Sandboarding is said to be the “latest” board sport following closely in surfing and snowboarding footsteps.
On the popular BBC series, Ski Sunday, Graham Bell and Ed Leigh discussed sandboarding. In fact Ed Leigh gave it a go and was most unimpressed – though a comment on the BBC blog mentioned that perhaps his board hadn’t been waxed satisfactorily.
Here in southern Africa it is looked on as the latest and most fun sport. Although the environmentalists aren’t too sure. They say that people carving up the great dunes in Namibia are doing untold damage to the fragile eco-system and they are trying to bring a stop to the increasing number of boarders – or at best, to at least control the sport.
It is perhaps not true to say that sandboarding is a new sport. Some sources claim that the ancient Egyptians as well as the Chinese were not averse to the idea of sliding down dunes on planks of hardened pottery or wood! Whether this is true or not black and white photographs do exist showing upright sandboarding dating back to the 1940’s.
For the next 20 years enthusiasts used anything they could lay their hands on to ride the dunes – from pieces of cardboard, trays, car hoods, surfboards and even water skies!
By the mid-1970’s sandboarding was gaining in popularity, but snowboarding became the rage and sandboarding was pushed aside for the next 12 years.
However, not entirely – countries that have no snow had a major disadvantage!!! Places like the Mojave Desert in America lacked snow but certainly had plenty of sand and wonderful sand dunes.
Early sandboards were slow and inconsistent performers and to ensure that this fledgling sport survived developers looked to the snowboarding industry for guidance. They helped to such an extent that one could now say that sandboards were developed by the finest snowboard designers!
With the help of the Internet, sandboarders have come together from around the world to share their experiences. People from all parts of America, Australia, New Zealand, Namibia, Egypt, France, Italy, Germany, Hungary, Holland, Belgium, England, Japan, Peru, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, Canada, and South Africa.
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