Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Don't Get Scammed When Buying SJ4000 Batteries

I know it's: "Sandboarding Nation", not "SJ4000 Sports camera Nation", but in my additional research for the blog, I noticed there was something strange when buying products on Wish.

If you take a look on this page: https://www.wish.com/c/54abfeb328565a3efbe8c57a you will find the same model of my camera (the only difference is that there is a logo on the front of the camera) including all of the accessories I received too, but there is an extra battery; this comes (as of 21st March 2016) to £68 ($97.80 in USD & €86.97 in EUR) which sounds reasonable considering that the camera would come to £47 at most on Wish which would make the extra battery cost £21 (£68 for the product - £47 for the camera (average) = £21 for an extra battery).

The extra battery which would otherwise come to £21 sounds expensive but people may still pay for this 'good' deal; however, click here https://www.wish.com/c/5671a70c174c1e2c8daf73df and you will find 6 batteries for the same camera for £12 (as of 21st March 2016). If you buy a normal SJ4000 from Wish without any spare batteries for roughly about £47 and buy a pack of 6 spare battery packs for £12, you're paying £9 less for a better value deal and if that wasn't good enough, you get six batteries included instead of an extra one, so in total if you were to buy a camera and the six batteries, you'd have 7 in total (since 1 is included)!

So think about it, would you rather pay £21 for a camera battery pack or would you rather pay £12 for six which equates to roughly £2 each (£12 ÷ 6 = £2). However, in the last week I purchased a set of 5 batteries for £10 which still equated to £2 per battery, I chose this as the shipping was cheaper for 5 batteries instead of 6 batteries and the total differed by about £3 so I decided it wasn't worth buying another battery for less value, so it's your choice and it also depends on which country you live in! I personally don't care about an additional 6 batteries as I'll be just as happy with 5 batteries!

This is intended to be a small post as it was meant to be a sub-post for the article on buying cameras, I'm just looking out for any scams and any tricks of the trade which I'll happily share with the Sandboarding Nation! If you notice any scams and/or cunning tricks to help beat the system, let me know as I'll be more than happy to investigate and maybe write about it; send me a message to: blog@sandboarding-nation.com and I'll do my research and I will blog about my findings!

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Volunteer Bloggers Wanted!

Are you an individual who's a fan, sportsperson, writer of sandboarding? If so, get in touch with this blog as I want to hear from you!

  • Need to live in a country with Sand dunes (i.e. not city states or Antarctica).
  • No qualifications in Writing, Language, or Journalism needed.
  • No minimum age.
  • Must be able to deliver good articles that'll promote the interest of Sandboarding and engage the audience.
  • Must be able to communicate in a good level of English (Spanish is acceptable)

If this sort of thing interests you, send an e-mail to blog@sandboarding-nation.com with your name, country of residence, and why you'd like to write for Sandboarding Nation; I'll ask you to submit an article on a subject of your choice (doesn't even need to be Sandboarding) in around 1,000 words and if successful, you'll be welcomed onto the Sandboarding Nation blogging team! Your voluntary duties will involve writing articles about Sandboarding in your local area and I'll be having the final say on articles and who knows, you may publish more articles than me!

Friday, 25 March 2016

Camera Caution!

You might remember the blog post I made on my new Sports Camera in September 2015 view article here, but I've recently discovered that you might want to think twice when you're about to buy a specialised sporting camera.

My camera that I use is very reliable for my needs and it came with an accessory pack so I'm not too fussed on the cost; however on the article in September I made, I noticed you can get the same camera which come with accessory packs and WiFi connectivity for up to £5 cheaper on average but for just £5, I don't care because I've got what I wanted and I'm happy it's still working for me. I purchased the camera in July for £45 (which came to $68 USD rounded in September 2015) and when I clicked on the link in that article for the camera on the 21st March 2016, the same product gave me a price of £44 ($63.37 USD & €56.34 EUR as of 21st March 2016) which is only a difference of 1 pound so I don't care.

The camera itself is called the "SJ4000" and if you search for that on Wish, you'll find a range of similar products and the camera bundle itself, it's also important to point out you can find products already included in your accessory bundle which you can use if you need a spare, and you can also find accessories that aren't included in your original pack but become essential once you have them, such as the tripod, suction cup, battery charger, 12 volt charger for cars, and velcro harness for camera placement. From what I've observed, the cameras on Wish are generally in the £40 - £50 region ($58 to $72 USD as of 21st March 2016) for my model with the accessories, however if you want everything the same but just without the WiFi function on the camera, all of the models I saw without WiFi came to £37 each, which isn't bad but if it's the same camera but just another £8 for WiFi connectivity, I'm better off paying the £8 difference as it's the same and WiFi connectivity will just save me time, so it's your choice whether you want to pay for a WiFi enabled camera but keep in mind that you need to download an iPhone app in order to use the WiFi function. Below is an image of what the SJ4000 looks like, just in case you haven't seen one.

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

I'm happy with what I've got but recently, I found on Wish that you can get a camera with the same specifications and accessories http://www.wish.com/c/5656a5c26a9b4d3233481909 for only £13 ($18.47 USD as of 23rd March 2016), but you don't get WiFi connectivity on the camera; so technically if you compare the £13 cost for a WiFi disabled version and the £45 I paid for my WiFi version, I would have been happy with the version without WiFi as it could technically mean that you pay £32 extra just for a WiFi enabled model, which is an extra 71% on top of the camera's cost; this makes me a little bit annoyed but the way I see it, is if I pay for more I think I might get a more reliable and durable model of the camera, it might be true and it might not but since my camera has worked for over a year, I'm happy overall.

But it's not just Wish, which is a site for bargains and also cheap products which can be faulty so be cautious; it's also big retailers such as UK superstore Argos which sell cameras for good cost too; for instance, Argos are selling a 'Kodak SP360 Action Camera' which can record 360 degrees at 1080p High Definition, up to 160 minutes of recording time, 16 megapixel camera, waterproof up to 60 metres, and many more useful features! As of the 21st March 2016, this item comes to £249.99 ($359.89 USD as of the same date) which is good if you like doing panoramic and 360 degree videos; but if you're a standard camera guy/girl with basic needs then maybe you don't need to go to these lengths.

Courtesy of: Jefferson Graham License: CC BY-SA 4.0 Modified: No
Above is a photo taken by a similar camera which also has a 360 degree lens, it's not the £249.99 Kodak model but it looks just as desirable!

And if high tech sports cameras, 360 degree cameras, those old Flip cameras, or even those sports cameras from Wish are a bit too complicated or even pricey for you, there's always the humble iPhone; notable for it's questionable battery life and for being a very successful product, I used to use my iPhone for personal sandboarding photos and videos prior to starting this blog; you can buy yourself a hard shell and airtight iPhone case for a good price if you look online so you can record, but what I used to do is put my iPhone in a couple of layers of cling film so that the sand wouldn't get in the lens or the electronics of the phone; I wouldn't recommend it now since I've got a camera but even if this was the only thing I had, I still wouldn't recommend it as it's just too risky as sand can be more damaging to a phone than you might initially think.

Finally, since 'Selfie Sticks' are selling well now, you might want to take advantage of those as the extendable arm can go pretty far and get you a good opportunity for some good videos or pictures; If you want to see how good these Selfie Sticks are on Sandboarding, take a look at our Twitter Page where sometimes you can find videos of Sandboarding, you can also look on YouTube for some Sandboarding as well; now I could go on about drones with cameras and the little remote control helicopters with cameras as well but those are articles that I will write soon!

Thursday, 24 March 2016

We've changed our logos!

 We've changed our logos, the one on the left is the former Sandboarding Nation logo used between the blog's foundation in 12 October 2014 and the 24th March 2016.

If you're using a browser such as Internet Explorer, Safari, or a browser that has favicons, you would have noticed that the new "S" logo replaced the former favicon on the 18th March 2016.

And as you can see above, the Sandboarding Nation text logo has been slightly lightened and the bottom half, the 'nation' part has been centralised.

I understand this isn't any major news but this is just a minor post detailing on one of our many changes to this blog!

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

5 places that are difficult to access

I'm sure that visitors like seeing new places when they go on their holidays but a friendly reminder that not all countries like new visitors, In this article I will be expressing 5 places on earth that are very hard to get to for travellers if you want to Sandboard here, I will be including countries and regions that have sand dunes and for people like me, make the nation a gold mine when visiting there.

Courtesy of: Central Intelligence Agency License: Public Domain
This is Libya, this is one of the largest countries in Africa by land area (4th largest in Africa before Algeria, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Sudan.) If you have an Israeli passport, visa from Israel, or if you have ever been to Israel, you will be denied entry. If you come from a country at risk of transmitting the yellow fever virus, you must have a vaccination if you are to enter Libya; all visitors must register with the police within 1 week of their arrival, this is usually done by a local travel agency which can do this for you; However, failure to do this could result in you receiving a fine when you leave Libya. Also, keep in mind it's only been since 2011 that the Libyan Revolution had occurred with dictator, Colonel Gaddafi being killed so it is strongly advised that you keep cameras away from military personnel and/or military bases. With all of that in mind, Libya is home to the Marzuq Sand Sea and a large portion of the Sahara. Keep in mind that the Sahara isn't the largest desert in the world, the largest are the Antarctic & Arctic; the largest hot desert in the world is the Sahara by far.

Courtesy of: TUBS License: CC BY-SA 3.0
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is an extremely difficult place to get into. As I mentioned in Libya's case, if you have previously travelled to Israel or if you hold an Israeli passport, you will find it extremely difficult if not impossible to enter Saudi Arabia, also if you come from a country at risk of yellow fever, you need a vaccination. All visitors including religious pilgrims will need a visa for access and if necessary, a Hajj visa if you wish to make
a religious pilgrimage. Sharia law is strictly enforced in Saudi Arabia, possession of alcohol is forbidden and crimes including drug use or drug smuggling carries the death penalty, homosexuality also carries severe penalties, women are not allowed to drive, and if you are female you must have a male companion with you or upon arrival; foreign women married to Saudi nationals must have their husband's permission to leave Saudi Arabia. Despite the customs and laws in the Kingdom, the nation holds the Rub Al-Khali (the empty quarter) which holds some really high sand dunes along with the Arabian Desert which hosts some tall dunes good for stunts and for speed.

Courtesy of: Central Intelligence Agency License: Public Domain
The Islamic Republic of Iran is a country with lots of history and interest but it's important to note that the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office strictly advise against all travel within 10 kilometres of the Iran-Iraq border, 100 kilometres of the Iran-Afghanistan border, the province of Sistan-Baluchistan, and the area east of the settlements of Bam & Jask (including Bam but excluding Jask). Homosexuality, sex outside of marriage, and adultery can carry the death penalty; since the country has its laws based on the Quran and Sharia law, the laws are similar if not the same in Iran as they are in Saudi Arabia. Dual nationals in Iran are only recognised as being Iranian. Visas are required prior to entering Iran and for females over the age of 9 should wear a headscarf in their Visa application photograph. Just like in Libya & Saudi Arabia, travellers from countries at risk of yellow fever transmission need a vaccination and if you have an Israeli passport or if you have ever been to Israel, you may be refused entry. Iran does have some very good sand dunes in the "Dasht-e Kavir" which stretches over a large part of Iran including a smaller "Dasht-e Loot" desert, also Iran is the only place outside of Africa which has lions in the wild.

License: Public Domain
You wouldn't think that the United States of America is difficult to get into, but you'd be wrong (but not far off) as the U.S. is extremely lenient compared to Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Libya. Entering America will need you to be fingerprinted for a database that fights terrorism, also you will need a Visa however this process if very easy. Laws can vary from state to state and some can very easily carry the death penalty. You also need to prove you can support yourself financially when you enter the United States, and if you hold a criminal record (even for some minor crimes in some cases) you may be refused entry in the nation. It can't be too bad in the USA, after all the Mojave Desert is here with a high concentration of sand dunes and the world's first sandboarding park is here (Have a look at "Sand Master Park" on this blog, I made a post about it less than a year ago)!

Courtesy of: Hogweard License: Public Domain
The Republic of the Sudan is known for its Sahara and it's wildlife on the African continent, this was once the largest country in Africa before the Republic of South Sudan (Guess where it is) broke away in 2011. When you enter Sudan, two pages instead of one are required for an entry stamp in the country, a visa is required except if you're a citizen of Egypt or Yemen; however if you hold an Israeli passport or if you have an Israeli stamp, you will be refused entry, notice how I didn't say "you may be refused entry." that's because you will be refused entry. You also need a yellow fever vaccination if you come from a country at risk of yellow fever transmission. Anyone under the age of 18 must need their father's permission to enter & exit Sudan. You must register with the "Aliens Department" at the Ministry of Interior within 3 days of arrival, failure will result in a fine. Homosexuality and drug offences carry severe penalties and the death penalty is included; it is also advised that you carry a form of photo ID at all times. Formalities aside, Sudan has a bustling wildlife along with a huge portion of the Sahara desert & the Nubian desert which is east of the River Nile. Little fact too, Sudan and Egypt are in a current dispute to not own a piece of land called "Bir Tawil", it is one of the very limited places to not be claimed by any nation.

So there you are! Those ones I've mentioned above are difficult places to get into if you're looking for a Sandboarding excursion, there are other nations that are hard to get into for the same or similar reasons such as: North Korea, Syria, Eritrea, etc... but I decided to use nations with a high prevalence of sand dunes and places where you can do flips, nose dives, three sixty's, and a whole load of tricks; but If you prefer to do stunts and sandboarding in other places, I'm sure it'll be a lot easier due to less restrictions; however, before you make a trip to anywhere in the world, check your government travel agency and the website for your respective country for travel as well; after all, it's better to be safe than sorry.

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Maspalomas, Gran Canaria

The Canary Islands! A tourism gold mine for Spain as many people from across the continent flock here as a getaway destination to relax and unwind! Although it may not be as popular and tranquil as the Maldives as these islands are bustling with night-life, the Canary Islands (in particular for this post, Gran Canaria) is an island in the Atlantic Ocean roughly 100 kilometres from Morocco and the unrecognised Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (or Western Sahara)

On Gran Canaria, there is a small town on the southern coast of the Island with about 35,000 residents called "Maspalomas" which is the focus of this article; the town of Maspalomas is known for its Lighthouse, golf course, Playa del Ingl├ęs (Englishman's Beach), and more relevant to this article; the sand dunes of Maspalomas which are a designated nature reserve. Last year; I took a trip to the island west of Gran Canaria, Tenerife. Tenerife has a booming night life with its clubs, bars, restaurants, beaches, and family friendly facilities! Tenerife doesn't have any perfect sand dunes that I saw when I was there; Maspalomas is undisputedly the most well-known sand dune complex in all of the Canary Islands, if not Spain.

Courtesy of: Himarerme License: Public Domain

The Maspalomas dunes are well-known for being litter free, very clean, and well preserved but also the dunes are said to have the sand from the Sahara desert every year in the trade winds. The Sahara desert that isn't far from the Spanish archipelago plays a crucial role in the islands' climate every year. There are no recognised or official events that take place in this location as this is a main tourist spot (you could imagine the interruptions you would get from the tourists walking in the dunes); the dunes and the area in particular also gets some negative reputation as this is a nude area, there are a lot of reviews on Tripadvisor that mention of the "men having sex", the prevalence of "people looking for sex and they will be naked.", and "rather a lot of man on man" are some of the reviews you'll find on Tripadvisor; but you have to agree not everywhere will be perfect.

Courtesy of: NordNordWest License: Public Domain

As the Canary Islands belong to Spain and since Spain is a member of the European Union, citizens of European Union states are free to live, work, study, and retire here and Maspalomas residents are allowed to do the same in your European Union state. Spain is one of the many European Union members that uses the Euro as its legal tender so exchanging money isn't an issue if you're from a Eurozone country. Also, you can freely move here if you're from a European Economic Area state (Norway, Liechtenstein, and Iceland) or Switzerland (which is a member in the Schengen area). If you're from a non-EU, non-EEA, or any other country apart from Switzerland then you may need to apply for a temporary Visa or permit to come here, I'd check the government & tourism websites of your nation & the Canary Islands just to double check.

So, there you are! If you're a keen traveller looking for new places to visit or if you're a keen sandboarder looking to visit some of the best dunes in all of Spain (or even Europe if you really love them!), then come to Maspalomas where you'll be welcomed with open arms; just remember to bring your sandboard!