Saturday, December 31, 2016

Why was there no review for this year?

If you remember last year, I did a review for 2015.

I was hoping that I would do one for this year, however; in a turn of events and low blog reading figures; I decided that for the benefit of the blog and for a lack of views, I would scrap the Sandboarding Nation review, and just keep the "Top 10 Sandboarding Countries" as that annual list is popular for the blog.

Oh, and I was late last year as well. If the review's for the previous year are going to be late then that's another illustration on why I shouldn't publish this. I would plan ahead but with college work and my other job being a drain on my time and resources. I will stick to basic posts every once in a while along with the Top 10 Sandboarding Countries every year.

And 2016 was a disasterous year if you were a famous person, so rest in peace to all who fell this year. :(

Top 10 Sandboarding Countries of 2016

In 2014, Australia took the title and in 2015, New Zealand was the best country to go Sandboarding; it's that time of the year again where this blog has to choose the top 10 Sandboarding countries for 2016!

From a short list of the 200-ish countries in the world, only 10 will make it here and only 1 will be the 2016 winner! Let this annual blog post be a potential heads up for keen travellers and I'm personally proud to be doing this on a yearly basis now; so without any further ado, let's begin!

10: Ireland (new entry)

Because of an incredible report from Sandboard Magazine and ultimately leading to the formation of Dune Riders Ireland, I'm giving the Republic of Ireland its rightful place on the Top 10 of Sandboarding countries this year, this small island that is not far from the mainland of the UK boasts a good reason to come here; Ireland's unique culture blended with these sand dunes will make this place a fantastic holiday not just for arts & culture, but for adventure and sport too! Whilst Ireland has a very high cost of living compared to the UK, it ranked higher than the UK on the 'World Happiness Report' with Ireland at #19 and the UK at #23.

Ireland has a slightly higher crime rate than the UK and even India; but another good thing is that Ireland is joint 6th with Germany in the Human Development Index (compared to the USA at 8th place and the UK at joint 14th with Sweden). Overall because of the formation of the new DRI unit in Ireland and for such a lovely country next to the UK, I'm happy to include Ireland on the list for the first time!
Courtesy of: Graham Horn License: CC BY-SA 2.0 Modified: No

9: Qatar (last year: no. 7)

Qatar was featured on last year's list at Number 7, it has gone down this year primarily due to competition from the other countries on this list; crime is relatively low in the country, in 2015 the UN ranked Qatar the highest for Human Development in all of the Arab states; however cost of living is very high in Qatar compared to their neighbours and in other parts of the world, mainly because of its Oil-orientated economy.

Unlike Ireland, Qatar has sand and lots of it; another reason why Qatar makes it onto this year's list; It is become ever-so increasingly more easier to visit this country but the high cost of living and tension within the general area across many of the neighbouring countries, it didn't appeal for Qatar this time, but it is still a promising spot if you fancy coming here!
Courtesy of: Peter Dowley License: CC BY 2.0 Modified: No

8: Tunisia (new entry)

Tunisia has seen a spike in tourism here in the last few years, because of its close proximity to Italy and the European continent, Tunisia is becoming a more desirable spot for tourists; crime is significantly higher than that of Qatar (especially for bribery and corruption), Tunisia still maintains high human development but one thing that attracts tourists here is the very low cost of living here! Prices in Tunis (the capital) are 62% cheaper than what they are in the United States and rent is 82% cheaper in Tunis than the US average.

Tunisia still has plenty of sand for a small country, but one place that I've personally been researching is 'Djerba', where sand dunes dominate the landscape and there's a lot of history here from the ancient empires and caliphates that used to rule over Tunisia; overall, if you want a good blend of history and the desert, this is a good place.
Courtesy of: David Stanley License: CC BY 2.0 Modified: No

7: Germany (last year: no. 4)

Germany has come back to this list for another year and rightfully so, because it's a good country! The human development, population, and economy is the highest in all of the European Union. Germany welcomes tourists and is especially keen on its heritage. Germany is known for one of the lowest intentional homicide rates in the world, it also has a high cost of living as the economy is prosperous and also because it is based in Northern Europe (Northern European countries tend to be more expensive than Southern European).

There is one reason why Germany dropped a lot of places this year, Germany has one major sand dune site, Monte Kaolino (pictured); however, that's it; Germany doesn't have any other sand dune sites so the choice is extremely limited; I've been to Germany myself and there are shops to visit and good restaurants and there's always events on too (maybe a car show if you're tired of the sand dune for a day). Because Germany is a good country with good values, it would have been a lot higher in the ranks but since it's come to my attention that there's only 1 sand dune site, it's just becoming the same thing so that's why Germany's gone down this year.

Courtesy of: H. Helmlechner License: CC BY-SA 4.0 Modified: No

6: Uruguay (new entry)

If you're a keen reader, you'll remember my post on Uruguay earlier in the year; I never knew that this country had sand dunes, I genuinely thought it was farms and city blocks and farms and city blocks. Whether the dunes are in Cabo Polonio or Punta Del Diablo, the dunes are away from bustling cities and towns so it's very peaceful for your ride! The climate doesn't make the dunes too hot in the summer and also quite tolerable in the winter months as well.

This is the only country that was granted independence from Brazil as Uruguay was once a province of the former Brazil, crime rates however in Uruguay are quite high, especially for vandalism, theft, and crimes involving drugs; having said that, this was the first country to legalise the sale, possession, transportation, and cultivation of Marijuana in 2013; the cost of living is only about 7% lower than the United States' average; however, the average 2 person rent in the capital (Montevideo) is roughly $708 USD (£574 GBP as of 30th December 2016), the liberal government of this country is another factor that makes Uruguay appealing to visitors; this country could have potential to go higher in the list next year if it sorts out its crime rates.

 
Courtesy of: Montecruz Foto License: CC BY-SA 2.0 Modified: No

5: Spain (last year: no. 3)

Spain still maintains a strong position on our leaderboard, whilst Spain is roughly on the same level as Germany in terms of homicide rate, Spain has a very valuable tourism market and an extremely low cost of living; there are a couple of downsides however, there is a moderate level of crime (however it's getting lower if you compare this to previous years) and it's the same with its unemployment rate currently at 22.7% (at April 2015 when the last figures were available), however like the crime rate, there is a steady decline.

You've got the mainland with dunes in the South West of the country, close to the border with Portugal; the North West in the Galicia region, and you've got the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa (which are Spanish territory); this country has potential to go higher but it'll have to compete against heavyweight countries (which are higher on the list)

 
Courtesy of: Efotosadis License: CC BY-SA 3.0 Modified: No

4: USA (last year: no. 6)

This year has been an eventful one for the USA, but the sandboarding scene has helped the nation gain 2 places in this years' rankings. The crime rate in the USA is lower than Uruguay's, the cost of living is a tad cheaper than the UK, as of June 2016 the USA has an unemployment rate of 4.9% but at the same time it has the strongest economy in the world and is the 3rd most populous and 4th largest country by area.

Whether the sand dunes in the South West states are you favourite, or Michigan, or even our friends at the Sand Master Park in Oregon are your best dunes; there's always a piece of the nation that's bound to have sand dunes (there are even sand dunes in the non-contiguous states of Alaska and Hawaii), the tremendous work of Dune Riders International, Sand Master Park, and the tourism companies in the USA are making this place more appealing to the sandboarding tourists, along with the countries above me, this made the list without a shadow of doubt.
Courtesy of: US Border Patrol License: Public Domain

3: Namibia (last year: no. 8)

In my younger days, I would always want to go to Namibia for the sandboarding. Namibia has always been a notable country for sandboarding, as the country is known primarily for the Namib and Kalahari deserts; the majority of the country has a warm, desert climate and this could be a potential factor as to why Namibia is the 2nd least densely populated country in the world (behind Mongolia).

The cost of living is almost the same as it would be in the UK, so it is moderately high; the unemployment rate is 26.33% however, the beauty and worth of this high ranking is due to the sheer volume of sand dunes in Namibia itself, it has the sand dune regions of Walvis Bay, Swakopmund, Big Daddy Dune 7, and Sossusvlei. Namibia is a growing destination for sports enthusiasts and I personally still want to visit Namibia one day.

Courtesy of: Katie Hunt License: CC BY 2.0 Modified: No

2: Australia (last year's runner-up)

Australia had won the list in 2014, and came second last year; this year there is no change with 2nd place! As of September 2016, the unemployment rate was 5.6%, and the 2nd lowest homicide rate in Australasia (tied with Tonga);  Australia is a large country (or continent, I won't discuss that now) and the appropriately named "Great Sandy Desert" is full of sand dunes available for the sandboarding. Kangaroo Island in South Australia is an ever popular resort for sandboarding as well!

Australia has a high cost of living, and that's where the bad news ends; I have never been to Australia but it sounds like my type of country given of how the general feel is there for sports and the likeness of summer, sun, and sport in general; I'm still worried about the species of spider in Australia hence why I'm put off by it (that's the only reason though). Australia could have just as easily been the top country but that award was given too...
Courtesy of: Turtletime13 License: CC BY-SA 4.0 Modified: No

1: New Zealand (last year's winner)

 
For a 2nd year running, New Zealand takes the title of the Top place to go Sandboarding this year! New Zealand's 2 islands both have a good standard of sand dunes and this country is a fantastic spot for thrill seekers! As the north have more sand dunes than the south, it's convenient as the capital (Wellington) and Auckland are on this half of the country.

If it isn't sandboarding then bungee jumping, skydiving, and zorbing can be done here as well; it has been referred to as "Australia's Australia" and a lot of people would think it's too far on a plane from the UK; having said that, New Zealand has the lowest intentional homicide rate in Australasia (remember? Australia and Tonga were joint 2nd), in 2011 New Zealand had its lowest crime rate in 15 years making the country a lot safer than some of the others on this list. Unemployment is at 5.7% and the cost of living here is 6.74% higher than the USA's average and finally, the minimum wage in New Zealand is $15.25 NZD an hour (£8.55 GBP as of 31st December 2016)

Courtesy of: MartinRe License: CC BY-SA 3.0 Modified: No

Well, that concludes the list for 2016! I'm sorry it was a bit late but I got it on time! Join me soon for another post soon and please be anticipated for the 2017 list! Have a happy and prosperous 2017 from Sandboarding Nation!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Book Progress: 9th December

I understand it has been a big jump in blog posts; however, I have never forgotten about this book or blog. My word count is now 6,377; I have had college assignments every week which are crucial to my education, and work whenever I'm not at college. I have had very little room for blogging and I apologise; however I'm still going to be here! Still on Twitter and Facebook as well!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Book Progress: 16th August

I'm not making any posts lately, so far it's just book progress. I've done my 16th page and my 3,554th word; I'm still going and I won't be stopped.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Book Progress: 11th August

As an alternative to sandboarding posts (which I have some scheduled), I will give you progress on my upcoming book for bloggers, sandboarders, and those inbetween! So far, I have written 8 pages and 1,411 words; this isn't the end and I want to work up to a level where I will have over 150 pages and when the book comes out, it'll take up a considerable space on a bookshelf. I've wrote about some problems that I face when I blog and also how I started the blog so far, there's definitely more and when there is, you'll all be the first to know!

Monday, August 8, 2016

Working on a book

Good news! I have made the executive decision to begin writing material for a book that'll be published for this blog. It'll feature excerpts by me into how I started this blog, my ethos for the blog itself, my so-called 'mission' for Sandboarding, and it'll feature some of the posts on here and give my thoughts after I wrote them. More information on the book will be available in the not-so distant future, however in the meantime stick to Facebook, Twitter, and Patreon and you'll have everything you need to know.

If you're lucky, you might even win a copy! Signed!

Friday, August 5, 2016

What Happened to Holywell Bay?

Have you ever been to another place twice? It's not as good the second time, am I right?



As mentioned in the Sandboarding and Cars article, I mentioned that I went to Holywell Bay before the article was published (28th July 2016) and I would spoil a surprise but in the article, it said that I thought of a way of transportation up a dune which was a quad bike. I thought of this because I was climbing up the dune and it really did strain my legs which would have also made the experience more fun. I came home and I realised that Holywell Bay wasn't as good as what it used to be anymore, it's more of a surfing resort now instead of a Sandboarding complex, even though the dunes are plenty I was the only person on sand dunes (it could have been 2 or 3 people in total but what I saw, I was the only person), the dunes are not really for usage in Holywell Bay and are more of a landscape feature now.



Courtesy of: Nilfanion License: CC BY-SA 4.0 Modified: No


I'm not saying this to irritate the native population or to drive off tourism, Holywell Bay is a good place but the Sandboarding craze isn't as good as what it was before; is it due to lacking UK interest in Sandboarding? Who knows? However, it may be a factor as to why the UK or England doesn't have an association with Dune Riders International.

I felt my legs naturally memorising the route across the dunes, I explore new dunes for the first time that were already there for centuries and that's when I realised why Sandboarding isn't as popular anymore.



The dunes all over have a lack of maintenance, plants and sharp thistles can find their way into your feet if you walk over some loose sand; glass, litter, and rusting metal can be found here and it looks like it doesn't want to be cleaned up or maintained by a local council or beach administration organisation. I might have thought that Holywell Bay was once a booming location as The Sun once compared it to Bondi Beach in Australia, calling it one of the seven wonders of Britain! If that's the case then it makes me feel that Holywell Bay should have its own place in the next edition of Off the Map by Alastair Bonnett as nowadays its more of an abandoned sand dune desert-like region than a tourist spot.


Holywell Bay's rival, Bondi Beach in Australia. Courtesy of: Mike Switzerland License: CC BY-SA 3.0 Modified: No




I don't want to be bad towards Holywell Bay, surfing schools are popping up, there are a few pubs in the main village, and there's a theme park on top of a hill so there's still a lot to do and the town is not at all with the dunes in this article, as of now I've been to Holywell Bay for my 10th consecutive year and now I think this might be my last. Sorry, Holywell; your dunes need fixing.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Sandboarding and Cars

This is a Sandboarding blog, the name of the sport is pretty much in the name of this blog; but every now and again I will buck the trend of Sandboarding (whilst still remaining on topic) and talk about something else; whether it would be donating to charity, my patreon account, passing my driving test, or even sports camera batteries.

As you could probably tell by the title of this post, this is regarding the sport in which I'm specialised (I hope you'll believe so) and my other favourite sport, driving!

If you live in Southern Africa, the "Deep South" of the United States, or in the Rub Al-Khali (empty quarter); you'll need a good set of wheels to get you from A to B. If you have a lot of sand dunes near you and you lack good roads, or if you're just enthusiastic about Sandboarding as I am, then you need a specialised (or at least good) vehicle to get you around those dunes.

[Disclaimer] I passed my UK driving test in May of this year, there's no opportunities to do extreme driving in the UK as I would lose my license and my car is an economical hatchback, not a 4x4 that has the power to go at high speed up a mountain. This article is intended for advice and entertainment purposes only as I'm not a driving instructor or indeed have a qualification in the driving profession. [/Disclaimer]

My car. Courtesy of: Ganymede81 License: CC BY 3.0 Modified: No


My car is a MK4 Seat Ibiza, it was first driven on the road on my birthday of 2003; which also was the breakout of the Iraq War; the manufacturer claimed to have 63 brake horsepower and 47/48 miles per gallon. My car has a 1.2 litre petrol engine and the top speed is about 103 miles per hour (even though my speedometer goes up to 140 miles per hour but never mind). My car is fantastic, I love it, I really do; but it's not the sort of thing I would take to go to Namibia or even in the USA to go dune-bashing (Yes, that's what it's called), nevertheless the car is my first and hopefully my last.

If you're going to use dunes, try using a dune buggy. Dune buggies usually have a cage equipped so in the unfortunate event that your vehicle is upside down, you can tip it back to normal. Literally. The engine size of a standard dune buggy can vary from 200cc (cc means Cubic Centimetres) to about 2 litres in engine size.

Courtesy of: Alberto G Rovi License: CC BY-SA 3.0 Modified: No
Dune buggies not only make you look cool but they're also lots of fun... when it's a nice day, if the weather is rubbish and it starts to rain or if you're going through a zone with lots of sand; you will most likely get covered in sand; they're not very fast either, a standard 250cc dune buggy will go at 60 kilometres per hour (37 miles per hour).

If dune buggies don't take your fancy and you prefer comfort in the desert, then you should opt for something more fancy, for example: An off road 4x4 vehicle, such as a Land Rover, Range Rover, Jeep, Mercedes-Benz G-Class, or a Hummer. These vehicles will cost significantly more than your dune buggy or your basic, young driver, economical hatchback like mine. My Seat Ibiza was purchased for £400 ($525 USD as of 26 July 2016), a 2016 dune buggy with sand rail costs about $46,000 USD (£35,019 as of 26 July 2016), and a brand new Mercedes-Benz G Class will happily sell for £88,800 ($116644 USD as of 26 July 2016).

Mercedes-Benz G Class from the Classic Moto Show 2014 in Kraków, Poland. Courtesy of: Dawid783 License: CC BY-SA 1.0 Modified: No




The picture above is an example of a Mercedes-Benz G class, this is an early model but more recent models will be equipped with air conditioning, heated seats, traction control, cruise control, and a treasure chest full of useful features that'll combine luxury, comfort, and power. You don't even have to use four wheels for a small economy car, a dune buggy, or a high cost, high standard, and high luxury vehicle to get up sand dunes and cross a horrible, uninhabitable, dry, rocky, and hot desert.

Yesterday, I went back on Holywell Bay Sand Dunes and I won't spoil the surprise but I had a thought and I was thinking of a method to get up sand dunes, that method was a quad bike. Quad bikes might not have the luxury aspect but they have 4 wheels, and they can get you up a sand dune in no time! Quad bike engine sizes generally vary from about 200cc to usually 1000cc or a 1 litre engine size, quad bikes are a good method of getting around off-road but most quad bikes are not generally road legal and will need modifications in order to make it road legal. Quad bikes can go from about £1,000 to £15,000 each ($1,319.27 USD and $13,192.65 USD respectively as of 29 July 2016).

Quad bike doing two-wheel trick. Courtesy of: Peter Ellis License: CC BY-SA 3.0 Modified: No
Now you've seen some of the possibilities you can transport across sand dunes and a desert area, you can choose whether you want to be in luxury or to be in a standard vehicle, speed or power, style or substance; whatever you choose it'll be a good choice to go in one of these vehicles. Pick-up trucks and SUV's are also good to go across a desert but you'll need modifications or a sports' model if you want to go far! It's also important that you have the items you need if you have a breakdown, get stranded or if you have any injuries; be sure to also have appropriate vehicle insurance if you're going far (and keep in mind, in some countries including the United Kingdom, vehicle insurance is compulsory).

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Introducing: Sandboarding Bites

This is not a new name for a restaurant (however, if the Sand Master Park wants to use that name they're more than happy to), this is going to be a new section on the blog website, Twitter, and Facebook pages that will give short tips and bitesize information on how you can make your sandboarding experience just that bit better!

For example, the first tip (or Sandboarding Bite #1) is this: "Before you go Sandboarding, it's always essential to check your weather forecast before you get there."

This might sound pretty basic but I will change the tip on a regular basis (no longer than fortnightly) so the segment on the website stays consistent; also, on Facebook and Twitter the Sandboarding Bite will be updated on those 2 platforms the same time as I do it on the website.

If anyone's got any useful pieces of advice; feel free to comment on this post, tweet me @sandboardblog, or send me a message/comment on the Facebook page and I will happily credit you.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Patreon Investment Programme

As the editor, founder, CEO, chairman, executive (or whatever you want to call me) of Sandboarding Nation, I have a belief that there are other people out there who have the same struggles as me, that is having a blog and or website that has the content and topic for content but doesn't get the attention or credit it needs; I'm not saying my blog is under-rated or it deserves more views, as that's down for you to decide.

Patreon is a good method to collect funding for your projects, this website is similar to Kickstarter and Indiegogo where if a lot of people like an idea or project, users will back it. As of the 22 July 2016, I've had no funding on Patreon so all of this blog has been funded by my own pocket change, but now I'm going to be giving an opportunity to some creators who may need some help.

If you're a creator who has a blog or if you're an aspiring sports writer that has a Patreon page, get in touch as I could potentially invest in you!

Send an email to "invest@sandboarding-nation.com" with a short message saying what you have to offer, a link to your Patreon page and you could receive my help!*

This opportunity ends at Midnight (British Summer Time) on the 15th September 2016 and winners will be announced in an upcoming blog post towards the closing date.

*Minimum of guaranteed $1 pledge over the course of 12 months.

Rio 2016: The Fate of Russia's Athletes

You might have heard that in the news recently, athletes from the Russian Federation have been banned from participating in the 2016 Olympics in Rio De Janiero, a handful of athletes and the Russian National Olympic Committee failed to overturn the ban that prevented track and field athletes from taking part in the Olympics that'll start in the upcoming weeks.

Russia ran a state-sponsored doping programme for athletes looking to participate in sporting events, the Russian athletes who were clear of doping allegations may also still be banned from participating in the games altogether, but a select number of athletes may be able to be Neutral (Independent Olympic Athletes) if they meet the required criteria. Independent Olympic Athletes' isn't something new, since 1992 IOA's have come from East Timor, South Sudan, the Netherlands Antilles, & former Yugoslav states have participated in the games under this banner. Independent Olympic Athletes compete as such for a number of reasons; political or civil unrest, international sanctions, no national Olympic committee (such as South Sudan at the 2012 Games in London), or even if their national Olympic committee has been suspended; which is why some Russian athletes could compete as IOA's in Rio this summer.

Olympiyskiy Stadium in Cheboksary during European Athletics Team Championships 2015. Courtesy of: АлексИзз License: CC BY-SA 4.0


Russian athletes could participate under the Olympic rings, but I'm going to ask the question: "What is doping?"

Doping is the act of using banned performance enhancing drugs or medication when taking part in sports in order to gain a competitive advantage. Athletes who are caught using performance enhancing drugs will be in hot water with the sports association, (the IOC, FIFA, NFL, etc...) and also could be in violation of local laws. However, doping can't be a perfect solution to solving the enigma of apprehending cheats; as there are some everyday products that will falsely trigger a drug test failure, such as: common cold remedies, snack bars with high levels of protein, poppy seeds, ibuprofen, and tonic water; these products have traces of banned substances in sporting associations but if you're caught with these substances in your urine or blood, you will be banned.

Protest banner at 2006 Tour De France. Courtesy of: Wladyslaw License: CC BY-SA 2.5 Changes Made: No

Moving away from doping and back to mother Russia, when the Soviet Union was crumbling apart the athletes participated as the "Commonwealth of Independent States" and not the Olympic flag, as this was somewhat of a successor to the Soviet Union. At the 1980 Olympics in Moscow, there was a boycott lead by the United States and 14 national Olympic committees had athletes take part under the Olympic flag instead of their own. The 1980 boycott had nothing to do with doping, it was regarding the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan back in 1979 which was a time when the Cold War was in full swing and a nuclear war looked like a possibility.

If there may be a boycott at these Rio games, then it'll be the first one for non-political or military reasons.

"no-one cares my career is ruined." - Sergey Shubenkov, Rio 2016: Russia ban is 'the rebirth of the Olympics', BBC

Shubenkov who is the current 110m hurdles champion applied to compete as an Independent athlete in the Rio 2016 Games but shockingly, his request was denied. The clean athletes are punished by the International Olympic Committee by the actions of the athletes who were playing foul. The fate of the Russian athletes now stands in the hands of the IOC itself, the credibility and reputation hangs in the balance for the IOC. Will we see the Russian tricolour at the games? Will there be a handful of athletes under the Olympic rings? Or could there possibly be another boycott led by Russia just like in 1984?

The Olympic Movement Flag. License: Public Domain

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

1,000 Facebook Likes + All Time Record

If you follow the Sandboarding Nation Facebook Page, then you'll have heard that we finally got 1,000 likes on Facebook! I couldn't have done it without you and I'd like to thank you all for your support since 2014! Also, on the 17th July 2016; the blog got the most views on the website in one day (which was 175 views); so the recap, we've got 1,000 Facebook likes (and counting) and the highest viewing figures on the blog for a day we've ever had.

So we've had 2 achievements in one week! The blistering UK weather may be a contributing factor, who knows? But because I'm feeling proud of everyone who views this blog and who holds an interest in this blog, I am going to set up a competition where an SJ4000 Sports camera will be won (Similar to the one I use)! To be in with a chance of winning, all you need to do is either like our Facebook page or follow our Twitter page.

All the Facebook likes & Twitter followers will be put into a draw where the winner will be chosen at random to win a Sandboarding Nation T-Shirt, the draw will take place at 10pm on the 15th August 2016 (British Summer Time), the winner will be notified by Facebook/Twitter message that they've won!


So that blog is about it, it's all good news! The thousand likes, the blog record, and a competition to celebrate those events!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Heavy Heat for the UK: Emergency Article

If you live in the UK, you're probably reading this furiously sweating with the air conditioning on full blast; but if you intend to go Sandboarding in the British Isles this week, whether it's in Merthyr Mawr, Holywell Bay, Braunton Burrows, or anywhere with dunes; you should take extra care out there.

Make sure you wear appropriate sunscreen or sunblock with at least a sun protection factor of 15. NHS England says there's no safe or healthy way to get a tan. A tan doesn't protect your skin from the sun's harmful effects.

The sun is at its strongest between 11am and 3pm, you can even get sunburn when it is cloudy. When buying sunscreen, make sure you see both the UVA and UVB labels, check the expiry date of sunscreen as well because sunscreen usually has a shelf life of 2-3 years.

Always wear sunglasses, a wide brimmed hat, and apply at least 2 tablespoons of sun lotion if you're planning on covering your whole body. Most definitely, don't spend any longer in the sun than what you would without an appropriate sunscreen.

I will do a bigger article on this soon but this is a quick and important announcement for anyone planning on Sandboarding in the UK for this week, or even for the whole summer! A longer article will come soon. I decided to write this as it's currently 32 Centigrade in my hometown which is on the 52nd parallel and I don't want anyone to get a nasty burn this summer (or ever).


Saturday, July 16, 2016

What is "Sandboarding Nation"?

You have probably clicked here because you're curious to know what exactly is "Sandboarding Nation"?

Contradictory to its name, Sandboarding Nation isn't a country or nation so to speak; the community of people and sportsmen & sportswomen that make up this sport are the 'nation' and the Sandboarding is the sport that is practised in that general sense. This is a blog which I established on the 12th October 2014 when I was about a month in college and already hating it to my guts that I needed a hobby to occupy my time and blogging was that hobby that occupied my time.

As my interest kept growing, I decided to set up a Twitter & Facebook page for the blog. My blog kept growing and I soon found myself wanting to stop writing as the interest and target market for my blog were lower than I perceived, but I decided not to stop as I thought to myself that I'm on a mission to provide 3 core values:

  • To promote Sandboarding and gain interest amongst the sporting community
  • To entertain readers and inform the population
  • To devote spare time of mine to something constructive
As long as I kept myself on track for these 3 values, then I'm hoping you'll believe I'm doing something right about this blog. The blog has cost me more money than I have made from it, it's something that I enjoy doing and something that I will keep going back to even if every once in a while I will take a break from it. As I write this; I have 5,002 views on the blog itself, 773 Facebook likes, and 33 Twitter followers as of the 16th July 2016; I anticipate those numbers to grow as I expand my blog and devote more time to it, I can't imagine that this blog will ever replace my job but the more I contribute to this, I'll feel like I'm doing more. In the future, I hope to do an international visit on Sandboarding, publish a book, make an app for Android and iPhone based on this blog, and I hope to have someone else reporting with me on this blog so one day, maybe one day, Sandboarding will get the recognition it deserves and hopefully be as popular as Snowboarding or even better, football.

If this is your first ever visit to this blog or if you're reading this blog post because of the "Learn More" function on Facebook, then let me introduce you to this blog and formally welcome you into my "Sandboarding Nation", I will be overjoyed if you would read some of my material.

If there's only one thing you'll remember from this blog post, it is that I'll always put you first and I will always be delighted when people just like you and me visit this blog and see what I have to offer!

I'll always have more things to write on this amazing sport, I've loved this sport since I was 8 and at the time of publication; I'm 18. A ninth of my current life has gone to blogging, Five Ninths of my life has gone to Sandboarding, I'll always want to learn more about blogging and Sandboarding. If there's something that I should work on, tell me. If there's something that I need to write more on, tell me. If there's something that I need to stop, tell me. I've based this blog on what the readers have wanted since 2014, I remember when I had 452 views and I can see the changes I've made to it, I'll keep on with this blog until I stop. I don't care if the blog costs more than it pays, it occupies my time and it keeps me productive.

Now, I'll ask you this question if you've made it this far into the post; will you be a part of my Sandboarding Nation? Will you join me?

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Sandboarding in the Olympics

Since the Nagano Winter Olympics in 1998, Snowboarding has been a sport in the winter Olympics with venues, medals, podiums, winners, crowds, and nationalistic pride. If Snowboarding is in the winter Olympics, why can't Sandboarding be the summer alternative?

Sandboarding has been a sport growing in popularity and it's looking to increase popularity as the days go on, snowboarding has been the more popular of the two and even video games, box office movies, and novels have been based on Snowboarding; however if you remember when I first began this blog, I made a post on the History and Origins on Sandboarding where the general answer online was that Sandboarding was invented in the 1st century AD (or CE) and that Snowboarding came around in the 19th & 20th centuries (anywhere between 1800 and about 1950-ish).

Courtesy of: US Geological Survey License: Public Domain
The construction of a sand dune is tedious as it involves centuries of sand being formed by wind, as the grains of sand get more and more, the dunes get bigger and bigger and that is a reason why sand dunes have a windward side and a leeward side; having said that, the construction of an artificial dune is somewhat easier, you could just go to one of those companies that specialise in building materials and buy sand bags (not building sand, preferably one that doesn't contain a lot of water molecules), and with millions of pounds later (in both currency and weight), have yourself a sand dune that's about 25 metres.


Okay, maybe I'm being a bit too over-ambitious; why not take a dune that's already had the many years of forming and use it for the sport itself, it might work for promoting local businesses, tourism to a local area, and making people sandboarding instructors; that's what happened to the small town on Alamosa in Colorado. Alamosa has a population of about 8,000 at the last census and now has a good tourism sector due to the Colorado Gators Reptile Park and the Great Sand Dunes National Park, if it can work for Alamosa then surely some very low population towns could use the same treatment, right?

Alamosa City Hall. Courtesy of: Milan Suvajac License: CC BY-SA 4.0 Modified: No


Take Alamosa as an example, if you called the US National Olympic Committee to the dunes, got some traffic cones, wooden ramps, and tape as an example then you could use that 'course' as an example track for a slalom discipline for Sandboarding, same can be applied to other disciplines like Ski-jumping (obviously with a sandboard and one ramp only). If someone submitted that to their national Olympic committee, I'm sure that the sport would get some consideration and thought from their NOC, however; if it's not accepted then just make a better course or even better, start a second Sand Master Park in Oregon and in due course, you could make Alamosa the next Florence (a town in Oregon home to the Sand Master Park).

Sand Master Park was founded in 2000, the population from the 1990 census to the 2010 census rose from 5,162 to 8,466 inhabitants, keep in mind that when the 2000 census was taken in Florence (population: 7,263) the town had it's second highest rise in population since being founded (40.7%) after the 1950 census which had a population increase by 124.0%; so it can be deduced that populations can be increased by tourism in the area, and back in Alamosa; the population in the 2010 census compared to 2000, increased by 10.3%; this could be because that the Sand Dunes Preserve was upgraded to a National Park by the US Congress back in 2004.


Those last few paragraphs about Alamosa and Florence are related because I believe that the sandboarding interest could boost tourism to a local area, and stimulate a local economy, keep in mind that sandboarding instructors, park rangers, tour guides, litter pickers, and office staff would be needed if you wanted to start a local sandboarding club or park, however that's a story for another time. So my final statement is that if Snowboarding can increase tourists to Austrian, French, Andorran, Norwegian, German, and Swiss towns; why is it that people don't tend to believe that Sandboarding can increase tourism to Namibian, American, Spanish, Egyptian, South African, and Australian towns? If you entice more people into a sport and make more people interested, you'll get given a louder voice when it comes to sports in the local area, hence if more voices are being generated by Sandboarding gaining popularity, then that will be the core reason why Sandboarding will be an Olympic sport with venues, medals, podiums, winners, crowds, and nationalistic pride.

Gold Medal from the 1976 Montreal Olympics. Courtesy of: Cliff License: CC BY 2.0


Saturday, July 9, 2016

New Patreon Rewards

As some of my readers will know, I have an active Patreon campaign and I made a post on this a couple of months back (I remember because I was in a shopping mall when I wrote it).

In the early hours of last night, I changed the rewards for my Patreon campaign so you can get more for your money if you'd like to support me as a blogger; here are the rewards which I'm going to offer if you choose to contribute to me:

For $1: You will get a mention on the Sandboarding Nation Twitter and Facebook Pages & the blog website itself for your contribution!

For $3: You'll earn the Facebook, Twitter, and site mention; but you'll also get a mention on the bottom of a blog post every once in a while. You'll also get access to my Skype so you can ask me questions or chat!

For $5: You'll get the $1 and $3 rewards but you'll also get access to blog posts before they get published (via Facebook Group)! You'll receive a letter thanking you for your contribution (and another letter every 3 months or so to say how the blog is doing)!

For $10: You'll get the $1, $3, and $5 rewards, including the chance to put your journalism skills to the test! You can send your article to me by e-mail and once I've done some proof-reading and checking, I'll put the post on the blog! If it's really good standard, I'll let you write some more!

I'll single-handedly admit, these sound like average rewards; but if you choose to invest in me, I can assure you the quality of the blog posts will be fit to standard! The money will go far and it'll make a difference with the car (I can travel to dune regions and make reports) and also it'll help the blog, blog comes first, I come second. I've been passionate about Sandboarding for nearly 10 years and I've been blogging since my first year of college which was October 2014 and back then, I can look back and say the quality was somewhat lacklustre; but now I'm keen to improve and make my blog constantly better 24/7 and all 365.25 days of the year!

Friday, July 8, 2016

Sandboarding Dodgeball

Earlier when I was walking around my town this week, I was thinking if there were any sports you could do whilst Sandboarding. I came up with Sandboarding Dodgeball, which is where you have one person on the dune with everyone else on Sandboards surfing down the dune, whoever the person standing on the dune without the sandboard hits with the ball, the person who was hit becomes the next person to stand on the dune with a ball, and gets to hit more people on sandboards coming down. Whoever is the last person sandboarding (or the last person to be hit by a ball) wins!

Now that description above sounds difficult and fiendish; however, I will take an example with 8 players and give you a process into how the game is played. For instance, say that this game with 8 players will take place on a sand dune that's 20 metres (66 feet) in distance from base to apex.

Safe Zones

The last 5 metres of the dune will be a 'safe-zone' so you can't be hit with a dodgeball by anyone on the dune and you'll be... safe. There will also be another 'safe-zone' 3 metres from the start so you can get a good speed ready when you go down the dune, all people going down the dune must go together. There is a certain width in which all players must stay within the boundaries, if a player goes out of these side boundaries, then a player is automatically disqualified.

Courtesy of: Jack F. Booth License: Public Domain
The Dodgeball Decider

Take the 8 players, to decide who goes on the dune with the dodgeball first, a race must take place and whoever becomes last is declared the first person to lose and stands on the dune with the dodgeball.

The Main Game

The 7 players who didn't become last in the race will now make it from the Starting Safe Zone to the End Safe Zone, the objective for the sandboarders is to not get hit by the dodgeball. The person stood on the sand dune with the dodgeball gets one hit only (one dodgeball per thrower); if a dodgeball hits someone, the person who was hit is the next person to stand on the sand dune with the other thrower. Throwers must not go forwards or backwards but can pivot and sidestep; Throwers can choose to stand wherever they like however must stay in that position for the rest of the game (except for side-stepping and/or pivoting).

Rebounds

If a dodgeball rebounds and bounces off one player and hits another then they both become the next people to stand on the dune (throwers). Also, if a dodgeball bounces back to the thrower or if a dodgeball can be claimed by side-stepping, then the dodgeball can be picked up by the thrower and used again.

Hitting a Player

A dodgeball may be hit on any position of a player, if a thrower hits a player's sandboard, then the player is not out and the player may carry on. If a player falls on the dune, the player can continue unless a player is hit by a dodgeball.

Determining the Winner

A winner is determined if there is only 1 person left on the dune, this can be possible if you're never hit by a dodgeball at all, or if you're the last to be hit by any player. If there are 2 people on the dune and everyone else is a thrower, then whichever player is hit first, they will be the runner-up and whoever is hit second (or not hit at all) will be the winner.

Grounds for Disqualification

When disqualification occurs, you'll be out of the game but you won't be made a thrower either, you'll be off the dune and out of play. If you're in a disqualification area for more than 3 seconds, you will be automatically disqualified, if you're make any abusive contact (punching, or shoving off balance) will make the player automatically disqualified; and if you don't start at the same time as all the other players, you'll be disqualified.


This is one of my ideas for a regular sport that'll take place on a sand dune, I wanted to make more ideas for sports on sand dunes that cross extreme sports with conventional sports. If you have any questions, ideas, and/or sports you'd want me to cover then I'd be delighted if you commented on this post or sent me a tweet @sandboardblog

Unlike Britain, We're Remaining!

Last week, I put up a vote on the change of our name whether you want to Remain as "Sandboarding Nation" or change the name to "Sandboarding Times" and with only 2 votes, we're remaining as Sandboarding Nation (2 votes to Remain and none to change). It's a low Low LOW turnout but it's still a winner.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Merthyr Mawr, Wales

When most people think of Wales (or Cymru for the locals), people tend to think of the Brecon Beacons, herds of sheep, Gareth Bale, the dragon on its flag, and that lovely place called "Llanfairpwllgwyngyll­gogery­chwyrn­drobwll­llan­tysilio­gogo­goch". However, Wales is more than just a green wonderland, it's also home to the Merthyr Mawr Sand Dunes (2 and a half miles from Bridgend town in Wales).

The Merthyr Mawr sand dunes are a Site of Special Scientific Interest and are home to some of the largest dunes in the whole of the British Isles, on TripAdvisor (fantastic website) the dunes are known to have some good views, long walks, and a big range of altitudes as some dunes are high and low; however, this does come at a cost, parking is a long walk away, and there are no facilities. Parking charges will apply in certain parts of the year so make sure you pay for parking otherwise you might end up with a hefty fine; I think it's worth it as these are the second highest sand dunes in Europe (the highest being the Dune of Pilat in France). As this YouTube video below will demonstrate:



Courtesy of: Fry1989 License: CC BY-SA 3.0
Merthyr Mawr is part of Wales, which in turn is part of the United Kingdom, and since the United Kingdom is part of the European Union (for now), it is part of the freedom of movement so if you're from Germany willing to come here, you can do so without those hefty visa fees! Wales is one of the 3 constituent countries of the United Kingdom, the other 2 being England and Scotland (Northern Ireland is not a country of the UK, it is a province). Welsh and English are the languages spoken in Wales, however the common trend is that Welsh is more spoken in the North of the country and that English is more common in the South, as the location of Merthyr Mawr is in the South then English is your language of choice; even if these dunes were in the North, most if not all of the people will be able to understand English fluently or enough to get by. Getting into Wales will be a bit of a challenge, if you drive in from the M4 or the M48 motorways in the South, you'll have to pay a toll which is roughly £6 (as of July 2016) and most international flights from long distances come into London so you'll need to drive, catch a train, or fly to Cardiff, and then take a short train, bus, or drive to Bridgend. The whole of the UK uses the Pound Sterling, and so you won't need to exchange your money when you enter Wales.


I will hopefully visit these sand dunes in the future but I hope this article will help you choose another destination for Sandboarding if my previous one on Maspalomas wasn't your place of choice. Please don't be fooled by the photo below as that Merthyr Mawr does have rivers and grassland, I couldn't get a photo that was free-to-use of a proper sand dune.

Courtesy of: Mick Lobb License: CC BY-SA 2.0

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

One Referendum After Another?

As you are aware, the UK had a referendum last Thursday that the population voted to leave the European Union. On Sandboarding Nation, my mission is to provide you with good quality, non-biased, and independent news, also I want to spread sandboarding to the population like how political figures spread Conservativism.

My message to you (the readers) is that I have been thinking if the name of this blog should be changed to something more reflective of the blog, I was thinking of "Sandboarding Times".

Pro-Change (For Sandboarding Times)

  • Sandboarding Times makes it sound more of a news source.
  • The new name would call for major reconstruction of the blog.
  • The new name can trigger a new ethos and/or constitution for the blog.
Anti-Change (For Sandboarding Nation)

  • There would be a need to change pages & logos if a new name was adopted.
  • The name would lose the aspect of community (the 'nation' in the name makes the site sound like a community together).
  • Sandboarding Nation can keep up its duration of history (keeping under one name & domain)
This may sound like a dumb question for me to ask all of you but it's also a question I'm willing to propose as a sub-part of the Readers' Survey which I published earlier this week. I will publish a link allowing people to vote for the new name, users can only vote once and there are no restrictions on who can vote; the vote will be available for a week and anyone can vote for whether the blog should keep its name as "Sandboarding Nation" or "Sandboarding Times".

If you want to vote, click on the "Name Change Vote" page on the top of this webpage and you've got until 12am (British Summer Time) on the 7th July 2016.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The European Union

In the midst of all of the news regarding that the United Kingdom is to be the first state to leave the European Union, there are calls for a second referendum, the resignation of the British Prime Minister, and worries on what the future will hold for the European Union and the UK alike; if you're bewildered by the news, then this is what you should know.

The European Union is a collection of countries on the European continent which all pay membership fees, vote on laws that states have to follow (the people who decide these laws are known as Members of the European Parliament that come from the member states), have a freedom of trade, no tariff fees, and a freedom of movement of people.

The member states of the European Union as of the 28th June 2016, are as follows:
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • United Kingdom (A referendum in June 2016 found that 51.89% of voters wanted to leave the European Union)
If the UK does leave the European Union, it is unsure whether British visitors can visit EU states via the freedom of movement policy; the Freedom of movement applies to people & trade in the European Union so there are no visa requirements or passport fees for EU citizens visiting other EU nations.

Flag of the European Union. Courtesy of: Verdy P License: Public Domain


European Economic Area (EEA)

There are 3 other European nations that aren't in the European Union but the European Economic Area (EEA) and these countries are:

  • Norway
  • Liechtenstein
  • Iceland
These nations have to pay the European Union membership fees; however they don't get a say in the laws which all EU & EEA states must follow but they do get a pass on some laws such as Agriculture, Fishing, Taxation, etc... These European Economic Area countries also have to accept the freedom of movement of people so Greeks, Brits, Spaniards, Italians, and the Finnish can visit, study, live, retire, and work in Norway, Liechtenstein, & Iceland and also that Norwegians, Liechtensteiners, & Icelanders can live in Greece, the UK, Spain, Italy, and Finland. EEA states also have free trade with the rest of the EU states including Switzerland.

Switzerland & Schengen

Switzerland is not a member of the European Union, or European Economic Area; so pan-European law doesn't apply in Switzerland; but Switzerland is a member of the Schengen area. The Schengen area does not make laws, impose tariffs, or anything for that matter; it is an agreement between 26 states that make international border pretty much void. In the words of YouTube user CGP Grey, "You could walk from Lisbon to Tallinn without identification or the need to answer the question, 'Business or Pleasure?'."

The border between the Netherlands and Belgium, no customs officers or passport checks. Courtesy of: Jérôme License: CC BY-SA 3.0

There are some EU states that don't conform to this rule because they want to 'opt-out' and these EU states are:

  • United Kingdom
  • Ireland
  • Cyprus
  • Croatia
  • Romania
  • Bulgaria
So, in order to get to these 6 locations you will need a passport and good reason to get there, it also applies in reverse so non-Schengen British citizens going to Schengen Sweden will need a passport as do Schengen Swedish citiens going to non-Schengen Britain. Also, the EEA states (Norway, Liechtenstein, and Iceland) are Schengen states.

Eurozone

The European continent has its own currency, affectionately named the "Euro". You may have heard about the Euro currency from Greece and the financial crisis in the country, the Euro was launched in 1999 and many states removed their national currencies from circulation in favour of the Euro. There are some European Union member states that do not use the Euro currency however the Euro is expected to adopted by all states by the year 2020; these rebellious countries are:

  • Bulgaria (Lev)
  • Croatia (Kuna)
  • Czech Republic (Koruna)
  • Denmark (Krone)
  • Hungary (Forint)
  • Poland (Złoty)
  • Romania (Leu)
  • Sweden (Krona)
  • United Kingdom (Pound)
The Euro in Coins & Banknotes. Courtesy of: Valentina Gatta License: CC BY-SA 4.0 Modified: No


This is good if you travel within the Eurozone as there's no need to constantly exchange your currency, the costs of living will vary by country and in Spain a coffee may cost you €1.50 whereas in France, the same coffee will cost you €1.95.

I'm merely qualified to talk about politics or indeed European politics, however the continent with its politics, economics, diplomacy, and treaties are an enigma and if you want to know more, you should go to your library, or educational facility and see if you can find more information. This is not a sandboarding related post, however; if you want to travel to Monte Kaolino (Germany), the tallest sand dune in Europe (Dune of Pilat in France), Holywell Bay (the United Kingdom), Maspalomas (which is in the Canary Islands, which are a part of Spain.), or the dunes of the Curonian Spit (the majority of the spit is administered by Lithuania); you'll need to know about Europe.

Before I go

As the UK has voted to leave this union, the future is uncertain for Europe and the UK itself so don't take this for gospel but at the time of publication, the information is correct as of 28th June 2016 and politics may change everything. The European Union member states give citizens access to free health care in the other European countries, and a common driving license is valid throughout Europe as well; luckily, I passed my driving test a month before we decided to leave Europe, but if I'm honest, I don't think I'll be able to exercise that liberty very soon.

    Facts About Uruguay

    It's been a while since I've published a blog post but I'll hopefully be doing more blogging whenever time is an abundant source to me; I've seen a recent advert on Facebook about Sandboarding in Uruguay and I didn't think that Uruguay would be the kind of country to have sand dunes as I've known it to be full of farms, crops, harvesting, and urban central areas a bit like France, Switzerland, or even Ireland for that matter but I was wrong. I saw the advert for Sandboarding in Uruguay so I thought I would make a post highlighting facts About Uruguay!

    In English, Uruguay is the only country whose name has the same letter 3 times in its first five. To top this off, it's also the only country whose name has the same 3 vowels in its first five letters; this makes Uruguay unique as the name isn't created from a lot of letters from a game of Scrabble or Boggle; but primarily because...

    The country was named after the Uruguay River. The translation of this country's name comes from the Guaraní word to mean "river of shellfish" or alternatively, the "river where the painted birds live", this river was most likely referring to the Uruguay River which makes the entire western border between the country and Argentina to the west. The Río Negro is a river that splits from the Uruguay River and splits the country in half creating North & South parts of the country; the sources of both rivers are located in Brazil. Brazil shares good economic, political, geographical, and cultural ties with Uruguay which is good for both countries! On that note...

    Flag map of Uruguay. Courtesy of: Andriyko UA License: Public Domain


    Uruguay was granted Independence from Brazil. Only Uruguay and Paraguay are the only 2 countries that were previously governed by Brazil, Uruguay was originally colonised by the Portuguese & the Spanish until Uruguay earned its independence following a four-way dispute between Brazil, Argentina, Spain, and Portugal. Prior to independence, Uruguay was a province of the Empire of Brazil known as "Cisplatina" up until 1828 when the treaty of Montevideo was signed (not the Montevideo Convention, but the Treaty of Montevideo) which was mediated by the British and lead to Argentina and Brazil recognising the newly formed country of Uruguay.

    The first FIFA World Cup was held here. In 1930, Uruguay held the very first FIFA World Cup competition, the home nation didn't lose a single game and in a 4-2 victory over Argentina in the Final, Uruguay won the first World Cup in 1930; to top this off, Uruguay also won the tournament in 1950 also, without losing a game. Uruguay is also proud rugby nation with 3 qualifications to the Rugby World Cup in 1999, 2003, and 2015. Uruguay also like Basketball and as of October 2015, they're 27th place in the world rankings.

    The world's first country to legalise Marijuana. As a blogger for a Sandboarding news website, I aim to be impartial and unbiased but depending on your side of the debate on marijuana legalisation; it doesn't matter in Uruguay as it became the first country in the world to legalise the use, trade, and distribution of Marijuana. The former president of Uruguay, Jose Mujica has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize by a Dutch pro-drugs institution for legalising Marijuana; talking of Jose Mujica...

    The former president Jose Mujica (in office: 2010-2015) Courtesy of: Vince Alongi License: CC BY 2.0


    The world's humblest president: Jose Mujica. This 'humblest president' title wasn't for nothing, the president himself was in casual clothes for official meetings, he had donated 90% of his annual salary to charities (the Uruguayan presidential salary is roughly $12,000 USD); he lives on a farm, he drives a 1987 Volkswagen Beetle (fantastic car in my opinion!), picks up hitch-hikers, and waits in line at a public hospital like everyone else. Here's some sad news on this gentleman, he was shot 6 times and put in prison for 14 years for opposing the country's former dictatorship. Despite being shot and imprisoned before becoming president in 2010, he's legalised gay marriage and marijuana, he's been responsible for the nation's rising salaries, and lowest ever unemployment rate; he ever left office in 2015 with a 70% approval rating!

    Treinta y Tres. The translation of "Treinta y Tres" from Spanish is "Thirty Three" or simply, 33. Treinta y Tres is the capital city of the Treinta y Tres department in the East of Uruguay, since the city & department is translated to the number 33; these next facts will sound spooky: the city and department are 33 degrees South, the postal code of the city of Treinta y Tres is 33000, the record low temperature in the summer is 33 degrees Fahrenheit, the city of Treinta y Tres and 2 surrounding suburbs make a population of 33,000, and finally the department is named because of 33 patriots in the 19th century that were honoured by the Uruguayan people.

    The train station of Treinta y Tres. Courtesy of: Domingo Crizul License: CC BY-SA 3.0

    Demographics of Uruguay. The population of this country is 3.407 million as of 2013, with the capital city of Montevideo having 1.305 million people (this means that 38% of Uruguayans live in Montevideo.) Uruguay has a life expectancy of 76.91 years which is the 3rd highest in South America behind Colombia and Chile at 2nd and 1st respectively; Uruguay (according to Freedom House) has the most freedom in South America, it even beat France by a few points (I included France because of French Guiana in South America).

    Safety is amongst the highest in the region within Uruguay, crime is kept to a minimum; Spanish is the official language, the driving age is 18 and Uruguayans drive on the right hand side of the road, UK and US citizens do not require a visa (under 3 months for US citizens and 90 days for UK citizens) & the currency used is the Uruguayan Peso (as of 28th June 2016, £1 GBP was equal to UYP $40.99).

    Cabo Polonio National Park. Courtesy of: Luciacasanovascasso License: CC BY-SA 3.0


    Sand dunes in Uruguay. I'm a Sandboarding writer so I'll blog on what I know best, I've only managed to find 2 notable sandboarding hotspots (there are more but they primarily lie on the coastal areas) in the country: Lomas de Solymar in Canelones department & Barra de Valizas in Rocha department. The National Park of Cabo Polonio is also home to some high dunes, they may be protected but I couldn't find any restrictions, however I wouldn't risk it. They look good to go down but since they're primarily on coastal areas, it makes Uruguay a bit like the UK in my opinion, so if I ever visited this country to do some Sandboarding, it might make me feel at home as the temperature is pretty good as well as it's the only South American country that's not within the tropics.

    Valizas in Rocha Department, Courtesy of: Fedaro License: CC BY-SA 3.0
    I'd like to make a final statement on this article, it took me a good 4 hours to write this and I could vaguely recall learning some basic information about Uruguay when I was about 6 years old in school, after writing this article and presenting the facts and information to you now, my perception on Uruguay has changed, I want to go there, and I've definitely learned something from this!

    If there are any Sandboarding Nation readers who have ever been to Uruguay or indeed any Uruguayans reading this blog or post for the first time, please get in touch with me via Facebook, Twitter, or by commenting on this article if I've missed any information out.

    Monday, June 27, 2016

    Blog Satisfaction Survey

    This is something that I've never done before but as this blog has been going for over a year now and I thought to myself that I would need to heads up on how you all think of my blog, Click on the link here to answer a 2 minute survey on the blog! Your feedback is very important to me, there is no closing date and all answers are taken into consideration so I can provide the best blog for everyone! Thank you!


    https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/C5NVRVL

    Wednesday, June 8, 2016

    International Borders for Eager Sandboarders

    I'm a fan of Geography and I like to read up on International borders, quite simply a border is a point where 2 or more countries meet. However the border between the nations of Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe in Southern Africa is a quadripoint. A quadripoint is a location where 4 territories meet, since the quadripoint with Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe is on the Zambezi River, you could technically swim in a circle in all 4 countries if you were that ecstatic.

    Courtesy of: Htonl License: CC BY-SA 3.0


    Last time, I mentioned on how amazing it would be if you could Sandboard from one country to another, making that method of border crossing quite bizzare. I cannot find any documented account of any event where a Sandboarder or Sandboarding group have successfully crossed an international border by Sandboard; you need to make sure that the border is open (So you don't crash into a fence) and that you're legal to do so (I am not responsible for any lawsuits, I'm just a blogger trying to make a living).

    You could cross US states using this method and likewise I haven't found any entries online of such an event happenning, if there are adequate dunes, you could cross from somewhere such as New Mexico to Arizona; or Oregon to California; or if you really want to push the boundaries, somewhere remote such as Saudi Arabia into the United Arab Emirates (there's plenty of dunes there). If anyone's looking for any sponsorship to carry out this event, I would love to see this happen (however, money is somewhat tight).

    There's the Australian State borders such as Victoria to South Australia, or Queensland to New South Wales, or even Western Australia to the Northern Territory (that last one is even better as the Northern Territory isn't really a state of Australia). There's plenty of International borders in Africa too; say, Algeria into Libya, Egypt into Sudan, Morocco into the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (or Western Sahara if you don't recognise the country), Niger into Mali, Chad into Libya, or any 2 nations that have an international border next to the sand dune complex (or indeed on it).

    If there are any further advancements that a sandboarder can cross into an international border and go over into another country, I'll be hugely impressed, and the first one that does such a thing, films it, and let's me know by comment on this post will receive a free Sandboarding Nation T-Shirt.

    I understand I've been off blogging for a while but I've been focusing on driving as I've recently passed my test so I can do travelling now if I really wanted to, stay on the Sandboarding Nation Twitter and Facebook pages for more updates.

    Wednesday, May 25, 2016

    I've passed the test!

    I was meant to not do any of this blogging for a while but I may have mentioned about this before, but now I just wanted to say that I've passed my driving test! I can go up and down the British Isles to cover Sandboarding articles for the benefit of the blog! The insurance is a bit of a bummer and it's a bit of an expense however I can do more in regards to covering the whole of the U.K. in terms of blogging and news coverage!