What are you going to do when spring is approaching, and you haven’t had enough time to ride your snowboard, do freestyle and race down the snowy slopes? Head off to the desert for sandboarding!
But what is so great about sandboarding? What kind of equipment do you need? Can this new trend keep up with snowboarding? And where in the world can you try it? We have all the answers.
Compared to snowboarding, sandboarding has only been around for a few years. In 1980 it developed from a minority sport to a trend, continuously gaining popularity around the world. The first competitions took place in South Africa in 2001. Since then, 17 Sandboarding World Championships have already been held in Bavaria/Germany on Monte Kaolino in Hirschau – 120 meters high, 220 meters of downhill boarding and only the finest quartz sand.
If you think you can replace snow with sand and just strap on your snowboard – you’re wrong. Sandboarding is not quite as easy as it sounds. Although you can do all the same tricks, turns and carves, you will soon realize that you’re a little bit slower with your sandboard than with your snowboard. It is the sand grains slowing down your board, which is why you should always lean back and shift your body weight to the rear of the board.
Expert sandboarders use boards built especially for sand dunes. They are heavier than snowboards and therefore more resilient. This is an absolute necessity since the fine sand grains would easily break a regular snowboard rather quickly. Sandboards are coated with a special material and their bottom is waxed, so you can sweep down the sandy dunes at up to 80 km/h.
When it comes to your outfit, you are good to go with short pants and a T-shirt, which is a big bonus with regard to equipment costs. On the downside, you will probably end up with more than a few scrapes.
THE BEST LOCATIONS
As you now know, you do not have to go to the desert to try out sandboarding. However, in the west of the USA, West and North Africa as well as the United Arab Emirates - generally in areas with a lot of sand - you will find the best conditions for this sport; there sandboarding is just as common as skiing is in the Alps.
Even if you live in the northern hemisphere, there is still no reason not to try sandboarding. Whether in summer or winter - you can do it anytime and anywhere in the world.
And if you still cannot imagine what the whole thing looks like: these three adventurers have dared to check out North America’s largest sand dune: