Snowboarding.. no, no, I mean SANDboarding.

The concept behind sandboarding is remarkably simple – climb to the top of the dune (that’s the hard part!), stand on the sandboard and ride it down to the bottom!

The first sand boarding park has been opened in Oregan. Sand Master Park is located in Lane County on the south central coast of Oregon, USA. Follow highway 101 to the north boundary of the city Florence. It is just north of the ‘Fred Meyer’ store on the west side of highway 101.

The park features a 2′ jump, a 15′ 3/4 dual trapezoid rail, a cliff jump, a 3′ kicker, a 20′ rainbow rail, a 10′ rail, a 40′ fun box and many other jumps,rails and slides.

Sandboarding is becoming so popular that a UK company even organizes sandbording stag parties! No doubt hen parties too…

from the Sandboard Magazine

South Africa too feels it has a lot to offer the growing sandboarding community. The country has a coastline that offers some excellent dunes ideal for the sport. Just 35 minutes from Cape Town are the Atlantis Dunes. This is a large, shifting dune field that has a wide variety of rides, or “runs” as they are known in sandboarding terminology. The sand is almost white in colour and has the consistency of powder making it ideal for the sport.

Many inland areas in South Africa also feature ideal dunes.

Unlike many sports, sandboarding does not require a lot of expensive equipment. Nor do you constantly pay out once you get to the dunes as it’s foot-power that gets you to the top of your chosen dune.

All you need is a sandboard, wax and a sponge to apply the wax to the bottom of the board. A good board can cost less than R1,000 (US$125). Normal floor polish is used to wax the bottom of the board allowing you to glide over the sand at impressive speeds.

Another advantage is that you can do this sport in a bikini if you wish – preferably only if you’re a female!

The golden rule of sandboarding is to keep your weight forward. Your natural instinct is to lean backwards, but this means you have no control of the board and will be unable to turn and chances are you’ll end up burying your head like an ostrich. Chances are you’ll do this anyway when learning!

Once you have sorted out your weight distribution you’ll be better prepared. With your weight on the front foot, the back foot moves the tail of the board around so that the nose is facing in the direction you wish to go in. By pushing your toes and lifting your heels the inside edge of the board digs into the sand. This causes the board to track across the dune and is known as a forehand turn.

A bit technical? Get out there and try it then!

The backhand turn is the exact opposite. Your back is towards the dune and this can be a bit unnerving to begin with. Once you have the hang of forehand and backhand turns, they can be combined in an “S” motion. Not only does this allow you to turn, it is also used to control your speed.

Sandboarding is something that could easily become addictive.

So a few last tips.

When going sandboarding wear comfortable clothes, shorts and a t-shirt are ideal. Don’t forget to take a hat, sunscreen and water.

Also, and this is important,. don’t forget to first check whether sandboarding is permitted in your area of choice and whether you need a permit or permission to use the dunes. Remember what I said about the fragile eco-systems of the dunes…

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