Last Updated on October 14, 2023

Sandboarding (or sand surfing) is a recreational activity and extreme sport in which people ride on sand dunes.

Sandboarding is similar to snowboarding, but instead of sliding on snow, the rider glides over sand dunes using a sandboard, which is a board specifically designed for riding on sand.

Below, a list of interesting facts about the sport and art of surfing down desert sand slopes, and all the information you need to get started with this new action sport that is becoming more and more popular all over the globe.

Sand boarding / sand surfing

Sandboarding Facts

Sport definition

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.

Is sandboarding a thing?

Where can you practice sandboarding

Sand surfing is practiced worldwide (in all continent except Antarctica) on either desert or beach dunes.

Sand boarding sports are especially popular in locations with an arid climate where it may be the only alternative to snowboarding.

Sandboarding is practiced extensively 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.

You can sandboard on dunes worldwide.

When was sandboarding invented

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.

In recent years, sand surfing has become a tourist attraction in the Middle East and is starting to be discovered in many countries across Africa.

What sandboarding a thing in ancient Egypt?

Who invented sandboarding

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.

Who invented sandboarding?

How to sandboard

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.

Sandboards are similar to snowboards in shape and size, but they are typically made of a harder and more durable material, such as wood or fiberglass, to withstand the abrasive nature of 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.

How does sandboarding work?

In numbers

How popular is sandboarding as a sport?

Key points

  • Sandboarding (or sand surfing) is a solo action sport practiced using a laminated board to glide down sand dunes, either in a desert or beach with suitable sand hills.
  • Sand sledding is a variant of sandboarding which is practiced sitting or laying down on a sled rather than standing up.
  • Sand skiing is a variant of sandboarding which is practiced using skiis.
  • Volcano boarding is a variant of sandboarding practiced on active volcanos where a slope has formed from hardened lava.
  • Sand surfing is practiced on every continent except Antarctica. It is especially popular in South America, Australia, and the Middle East. It is also widespread across the US, particularly in Oregon, and it is becoming increasingly popular in Africa.
  • Ancient forms of sandboarding where potentially practiced in Egypt and China, although historians have criticized the lack of evidence on this.
  • Modern sandboarding was born in Brazil in the 70s, and became popular in Peru and the US in the 90s. Today, it is widespread worldwide.
  • Sandboards are similar to regular snowboard but are generally thicker and include an extra layer of laminate base is is waxed before a ride to reduce friction with sand.
  • There are two indoor sport facilities dedicated to sand surfing: Sand Master Park in Florence, Oregon and Monte Kaolino in Hirschau, germany.
  • A number of sandboarding competitions are also held every year, including a Sandboard World Cup.

Sandboarding Locations


Sand Sledding
Volcano boarding
Desert Skiing
Sand Skiing
Sand Kiting
Sand Kiting
Desert Hiking & Camping
Desert Travel
Desert Camping
Desert Running

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