Snowboarders eager to practice out of season, do not despair: sandboarding is here to stay. In many countries were glaciers are not widely available, like Namibia, or sadly shrinking due to global warming, such as in Peru, the practice of sliding down sand dunes is flourishing. Sand snowboarding is definitely a thing and it can be practiced pretty much everywhere there is a desert or a beach with steep enough sand dunes.
Sandboarding differs from snowboarding in terms of the action it provides. Although high speeds can be achieved on the dunes, carving is more difficult due to the grainy quality of the sand. And smashing into sand at fast speeds can soon plaster your entire body in grains, which is why, even in hot weather, you’ll want to wear long-sleeve shirts and trousers.
Sandboarding equipment is similar to snowboarding equipment, with a few notable differences. Pieces of cardboard, fragments of hardboard, old surfboards, and regular snowboards can all be used to hit the dunes, albeit will mixed results. The increasingly more refined technology being used to manufacture sandboards designed specifically for dunes will make your ride much smoother and enjoyable. The main difference between snowboards and sandboards lays in the base. A snowboard’s base is made of high-density polyethylene, which prevents the sandrider from reaching higher speeds due to excessive friction when gliding on sand. Sandboards and sandsleds, on the other hand, have a thicker, more durable base composed of Formica or a comparable laminate material. Sandboards also often come with detuned edges which drastically reduce the risk of flailing in the sand. Unlike snowboards, more sheets of fiberglass can be added to the board’s base to make a more firm landing surface.
There is also an additional piece of gear that is essential for sandboarding: sand dune wax, which further reduces friction between sand and the board. Do not even attempt snowboarding on sand without properly waxing the base of your board – it won’t work.