Like the snow flake each grain of sand is unique. Viewed through a microscope the grains are as diverse as the people of the earth. Appropriately, all the elements found in the sand of the earth are also found in the people of the earth. It’s a lesson in unity of sorts. How so many tiny particles can build a hugh mountain is mind boggling. An ocean of mountains at that! It’s the quest for fun that is the motivating force that drives us to ride a board on that mountain of sand.
On a beautiful summer afternoon here you are sit on the very crest of a dune bank that drops down on the white sand beach on Oregon’s coast over looking the Pacific. Surfers say at sunset the dunes looks like a ‘golden wave.’ It’s always here, always waiting for you. It’s always ready. Off to your left you see an endless row of beach dunes, the pride of Lane County. To your right the Jetty at Florence and even Heceta Light House in the distance. The view is mesmerizing and the dunes offer a surealistic feel.
After a quick waxing, you slip your feet into the bindings and tighten it down snug. Carefully standing up on a thin molded board your heartbeat starts it’s assent.
Yes, the “rush” starts well before the rush down the dune on your board. You’re excited! You’re ready to give it a shot. A couple little hops and a shuffle and you have the board pointed forward and slightly over the edge. You’re set to ‘drop in.’
The nose dips down and you lean back, arms out for a moment of weightlessness. Oh my, the board accelerates quickly over the smooth sand.
Some still don’t believe it is possible to slide on such an abrasive surface but you are fully aware at that moment that it most certainly is possible and you are doing it! The board seems to take you faster and faster. Though it isn’t as fast as your fear tells you, bail out, comes to mind. So you sit down promptly on your butt with a little added ( and unexpected ) tumble at the end. That’s when you find out one of the best parts about sandboarding… it doesn’t hurt! It’s pretty soft. It doesn’t scrape, it doesn’t break. No, it’s not snow but it can be as soft as powder and never as hard as ice.
You’re thrilled and head right back up for another rush. That’s great! Take all the runs you want. There is no limit.
Because they are so similar sandboarding is often compared to snowboarding. It looks a lot like snow. It acts a lot like snow. In fact, it is quite easy to cross over to sand at about the same level you snowboard within an afternoon or sooner with a lesson. Even if you have never snowboarded you will start having fun immediately.
Though it’s not snow sandboarding has all the pluses of spending a day on the slopes and a day at the beach in one. Healthy, clean and like surfing or skateboarding once you have the board it’s FREE! Sure it looks like snowboarding or surfing on the sand and it is close but just like each of those tiny grains that make up the dune, sandboarding is unique and has characteristics all it’s own.
The gear is pretty simple, a sandboard, sandboard wax, sun glasses or goggles. Dress weather according, no special clothing necessary. Dress comfortable. You will get sand in everything so expect it. You won’t have to wear shoes to sandboard as terrain sandboards have a soft neoprene foot strap system. While most people prefer bare feet socks are recommend to protect from rubbing sand. A full size sandboard, that is ridden on much larger dunes uses a boot binding system like snowboards.
Terrain sandboards however, are much more popular and require no additional gear. They are ready to go anywhere and easy to carry. 4 time world champion, Josh Tenge, recommends a twin tip terrain board especially on beach dunes.
Regardless of what you ride, if you’re sandboarding the Palm Desert or the Sahara you can find all the details on locations, boards and gear at Sandboard.com.
And, if you like the beach, skateboarding, surfing or snowboarding… hey, if you just like having a great time just about any time you want, you’re going to love sandboarding!
Feature image: Jackson Cruz on a Venomous Sport Sandboard at Honeyman State Park, Florence Oregon for the annual Xwest Huck Fest
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