Sandboarding is a sport activity very similar to surfing, snowboarding and sledding with the difference that is practiced on sand dunes instead of water or snow. Generally, the ideal contexts where to practice sandboarding are the desert areas or in any case all the places where there are sand dunes high enough to jump from. Recently also the coastal areas with very wide sandy beaches are used for sandboarding by exploiting the towing of off-road vehicles or simply the wind with special sails.
Among the archives of the regulatory body of the discipline there is information on the ancient Egyptians and other cultures that slipped on sand dunes on ceramic and wooden tools and also, more recently, the presence of black and white photos dating back to the Second World War testify to the presence of this activity for a long time in Australia.
In the 1960s, sandboarding began to gain popularity among surfers and skateboarders in Australia and, for this purpose, boards were made using characteristic shaped wood to manage them as a surfboard or a skateboard. In the mid-70s sandboarding was presented at various public events, commercials and sports programs on television. Despite this, sandboarding still failed to be very successful but, later on, installations suitable for receiving many people and snow, as well as surfing waves, were much more accessible to the general public. Snowboarding won the race for success even though the passion for the dunes continued over the years to infect several followers.
Sandboarding is practiced by inserting the feet in special supports and then surfing while standing on the board and sliding on the sand launching from the dunes until reaching very high speeds. It is recommended for beginners to position themselves in a prone position, holding their arms to the supports where they usually put their feet. Then you stand up and acquire control of balance through control exercises also at a postural level. Subsequently, with the help of an instructor, all the basic techniques are applied for the first movements which consist in the action of unbalancing the body to perform simple turns and tricks until reaching the maximum autonomy and mastery of the movement with and on the table.
Speaking from experience, and talking about it as a real beginner, it is much easier to sit or lie on your belly on the first attempts and it’s also a lot more fun (you also avoid eating sand that way).
The sandboarding board is made of much more resistant material than the snowboarding one.
It is usually in plastic laminate or in wood or, occasionally, metal. The type of material is chosen on the basis of the type of descent to be tackled, the type of sand and the conformation of the dunes. In order to try to eliminate the friction of the sand on the board and make the descent faster, paraffin wax is applied to its lower part and it must be rubbed carefully with special paraffin cubes before each slide.
Although I have read that the World Sandboard Championship is held every year in Germany (which is the location where the longest sand hill in Europe is present) it is in Australia that everyone can try this sport easily and affordably.
PHOTO GALLERY below