Last Updated on July 1, 2021
You have heard about sandboarding but not sure if that’s a thing? We got you covered. Here’s some interesting facts about the art and practice of surfing down desert sand slopes, and all the information you need to get started with this new (or perhaps ancient?) action sport.
Sandboarding is an extreme boardsport that consists of sliding down sand dunes in a similar fashion to snowboarding. It is also called sand surfing, sand sledding (if sitting or lying on your belly rather than standing) or sand-skiing (if using skis). Sandboarding is not yet considered an “official” sport but there is growing interest as well as sand surfing events and competitions held worldwide.
Sand surfing is practiced worldwide (in all continent except Antarctica) on either desert or beach dunes. It is especially popular in locations with an arid climate where it may be the only alternative to snowboarding. It is extensively practiced in South America and is the signature sport of Peru, but sandboarding facilities and competitions are found also in the US, Germany, and Namibia; whereas beach dune boarding and tobogganning are widespread in Australia and New Zealand.
The origins of sandboarding are disputed. Some date the practice of sledding down sand back to the age of Ancient Egypt or Ancient China, but both theories lack evidence. Modern sandboarding is thought to have developed in Brazil in the 70s and spread in popularity in the 90s across Peru and the US.
Because of its disputed origins, there is no one official inventor of sandboarding. The sport was popularized by different people in different parts of the world, namely by Matías Grados Mora in Peru, Lon Beale in Oregon and the US, while Darryn Webb made volcano boarding a thing in Nicaragua, after Zoltan Istvan first recorded himself practicing it in Vanuatu.
Sandboarders use specially manufactured boards called sandboards, which resemble snowboards but have a laminated base meant for waxing which reduces friction and protects them from wearing out when riding on sand. Sandsleds and sand toboggans are constructed in the same way, but come with hand grips and seat pads instead of foot straps and sandboard bindings.
- 40.000: estimated number of people of people sandboarding in the US in a year.
- 2: sports facilities dedicated to sandboarding and sandskiing: the Sand Master Park in Florence, Oregon and Monte Kaolino in Hirschau, Germany.
- 4: sandboarding competitions currently held. The Sandboarding World Championship previously held on Monte Kaolino has now been replaced by the Sandboard World Cup which takes places in Huacachina, Peru.
- 8: major sandboard manufacturers worldwide, three of which in the US.
- 6: active volcanos where sandboarding is or has been practiced.
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.