Sandboarding

by STEVE BLOOM

Some people see a sand dune and see a hill of sand held together by various plants or as a feature of the desert. Others see it as a way to have some fun. There is definitely a thrill to this sport where speeds up to 51 mph have been recorded.

Sandboarding might have been around for several centuries with ancient Egyptians surfing down sand dunes on wood or pottery. Modern day sandboarding has been around since at least the 1960s, but it was overshadowed by the more popular sport of snowboarding. It has only been in the past ten years that sandboarding has become more popular.

GETTING STARTED

If you are at all familiar with the equipment for snowboarding than you will be familiar with the items that are required for sandboarding. The only item that is absolutely necessary is the board. A sandboard looks a lot like a snowboard except that it is comparatively lighter.

This lightness is important since many sandboarding dunes don’t have lifts and you have to carry the board up with you each time you want to go down. Don’t use a snowboard on sand though since it can really scratch it up.

There are many things that you can substitute for a sandboard such as a skateboard deck, a bodyboard or even a peice of wood. Sandboards made specifically for sandboarding work best though.

The other gear used in sandboarding is for safety. This equipment comes down to personal choice; however, wearing a helmet is a good idea. Gloves and elbow pads can also be worn. You can also get sandboarding wax to put on your board to make it go faster.

Sunscreen is also recommended since most places that are good for sandboarding have high exposure to the sun.

WHERE TO GO

There are thousands of places to go around the world to try sandboarding. The best spots are the ones that have long, steep drops. Of course, a beautiful surrounding is always a plus. The most frequented locations are in deserts or beaches. Artificial dunes such as Germany’s Monte Kaolino are popular. It is created by the nearby silicon mine. It is here that the Sandboarding World Championships are held.

The Middle East has some of the best destinations in the world. Big Red just north of Dubai is very accessible and popular. The Great Sea of Sand in Egypt has some of the best sandboarding in the world. However, this destination isn’t for amateurs and since it is very isolated, only hardcore sandboarders go there.

The west coast of The United States has many locations. Southern and Western Australia are becoming popular destinations too.

If being a spectator is more your style, then there are plenty of opportunities for that. There are many events around the world that you go and watch the competition. Sand Master Jam is one of those events.

It’s held every year in Florence, Oregon and is open to all comers regardless of their skill level. Participation is $15, but admission is free.

Sandboarding has little equipment and the costs are low. This means that all it takes to get started is to find a sand dune, grab whatever board you can and jump right in. Compared to sand dunes, ski slopes are packed and busy. Sandboarding is nice because it has the feel of snowboarding, but also the quiet.

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