Last Updated on May 5, 2023
Sandboarding is a relatively new sport that is quickly gaining popularity among thrill-seekers and adventure enthusiasts. While the name might give it away, sandboarding is a lot like snowboarding, but instead of the cold, powdery snow, you ride down dunes made of sand.
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Compared to snowboarding, sandboarding is quite easy to practice. It requires less gear, making it more accessible to people who may not have the budget to invest in expensive snowboarding gear. It can also be practiced year-round, regardless of the weather conditions, as long as you can find a good sand dune to ride. This makes it an attractive option for those who don’t live in places with snowy winters, but rather in desert or coastal areas with access to steep dunes.
Another factor that makes sandboarding more accessible is its low barrier to entry. Unlike snowboarding, which can be quite challenging to learn, sandboarding is relatively easy to pick up. Even people without any prior experience can ride down the dunes with ease, including children.
What makes sandboarding difficult
While sandboarding is generally considered easier than snowboarding, it still has its challenges. The choice of location and gear can greatly affect the quality of the ride. The sand dunes need to be tall, steep, and free of vegetation to ensure a smooth and safe ride.
One of the biggest challenges of sandboarding is the friction that sand creates. Sand has a much higher friction coefficient than snow, which makes it more difficult to slide down the dunes. The type of sand also matters. Some sand types, such as those found in coastal areas, are better for sandboarding than others. The workaround is to use sandboard wax which is pretty much a must if you want to have a smooth ride on sand; it is necessary to wax the bottom of your sandboard before each ride.
The gear you use also plays a significant role in your sandboarding experience. A sandboard with a Formica laminate bottom, for example, will glide more smoothly on the sand than a regular snowboard and will last much longer against sand abrasion. Sandboarders must also apply sand wax (which is formulated to not melt too easily in hot weather conditions) to their board before each ride. Other than that, no equipment is needed, although some protective gear and particurarly goggles may be useful.
Unlike regular skiing or snowboarding, sandboarding doesn’t have the luxury of ski lifts. This means that you have to climb back up the dune after every ride, which can be tiring. This is often considered the most tiresome part of sandboarding. Currently, there is only one location in the world where you can practice sand skiing in an indoor facility equipped with lifts, that’s Monte Kaolino in Hirschau, Germany.
Standing up vs Sitting Down
Sandboarding is a sport that can be enjoyed by people of all ages and skill levels, but the decision to sit or stand can significantly impact the experience. Sand sledding, which involves sitting on a board and sliding down the dunes, is an excellent option for beginners or young children who may find standing up on a board intimidating or challenging. When sand sledding, riders can sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride down the dunes without worrying about maintaining their balance.
For more experienced riders, standing up on a sandboard can be a more thrilling experience. Standing up gives riders a greater sense of control and a better view of their surroundings. Riders can also perform tricks and jumps while standing, making the experience more exciting and challenging. However, standing up requires good balance, technique, and experience. Riders who are new to sandboarding are often advised to start by sitting down to get comfortable with the sport before attempting to stand up.
The terrain you will be riding on is another factor to consider. Some dunes may be more suited to standing up, while others are better for sitting down. Steeper dunes with significant drops are more challenging to navigate while sitting down and require a standing position to maintain control and speed. In contrast, flatter dunes are easier to navigate while sitting down or laying on your belly.
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