Sand is extremely aggressive to any board; riding high speed over a dune is no different from taking a belt sander to your base! We were brave enough to try this out with our brand new Burton Bullet boards which cost us a pretty penny. We suggest you don’t but if you must the board should be properly prepared before attempting any type of sand boarding.
In order to achieve maximum glide and minimum abrasion we first apply a uniform coat of “Zardoz NotWax”; 100% pure liquid Teflon. This soaks into the base to a greater extent than regular wax and keeps the board gliding long after the wax was been worn away. On top of the liquid Teflon we apply a good coat of “Dibloc Low Fluoro” high temperature Nordic Hot Wax (0C, that’s the highest they make it). This is done much like your base is waxed at the shop. We have found that a common clothes iron works very well for both melting the wax onto the board as well as applying the coat. When the wax is cool the excess is scraped off with a plastic putty knife and the board is ready to go!
As well prepared as your board may be without finding a dune to ride and the guts to challenge it you’ll find that this sport has the potential to be as rewarding as those elementary school afternoons playing in the sandbox. It should be noted that a perfectly clean dune will not commonly be found as it is the grass on the hill which keeps the sand from blowing away. This is not to say that rocks, sticks, and other large extrusive obstacles should not be avoided. Rocks can be especially damaging to the board and if you haven’t guessed it already yourself. Large sticks also have a tendency to scratch all involved. The hill should have a decent slope as riding on sand although comparable to riding on snow is slightly harder due to greater friction. Thanks to the careful preparation of the boards they received but a few minor scratches after multiple days of riding. A fresh coat of wax applied after each session will ensure that the damage to your board is kept to a minimum, or better yet cease to exist. We are not guaranteeing your boards well being but from experience the joys are well worth the impact!
We both use Flow bindings which are both very easy to get in and out of and are quite reasonable in the cash department. In theory any shoe will work with those but in order to prevent ankle injuries we decided to stick to our snowboard boots. Don’t be afraid of spending a few extra bucks for those nice stiff snowboard boots as a severely twisted ankle can keep you off the slopes for up to three weeks! Also, notice that despite the summer heat we are using pants and long sleeves in Sam’s case. Falling on sand hurts considerably more than on snow and flesh wounds are common due to the impurities found in the sand, rocks, or whatever else you may be unfortunate enough to hit!
If you’ve ever been on a snowboard the transition should be very natural. Lewis found the transition to snowboarding from surfing in the Hawaiian Islands to be very natural and in a similar aspect believes that anyone with a good sense of balance should have no trouble with basic riding on sand. Granted with experience comes higher levels of riding and such examples are displayed in our videos below.
Hiking up the dunes can be a real pain sometimes but it does get easier with experience. A few tips for dune trekking: stepping on the same spot over and over again compacts your footsteps and makes the walk easier every time. Choosing grassier areas over loose sand seems obvious but is sometimes forgotten in your haste to make it up the hill. Don’t worry, that guy in front of you won’t trace a hard line through the last bit of powder so just relax, think about what your going to do on the next run and your to the top before you know it! Although it doesn’t quite match the experience of a good chair lift, a good run will definitely make it worth the hike and Lewis is convinced that it can’t possibly compare to the death ride of getting onto and surviving those T-Bars that work for everyone but you!
Once you made it to the top, strap yourself in and go! Riding on sand is very much like riding on powder; lean back, don’t force sharp deep carves, and enjoy the ride! You would be surprised at the amount of speed one can get using the right stance on a well waxed board on a steep hill! Even on the little dune we were able to obtain enough speed to do some impressive carves and jumps!