If you're presently a snowboarder or a wanna-be, you're going to love sandboarding. I realize that once the summer months hit, a snowboarder's lower lip begins to quiver.
Unless you live close to a ski resort, you're pretty much out of luck. The powder had melted and your board stands in the corner of the room, looking like a lost puppy.
Sports fans, rejoice! Sand boarding to the rescue. It is a heart-pumping, adrenaline rush, good the entire year round. No more seasonal blues for you.
There are now dozens of sand boarding competitions around the world and well-over 14,000 boarders in the United States, alone. Internationally, the sport is growing rapidly.
With a few, relatively easy preparations and precautions, your snowboard can be turned into a speed-demon of a sandboard.
In fact, a properly prepared board can give you speeds up to 60 miles per hour. Riding is much the same as as it is on snow, except that you will deal with greater friction than you would on powder.
There is also the problem of foreign objects such as rocks and sticks that you will need to watch for. You'll want to find some good slopes that are relatively free of debris. As long as you've been snowboarding a while, sand boarding will feel very familiar to you.
These days, sandboards are made of some of the very best materials, such as wood, plastics, and aluminum.
Depending on whether you're up to doing tricks and other daredevil stuff will determine your board size. Sandboards tend to range from 100 to 160 centimeters or more and need to be coated with a wax and a laminate like Formica (100% pure, liquid Teflon with hot wax on top is said to work great).
Sand is much rougher on a board than snow. Riding a dune is the equivalent of using a belt sander on the bottom of your board. You want to protect your board best you can.
Many people will use the sports boots attached to the snowboard and hit the sand like that. As long as you have sturdy bindings to put your feet into, you should be good to go. Of course, I would recommend the sports boots for added ankle protection. A helmet is always a good idea, as well. Keeping yourself in one-piece should be a priority.
Florence, Oregon has some of the hottest sandboarding around and is home to one of the few, if not the only, sandboarding parks.
Sandmaster Park boasts "40 acres of private sculpted dunes, chutes, bowls, rail slides, fun boxes and jump ramps." That should be more than enough to scratch your itch. An entire park specifically made with you in mind! They also provide board rentals and a pro shop which offers clothing, eyewear and more.
87542 Hwy 101, North
Florence, OR 97439
When in Florence, make sure you keep an eye out for Josh Tenge, who owns the Guinness Book of World Records entry for the longest-distance back flip at 44' 10" and is a frequenter of the awesome Florence dunes. I had a chance to speak with Josh and find out about want makes him tick.
So, pack up your gear, grab the sun-block and head out to the central Oregon Coast for some righteous sandboarding.