-mommy-type jokes, but I went with this one because it’s a joke that makes fun of dads. If your family is anything like mine, that never gets old. This is the type of comment that leads my wife to come up to me saying something about playing the world’s smallest violin, while rubbing her thumb and pointer finger together. As always, send jokes to

Son: Dad, do you know the difference between a pack of cookies and a pack of elephants?

Dad: No.

Son: Then it’s a good thing Mom does the grocery shopping!


  • Chris Flood has lived in or visited family in Delaware his whole life. He grew up in Maine, but a block of scrapple was always in the freezer of his parents’ house during his childhood. Contact him at

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