Friday, November 20, 2015

Top 10 Sandboarding Countries of 2015

Welcome readers!

Last year, I conducted a sort-of chart for the Top 10 countries to do Sandboarding in 2014, now it is 2015's turn to do the same thing. Here's the top 10 countries to sandboard this year (potentially the next) and we shall see if there are any position climbers, fallers, non-movers or new entries to the table!

I have conducted these results upon the World Happiness Report, Homicide rate, costs of living, internet speeds and nominal GDP for the best results, including a bit of personal opinion too!
Now, here's the Sandboarding Nation Top 10 countries of the year!

10. United Kingdom (Great Britain) (last year's: no. 7)

This might seem unpatriotic of me but the UK has fell 3 places to last year's top 10. The reason is that the UK has lost interest in the Sandboarding scene due to new competitors (competitors we will get to shortly) the coast is the only main location of dunes but the rates of homicide are decreasing as is the happiness of the UK compared to last year. Britain is losing interest in sandboarding whilst at the same time, becoming a more known sport.
Courtesy of: Zorba the Geek License: CC BY-SA 2.0

9. Egypt (last year's: no. 2)

Falling 7 places, Egypt is still a prominent location for Sandboarding but has lost its presence in the top places due to it's political situation and safety at the moment in regards to threats of terrorism and shootings in rural regions. The cost of living is very low and Egypt does have some very popular and renowned sandboarding clubs but internet speeds are low, murder rate is average, GDP is average and the country does have a booming tourism sector! Egypt stays in the Top 10 because of its sandboarding clubs and tourism!
Courtesy of: Roland Unger License: CC BY-SA 2.0

8. Namibia (last year's: no. 6)

Namibia doesn't have home to many sandboarding clubs but what Namibia does have is plenty of Sandboarding tour agencies which will happily take you on tours to the top of dunes to take part in Sandboarding and also dune riding in a 4x4 vehicle. Namibia's safety is improving but the reason that Namibia falls 2 places, is that the country suffers from a slow internet speed and that Namibia does have a low GDP compared to last year's poll where Namibia was better off. The tourism sector is slightly improving but transport links are good as you can take an overnight train, 40 minute flight or a 4 hour drive from Windhoek to the prominent sandboarding areas of Swakopmund and Walvis Bay.
Courtesy of: Katie Hunt License: CC BY-SA 2.0

7. Qatar (New Entry)

Qatar is a new entry this year! This country has the 2nd highest nominal GDP in the world, the murder rates here are surprisingly low for a country in this region and the cost of living is acceptable, providing the country's position with finances! Qatar also is home to some well known sandboarding clubs and more associations which can take you on desert tours along with their dune buggies. Qatar is an slightly pricey country in a dangerous region of the world by its surrounding countries but Qatar is slowly opening up to the world of sandboarding!

Courtesy of: Peter Dowley License: CC BY-SA 2.0

6. USA (New Entry)

When I found out that the USA didn't make the chart last year, I was surprised to find that the United States had a lot to offer shortly after I published the original 2014 Top 10 countries. You can discover many sandboarding locations in the United States of America such as: Glamis in California, Sand Master Park in Oregon, Little Sahara in Utah, St. Anthony Dunes in Idaho and many more in the majority of the Western States. The cost of living in the USA is average, the internet speed in the USA is very fast and America does have a lot to offer in terms of sandboarding clubs and opportunities to explore this big country!

Courtesy of: Rebecca Kennison License: CC BY-SA 3.0

5. France (New Entry)

Aside from the media hype of the tragic events that have recently occurred here, France is the occupant of the 'Dune du Pilat' which is the highest sand dune in Europe. The 'Dune du Pilat' or Dune of Pilat complex is the only significant sand dune complex in the country but on the west, north and south coasts; France does have quite a number of small low lying dunes which aren't entirely best for sandboarding purposes but the main reason why France comes so high in this list, is the fact that France's GDP, happiness and homicide rate (excluding the recent attacks, which don't alter the result) are outstanding for the region! The internet rate is a tad slower than the UK average speed and the cost of living is a bit lower than the UK as well so still bit pricey to spend money in but all in all, it's a fair economy.

Courtesy of: Hagen de Merak License: CC BY-SA 2.5

4. Germany (last year's: no. 8)

For a country which is mostly landlocked, Germany has impressed me very much with the sand dune that is Monte Kaolino. That's it. There are a few other dunes in Germany and some short ones on the coastline but most of these dunes are protected and are nature reserves, so the exclusivity of the public sliding on these dunes is quite understandable. Germany's economy is said to be the 'best in the EU', the internet connection speeds overtake the next 3 countries on this list, the buying power and costs of goods are average but the good wages and fair economy (a bit like France) sums up for Germany's strong economic position. Germany has one of the lowest homicide rates in the world which is another good reason that Monte Kaolino (a holiday park with the only dune in the nation that is accessible) is a good place to go! The other best reason why Germany's sand dune gets a positive review is that it's the only sand dune in the world with a lift system which can take you up a dune.

Courtesy of: Zonk43 (no link available) License: Public Domain

3. Spain (non-mover)

Spain hasn't moved since last year, mainly because it's economy is improving since the financial fiasco back in 2008, the homicide rate is one of the lowest (like Germany), the cost of living and purchase power of the Euro in Spain is excellent (I've been there and it's just amazing value), people in Spain are happy and the internet speed is higher than the next 2 countries on this list (not as fast as France, however.) Spain comes like a second Germany in this list but one key advantage is that Spain has far more dunes than Germany and a warmer climate unlike its northern neighbour.

Courtesy of: Efotosadis (no link available) License: CC BY-SA 3.0

2. Australia (last year's: no. 1)

Last year's number 1, Australia still holds on to its key aspects on why it was so high in this Top 10 last year, the GDP is excellent and its cost of living is still high compared to last year's. Homicide rate in Australia is incredibly low and risks of foreign interference is very low because of Australia's tough foreign and customs policies. Australia is the 10th happiest country in the world, passing Israel and just behind the number 1 country. The internet is faster than Spain but not quite as fast as the country at number 1.

Courtesy of: Adam J.W.C. License: CC BY-SA 3.0


So you're guessing what's the country at number 1?

It's this one.

1. New Zealand (New Entry)

New Zealand takes the top spot for Number 1 country to go Sandboarding in the year! Due to its close factors and proximity to Australia, it takes the top spot but only just! Mainly because New Zealand has an internet speed just faster than Australia (New Zealand has a speed of 7.0 Megabits per second on average whilst Australia has an average of 6.9). New Zealand is the 9th happiest country (compared to Australia's 10th rank) and is the happiest in this top 10! The cost of living and purchasing power in New Zealand is very good with its good GDP in that part of the world, the homicide rate is low and overall, New Zealand is just a hub for sport! You can go bungee jumping, diving, skydiving, zip wiring, mountain biking and even rock climbing! Another thing on that list too is Sandboarding as New Zealand has a very unique and diverse collection of dunes ranging from the tall, steep, curvy and long-winding. That's why New Zealand managed to be number 1 this year.

Courtesy of: Michal Klajban License: CC BY-SA 4.0 Modified: No

Break for a while

I've come to a decision that I've observed that the sandboarding season is fading away for this year and will come back as soon as it gets more warmer in the northern hemisphere, I understand that in prominent places such as Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Namibia, etc... where sandboarding is commonplace, it'll be a slight distress but I'm getting a new job, new education, new car and hopefully a new laptop so blogging can be easier because right now, it's distributed by nights and locations ranging from my bulky desktop to the library to other people's laptops.

I was a little late posting this today just because I broke the midnight barrier! The next post will be up on New Years' Eve (December 31st 2015) and it will be a year in review of what's gone on during this year including some news stories and or photos!

See you before the new year and keep checking here so often for some updates!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Make your own sandboard wax

Hello fellow sandboarders!

Now, sandboarding wax is a great way to pick up some speed and make your ride more adventurous on the dunes but nothing is free in this world so I will be hoping to find the best and most effective 'do-it-yourself' or replacement waxes.

Now, sandboarding wax is beneficial to a good ride; However, it can cost a fortune over time (depending on how often you go down the dunes) and it is NOT universal for every complex you ride on. For example: sand, gradient, moisture and friction can all contribute to how good your ride can be.

I've done research on alternatives to waxes which you could use at home and on the dunes!

Vaseline


Since sandboarding wax which is sold on markets is a paraffin based wax, it's created from petroleum so your first potential answer could be Vaseline.

Vaseline is cheap, good quality and durable. It is slippery when it is applied to a board (wood or plastic) and is a lubricant so can prevent against moisture if it somehow hits your board. Vaseline is also good for minor cuts so if you hit yourself on that rock or cut on that bit of wood, you'll be covered!

Crayon Wax


Sandboarding Nation likes to be creative, so this is where I'd introduce Crayon Wax because, it has a low melting point, since some crayons are made of charcoal, oil and chalk; the chalk could be used as a sort-of 'brake' on slippery sand as the chalk will cause surface tension on the sand. Buying crayons may get you some weird looks at the checkout but most crayons are greasy and can be slippery in moments!

Another advantage of crayons, you can choose the colour of your wax (possibly scent too!) Talking of scent...

Edam Cheese

You won't get a cheesy scent from this method but the red casing of wax on a piece of Edam Cheese (when cut) can be used as a good method to make your ride a bit more fast! I'll say that this kind of wax is very difficult to melt and not that greasy at all but in your own home, if you add a little bit of something which might help (I don't know I'm not an alchemist) preferably something a bit like Vegetable Oil, you could get the best ride of your life!

Maybe not vegetable oil on the board along with Edam Cheese wax but maybe another cooking oil could do? Right?

Cooking Oils/Fats

Cooking Oils such as Olive, Sunflower, Rapeseed, Corn, etc... can be very difficult to use mainly because they're not a solid at room temperature. You can imagine that these very slippery oils could potentially be resistant to the sand particles and create no friction (or maybe reduce friction to a minimum) Could that happen?

Final Thoughts


Maybe I'm wrong. In this post, there's not meant to be right or wrong answers! I'm giving potential suggestions to things that you should really buy! I'd like to class myself as a regular sandboarder but in all my 8 to 9 years of sandboarding, I have only used wax once and that was car wax. It made a slight difference but could that be down to the altitude? weather? acceleration? etc... I'm not the expert on waxes, I got a science qualification from school but that's about it.

If you want to know more about sandboarding wax from people who know what they're on about, try and have a look at Doctor Dune's Sandboarding Waxes, it gives good advice and tips if you're doing ANYTHING on the dunes! Take a look at: http://www.sandboard.com/drdune/ask/ask5.htm

My conclusion from this post is that you could make your own, but it might not work, might cost more money instead of save but most of all, it doesn't give credit to the people who make sandboarding waxes for us. I'd take the safe bet and buy sandboarding wax from a local, professional or online dealer who knows what they're talking about.

Also, if you've tried to make your own waxes and if you know which ones work and which ones don't. Drop me a line at the Sandboarding Nation Twitter and Facebook pages, I'd like to read your findings!

My next post shall be published on the 20th November and it will concern the Top 10 countries for 2015 (a bit like last year's Top 10 countries for 2014) I hope to see you then!