Though the melting snow on the mountains appears to signal the end of another boarding season, snowboarding enthusiasts will be pleased to know that there is a warm-weather alternative that is just as much fun.
In fact, even if you’ve never stepped into the bindings of a snowboard before, sandboarding might be more up your alley. If the prospect of hiking up sand dunes (leave your snow pants at home!) and sliding back down on a plank sounds like fun, then you’ll want to read on about this eccentric sport.
Where in the world can you try sandboarding? Well, that’s half the fun! Sandboarding is popular in several of the United States, but it’s also an international phenomenon. Both coastal cities and deserts alike provide some pretty spectacular backdrops for sandboarding adventures. Here are a few places to try sandboarding for yourself.
Al Katamiah Dunes, Egypt
It is thought that sandboarding originated in Egypt: people would slide down dunes on planks of wood. So what better place to experience the sport than in its motherland!
Sandboarding in Egypt is the real deal: think jumps, aerials and insane tricks usually reserved for snowboarding. There are a few different places in the country to experience sandboarding, but the Al Katamiah Dunes, 50 miles southwest of Cairo, offers some of the most accessible dunes. A quick daytrip is all you’ll need to get started in the sport.
Monte Kaolino, Germany
Europeans wanting to try sandboarding will have limited opportunities, unless they are willing to travel overseas. The manmade sand dunes of Monte Kaolino in Hirschau, Germany, is one of the only places in Europe that offers sandboarding.
Home of the Sandboarding World Champions, Monte Kaolino offers a motorized chairlift to access the top of the dunes. Building a chairlift in sinking sand isn’t the easiest engineering feat—of course, if anyone can do it, it’s the Germans.
With 35 million tons of quartz sand, sandboarders can clock in impressive speeds on Monte Kaolino.
Oregon hosts the largest expanse of coastal sand in North America, so it’s only fitting that it’s one of the most popular sandboarding destinations not only in the USA, but in the entire world.
The dunes of Florence, Oregon offer more than just the traditional sandboarding experience: they are home to the world’s first sandboard park, called Sand Master Park. Spanning over 40 acres, Sand Master Parks hosts several features, including rails and jumps. It’s the perfect place to try your hand at sandboarding, or to take your skills to the next level.
Namib Desert, Namibia
Prefer two planks to one? In Namibia, sandskiing reigns supreme. The Namib Desert stays relatively cool year-round, thanks to the Bunguela Current wind vacuum, providing perfect sandskiing conditions.
Namibia is also the backdrop to the Guinness World Record for the fastest recorded sandskiing: German sandskier and Namibian resident Henrik May earned the title after clocking it at nearly 60 miles per hour. The best part? Light winds erase sandskiing tracks overnight—that means fresh tracks every day!
Duna Grande, Peru
Sandboarding in South America has gained quite a following, with both Peru and Chile offering some incredible sandy terrain. Duna Grande, Peru, lives up to its name: some of the dunes are more than a mile high!
Roughly an hour from Nazca, Duna Grande is situated amidst vast desert land. Hop in a dune buggy and head to the dunes to experience some of the best sandboarding on the continent.
Stockton Bight Sand Dunes, Australia
With 130+ foot tall sand dunes sloping at 60 degrees, the sand dunes of Stockton Bight offer some of the best sandboarding territory in Australia. The Stockton Bight sand dunes are the largest moving dunes in the Southern Hemisphere, making them a worthy attraction in their own right.
Four-wheel drive tours and “sand dune safaris” are other popular expeditions in the area, but to get the full experience, you’ll definitely want to slide down on a sandboard. Stockton Bight is around two hours north of Sydney, and can easily be visited on a day trip.