Last Updated on September 18, 2023
Finding a great spot for sandboarding does not seem to be the easiest task, given the need for the chosen location to be filled with large sand dunes, steep slopes, and dry environmental conditions without much vegetation.
If you know where to look, there are a range of must-see destinations all across the globe for those who are passionate about this extreme board sport.
The most visited sandboarding destinations in the world tend to be located in or around deserts and beaches, but there are many other locations that are located within forested areas, such as Moreton Island in Australia or Mount Kaolino in southern Germany, where the annual World Sandboarding Championships were once held.
The tallest dunes and steepest slopes, however, are found in the deserts of South America (particularly that of Peru), Africa, and the Middle East. The breakneck speeds that riders can reach in these areas, as well as their breathtaking views and natural beauty, make these places some of the best sandboarding destinations in the world.
Most Ideal Places for Sandboarding
There is a wide range of sand dunes scattered throughout the whole continent, many of which have extreme drop-offs and beautiful fields of fine white sand.
Cerro Blanco, for example, in southern Peru, is treacherously steep and only the most experienced riders dare to attempt a descent down the hill, and Peru is also home to the desert oasis of Huacachina, possibly the most popular sandboarding destination in the world. Many sandboarders are too afraid to try because riders can reach speeds close to 50 mph on the descent.
Further south, near Copiapo, Chile, is Cerro Iman, where a sandboarding competition is held every year. It is ideal for competition because of the many routes available for the descent, all of which are extraordinarily fast. It is likely to continue attracting sandboarders from near and far for decades to come because of its incredible natural jumps.
Sandboarding has also become very popular in South and Western Australia in recent years, thanks to the huge dunes and the general outdoor spirit of this land. Places like “The Bowl” in Bunbary, Western Australia and Mount Monster in Adelaide, South Australia draw huge crowds in search of dunes that can reach heights of over 700 meters.
These places not only have some of the best sandboarding in the world, but they are also close to some of the best beaches in the world. Sandboarders often venture to Tasmania to find the Henty dunes, the largest sand hills on the island. This west coast location is favored for its steep drop-offs and long runs, while its secluded location allows sandboarders plenty of room to practice.
The Middle East is home to some incredible sandboarding destinations and there is no doubt that the Great Sand Sea near Siwa, Egypt is home to some of the best sandboarding in the world.
With dunes rising up to 500 feet and descending at angles of 70 degrees or more, this is no amateur trail. Because it is a highly isolated area that requires transportation and guides to find the best dunes, it is basically exclusive to the wealthiest or most avid sandboarders.
A more accessible alternative can be found in Dubai, where the Hugo International Sandboarding Championship is held every January. Dubai is home to “Big Red,” one of the largest and steepest sand dunes in the Middle East, and is quickly becoming a popular tourist destination for outdoor adventurers of all types. Finally, the Negev desert in Israel is also quickly becoming a sand surfer’s paradise.
Africa is also home to some fan-favorite sandboarding locations. The Namib Desert in Namibia is said to be one of the oldest deserts in the world and is certainly home to some of the largest dunes you can find. Most sandboarders head to Swakopmund to find the steep peaks of its constantly moving sand dunes, which are guaranteed to challenge even the most experienced riders.
Other places of interest include the cinnamon-red sand dunes of the Skeleton Coast at Sossusvlei near Rehoboth, Namibia, where the dunes can be more than 1,000 feet high – unfortunately, access to the area for dune boarding and sand skiing requires a special permit.
Further south, near Cape Town, South Africa, are the Fish Hoek Dunes, which are moderate in size but are home to outdoor adventure sports of all kinds. Mount Mayhem is located near Johannesburg and has steep drops of over 500 feet high and many natural jumping platforms for riders who want to attempt big air tricks. There are also hundreds of places to sandboard in Africa’s many other deserts such as the Sahara or Kalahari.
Europe does not have any real deserts and because of this you will find sandboarding activities mostly confined to coastal areas.
France also has a few spots where sand surfing can be practiced, and so do Italy, Spain and Portugal. Finally, the aforementioned Monte Kaolino in Germany deserves a special mention as it is the only sand-skiing facility in the world equipped with a lift.
There are a few locations where sandboarding is especially popular as a tourist activity, such as the Tottori Sand Dunes in Japan, the La Paz sand dunes and Paoay sand dunes in Ilocos Norte, Philippines, and the Parangkusumo Sand Hills in Java, Indonesia.
Your n°1 source of information on the world of sandsports and desert adventure travel. Our articles are the result of extensive research, personal experience, and knowledge-sharing within the global sandboarding community.