How Do I Start Sandboarding (and Is It Dangerous and Difficult)?

If you happen to be visiting a place that is famous for sand dunes, then you can enroll with a certified sandboarding instructor to teach you the basics. You just need to make sure that you are equipped with your eye protection and knee and elbow pads, and you are wearing the proper clothes to avoid any unfortunate events because while sandboarding is fairly easy and safe, accidents can still happen if you go at it recklessly.
How Do I Start Sandboarding

Table of Contents

Sandboarding is getting more popular due to the fact that the sport has a shallow learning curve. You don’t need to be the most athletic person to enjoy the sport. But whether you are a beginner or an advanced sandboarder, your safety should always be your utmost priority.

Is Sandboarding a Thing?

People have come to enjoy sliding down slopes of any kind. The joy that comes with the thrill of the ride makes sandboarding a popular activity not just for people living near deserts and dunes. Snowboarders and sledding fanatics enjoy, and sometimes even fully switches to, riding down dry terrains.

Sandboarding has become so increasingly popular that there are now several sandboarding competitions around the world. Several snowboarding meccas have also been established everywhere for beginners and long-time enthusiasts.

Is Sandboarding a Sport?

Sandboarding is considered to be a board sport that is enjoyed wherever there is a desert, sand, or dune. It is composed of the combined fundamentals of several adventure sports including snowboarding, skateboarding, and surfing.

It is such a popular sport that there are annual world sandboarding competitions that attract sandboarders from all over the world. Some of these famous competitions include the Sandboard World Cup, Sandboarding World Championship, and Open European Sandboarding Championship.

Is Sandboarding Easy or Difficult?

Sandboarding can be both extremely easy and extremely difficult. Easy because you don’t need a ton of equipment to get started. Aside from that, if your goal is to get from the top to the bottom of a fairly short and uncomplicated dune and you have the help of an instructor to teach you the basics then the ride would be relatively easy.

But of course, as it is a sport, sandboarding does have a learning curve. Your athleticism may also affect how quickly you get the sport. You may be wiped out a lot at first but if you soldier on you’ll be riding that dune quite spectacularly at the end.

How Difficult Is Sandboarding?

Sandboarding can be difficult if:

  • You are a complete beginner and it is your first time experiencing the sport
  • You have no prior experience sledding or snowboarding
  • You don’t have the proper gear.

The sport can also be difficult because of its environment. With sandboarding, you would be dealing with sand (and lots of it) and sand can be tougher and harder to land on than snow. It is also worth noting that most sandboarding locations have no lifts so sliding down one means to get back to up, you would have to hike towards the top of the dune.

Sandboarding may also require less gear compared to other board sports, but the upkeep of this equipment can be laborious. You would need to constantly wax your board before, after, and in-between rides for better runs.

It also gets more difficult if you want to learn tricks and to go from beginner to an intermediate sandboarder. But more than learning tricks, you are bound to be wiped out more than once.

Is Sandboarding Dangerous?

Sandboarding is a sport, and like all sports, it does carry some risks. The environment in which the sport is being done can be unfriendly at times. The sand is harder to land on than, say, water or snow. The weather can also be harsh on the rider as most of the sandboarding locations are in the middle of the desert.

But the thing is, you can make sandboarding as safe or as dangerous as you want it to be. If you are reckless on the sand, then you would probably get into an accident. But if you are cautious and you just want clean fun then sandboarding may be the most fun activity you will ever try.

Where Did Sandboarding Originate?

Historians speculate that sandboarding originated in Egypt and this is the more widely accepted theory. This is mainly due to the hieroglyphics available in the country which suggests that ancient Egyptians have ridden down sand dunes.

Another theory is that the sport originated in China. This is because of a supposed Chinese ritual in which people slide down dunes. But due to the lack of evidence to support this theory, it is often ruled out.

When Was Sandboarding Invented?

If we are talking about the ancient Egypt theory, then sand boarding has been around since the first century. This is mainly due to the fact that many groups of people chose to live in the desert region of the world during that time.

Egypt, then and now, is known to have a great number of sand dunes which makes it rather impossible to zero in on a specific region or place in Egypt where the sport could have originated.

Who Invented Sandboarding?

Since Egypt is considered to be one of the cradles of civilization, it is hard to identify who (whether a pharaoh or a peasant) really invented sand boarding. This is why historians have never given anyone the recognition as the inventor of sandboarding.

With the substantial evidence presented by Egyptian hieroglyphics of people riding down sand dunes using pieces of wood or pottery, historians may never know who specifically invented the sport, but they are almost certain that sandboarding was first enjoyed by ancient Egyptians.

How Do You Ride a Sandboard?

Okay, first things first. Before you even hop on your board, make sure that you are well equipped with your eye protection, and knees and elbow pads. As your parents often say, better safe than sorry.

If you are a beginner, it is recommended to start off on a smaller dune so you can gauge your skills and you can familiarize yourself with the board itself and its movement on the sand.

Now that you are ready, follow these steps to get boarding.

  1. To get to the edge of the dune, you should do small, careful jumps forward until you reach the edge.
  2. Place your board so that the nose is pointing down.
  3. Slowly drop your dominant foot to put pressure on the nose and let your board slide slowly.
  4. As it slides, keep your eyes forward and try to lean back and bend your back knee.
  5. Make sure to keep your weight on the back of the board otherwise you will topple forward.
  6. If you are feeling wobbly, you can stretch your arms to the side to keep your balance.
  7. If you want to turn your board, you can apply pressure on your toes and heels in your desired direction.

Remember to always go slowly and carefully and once you get to the bottom (without wiping out, hopefully!) you can do the trek back to the starting point to do another run. If you are feeling more adventurous and you feel ready, you can pick a bigger dune to slide on.

Can You Sandboard on Wet Sand?

It is not advisable to sandboard on wet sand because it makes sandboarding impracticable. Wet sand causes the board to stick as you ride which can decrease your speed. Aside from that, wet sand tends to cause build up on the wax which also decreases your speed. It is also difficult to perform sharp turns on the wet sand.

Before going on a sandboarding trip, whether it is on a desert, a beach dune, or a man-made dune, it is wise to check the weather as the dryness (or wetness) of the sand can affect your sandboarding experience.

How Do You Make a Sandboard Slippery?

You can make your sandboard slippery by applying a lubricant to the base of the board. Formica and Laminex are the two most popular sandboard bases in the market today. While they perform well on most types of sand, it is still best to regularly apply lube on your board.

One of the things that can make or break your sandboarding experience is how well your board slides. If it stops mid-way or worse, it doesn’t move at all, then that is your cue to apply more lube on it.

Do You Wax a Sandboard?

It is highly recommended that you properly and regularly wax your sandboard. Wax your board before and after, and wax your board in between runs. No questions; just wax your board!

It is all the TLC your board would need. Aside from that, a properly waxed board is sure to perform better as it would break the friction between the board and the sand.

How Do You Wax a Sandboard?

Here is a short guide on how to properly wax your sandboarding board.

  1. Pick a flat surface where you can place your sandboard with the bottom side up.
  2. Slowly rub the wax all over the surface of your board facing you.
  3. Make sure to apply the wax from the back to the top and even to the edges of the board.
  4. Now that you have lathered your board with the wax, take a small handful of dry sand and rub it over the waxed surface.
  5. Observe if the dry sand sticks to the board. If it does, apply more wax then take another handful of sand and rub it on the surface.
  6. Repeat this process until the sand doesn’t stick to the surface anymore.

Remember that within the course of the activity, you would need to wax your board several times to make sure that it would slide the best way it can.

What Is Sandboard Wax Made of?

Sandboard wax is often made from a mixture of fats and fragrance. Wax is most commonly made from paraffin which is a petroleum byproduct. This is the most common wax to use on your sandboard because it can withstand even the highest temperatures.

Other popular wax is made from beeswax and tree resin but unlike paraffin, these two are more suitable at lower temperatures. You can also may your own wax by using one or a combination of these fats: organic virgin coconut oil, double refined candelilla wax, and beeswax.

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