Last Updated on January 4, 2024

Can you snowboard on sand? 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 anywhere 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.

Other than that, the equipment you need for sandboarding is rather basic: a wooden board and some wax and you are good to go.

a man sandboarding over the sand hill
Snowboarding on sand. Photo by Nathan Cowley on

Sandboarding definition

Sandboarding is an extreme boardsport that consists of sliding down sand dunes in a desert or beach in way that is very similar to snowboarding. It is sometimes referred to as sand surfing, and has two variants: sand sledding (when sitting on a sled or lying on your belly rather than standing) and sand-skiing (when using skis instead of a sandboard).

Sandboarding is still considered a niche sport yet there is growing interest especially in geographical areas where sand dunes are available, and for a few decades already sandboarding events and competitions are held all over the globe.

Sand snowboarding (sandboarding)
Snowboarding on sand dunes in Dubai.

What do you need for snowboarding on sand

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, but you will need a sandboard for optimal performance.

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.


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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.