You don’t have to be on snow to feel the need for speed on a board.
Sandboarding in Peru is an adrenaline rich adventure sport. It has gained a lot of popularity among locals and tourists. It’s also another option when surf is poor and snow is long gone.
CGTN’s Nitza Soledad Perez gave it a try.
The key is balance. Experienced instructor Abraham Fretell taught me the balance techniques, before heading down the dunes. Easier said than done.
As a first time boarder, I will admit, it takes some practice. My mistake, was not maintaining the right posture and sometimes celebrating way before finishing my descent, as Fretell later explained.
There is also the lie down boarding version. If standing is too hard, a sandboarder can also ride on his/her stomach, shooting head-first down the dune and down the participant goes.
This extreme sport was not on the official sport list, until recently.
“It’s getting more popular now, since probably three years or four. We have championships every year and we have international competitors coming to Peru to try out the sand dunes,” says Ernesto Orrillo from Explore Peru. He adds that professional snowboarders are coming to Peru to try the different terrain.
It’s usually practiced in coastal areas as well as in deserts. In this recreational activity, the quality of the sand is as determinant as the dune steepness. The equipment is also important. Sandboards come in different sizes ranging from four to six feet. Wood and formica are the most used materials in Peru. Also, helmets are a most for the participant’s safety.
Popular myth says that sandboarding originated in Ancient Egypt where the kings of Egypt used to slide down the sand dunes on thin pieces of wood or hardened clay. Brazil is also claiming the creative sport. So far there’s no clear winner.
If you are an adventure traveler, there are many countries where you can test your balance on the dunes. Peru is an option, but China, Chile, Iran, France, Namibia and the U.S. have their sandy slopes ready for you.