Sledding down sand dunes by itself is fun, but sometimes you just want to spice things up a little by adding some special maneuvers or aerials (a fancy word for “air tricks”). Performing tricks on sand is no easy feat but absolutely doable with the right equipment. Jumping and carving are two types of tricks you can perform respectively on air and on the ground when sandboarding.
Sandboard tricks training
Before you hit the dunes, do some mental and physical preparation at home or on a flat terrain (without sliding). Visualize yourself on the hill and concentrate on keeping your movements as smooth and controlled as possible. The goal is to get your body and mind used to the movements you are trying to perform. These are the stages you will have to go through:
- Run up – this is when you adjust your boarding speed before initiating the trick;
- Initiation – this is when you adjust the position of your body – including knees, legs, arms and torso – before take off;
- Take off – this is when you leave the ground jumping into the air or make your board lean to the side for carving;
- Execution – this is when you perform the trick!
- Landing – when you reposition your board back into the ground.
Sandboarding ground maneuvers
Sandboarding ground tricks are borrowed from snowboarding and best performed when you have reached a decent speed on a flat ground, ideally on fairly steep dune going suddenly into a flat area.
- Flat ground 360 – It envolves spinning 360 degress whilst riding on the sand and to continue riding.
- The Ollie – The ollie is a simple jump done by popping off the tail of your board into the air.
- The Nollie – A stylish trick done by popping off the nose of your board into the air.
- Nose and Tail Roll – An easy trick done by rolling of the nose or tail of the board. A good starting point for beginners.
Best sandboards for performing tricks
You will want a jumping or carving sandboard, with a long deck and twin tips (i.e. round edges), and of course foot bindings. Avoid square tail boards as they are not meant for tricks.
Choosing a sand dune
Sand surfing rides are over much quicker than you’d like to, which makes it hard to perform any kind of maneuver on smaller dunes and hills. You will need to find a location with very tall, mountain-like dunes, most likely in a desert rather than in a beach. There’s a reason places like Huacachina attract hordes of sandboarders, and this is one of them!
If you think falling on sand will hurt less than falling on snow, think again – sandboarding accidents happen and they are painful, even lethal at times. Always wear protective gear if you are sledding down a very steep dune, even more so if you are planning to perform tricks and jumps. Keep in mind your surrounding terrain and environmental conditions, and remember that sand is essentially tiny rock fragments of various dimensions. Even the softest sand can become problematic if the sun is scorching as it will burn your skin.