Monday, 25 April 2016

Sandboarding Nation's Review of 2015

Welcome readers!

I've gone through quite a few changes since I've last wrote on here, first off I've switched to my new job which is taking up a lot of my spare time so evenings are somewhat limited and my new laptop arrived (I'm using it now) so I'll hopefully make it easier for myself to blog on-the-go. I wanted to make a post on everything that's happened this year from start to finish! I'll be looking at of my posts and tell you some more information if I've missed anything out, plus I'll be going into some of the most important stories in the sandboarding scene.


Since January is winter in the northern hemisphere and summer in the south; Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Peru, Chilé & Brazil are the main places to go sandboarding in January. Equatorial regions and the Sahara & Arabian deserts are hotspots too but primarily they can be accessed all year round due to it's hot and dry climate. If you're travelling to the Sahara & Arabian deserts in Winter, it's worth noting that the temperature is known to drop below zero on a winter night but jump up to around a comfortable 20 degrees during the day. January is mainly a month for snowboarding and since sandboarding is out of season in the Southern hemisphere, I mainly was on hold for a long time hence why the only post I made on it was just an update to say where I was. I also was still in college January 2015 but when I finished, I left with 2 U's and didn't want to go back. But enough about college, more about sandboarding!


January was a quiet month but in February, I didn't blog either but I recently discovered that tennis star Caroline Wozniacki had taken time out of her busy tennis schedule to try out some sandboarding in Dubai, but she's not the only one who's tried it out; Tony Hawk has tried sandboarding as well as has Cameron Diaz in the Chilean Atacama desert. February was also the date of the world sandboarding championships in Germany.


In March, it was quiet and I found that Daniella Moyes of the Irish Independent went on a trip to Dubai and briefly mentioned Sandboarding in her travels; the 'Corvallis Advocate' (a newspaper in Corvallis, Oregon) also published an article on sandboarding in this month just mentioning the event. This was the only major sandboarding I could find for this month as it is generally considered (out-of-season in North America & Europe).


In April, I was in Tenerife in the Canary Islands which have some really awe-aspiring sand dunes, but I didn't know about the other island... Gran Canaria; the 'Masopalomas' complex has a large sand dune area on its Southern Side which I hope to go there soon for blogging & leisure. had published an article regarding sandboarding in Death Valley, in this instance we're referring to the Atacama Desert in ChilĂ©; the article also mentions of the incredibly good exchange rate of a 2 hour sandboarding session with training and an excursion in the Atacama itself... 14,000 Chilean Pesos (£14.35, €18.26 & $20.13 as of 24th February 2016).


2 time world champion of Sandboarding, Gabriel Cruz went sandboarding not far from Sand Master Park, on the coast of Oregon, USA. He now works in Florence at the Sand Master Park itself where it is a paradise of high dunes, great staff, steep mountains, & a whole load of fun whether you're a small child or an adrenaline junkie! May was also the month where the season was coming back into popularity again, usually whenever the weather turns better and less cold, the sandboarding season in the northern hemisphere begins!


The Great American news service, otherwise known as 'CNN' asked the question "What happens when you take a winter sport and drop it in the desert?" and my answer would be "Something that is just the best thing since sliced bread!" but CNN's article published on June 18th, also told a short summary of a man called Raymond Ichibad who was one of Namibia's first sandboarders, and how he qualified for the World Sandboarding Championship's 3 times and how he got as far as the semi-finals. By reading the article and publishing this on Sandboarding Nation's 2015 Review, I think we should all give Raymond Ichibad our respect! His passion of Sandboarding has now turned him into a Sandboarding instructor which I personally say "Well done, Raymond!"


Sand Master Jam was taking place at this time in Sand Master Park! It took place on the 18th July and attracted many from far and wide; it tested a variety of skills for amateur and professional sandboarders! One of the photos on the Facebook Page for Sand Master Park appears to be a younger Gabriel Cruz on a rail, The 19th annual Sand Master Jam makes this the longest regular sandboarding event in the world! The Professional Champion of Sandboarding for 2015 and for the event this year was... Gabriel Cruz!


This was when my summer holiday took place, I did my sandboarding session in Holywell Bay and if you read the post last August, you saw how many photos I took and they're still on the blog and Wikimedia Commons; however in other news, a football match took place for the late Tom Donaldson who died in 2009 whilst Sandboarding with friends in New Zealand.

Yahoo also published an article on the world's most athletic beaches, 3 of which have a presence of sand dunes and all of those 3 are in the USA! Hobbit Beach, Indiana Dunes State Park, & Race Point Beach in Oregon, Indiana, and Massachusetts respectively are known for their dunes and their athletic ability. Hobbit Beach in Oregon is close to the town of Florence and if you're a regular reader you'll know that Florence is home to the "Sand Master Park", Indiana Dunes State Park qualifies as a beach as it is bordered by a body of water in the same way Kazakhstan is bordered by the Caspian Sea even though it's the world's largest 'lake' (I'm not a geologist, so I'm not sure what counts as a lake and a sea) & the Race Point Beach in Massachusetts doesn't have high dunes however it does have some nice short slopes ideal for beginners.


September was starting to become a bit quieter in aspects of the sport but Kangaroo Island off the coast of South Australia was featured in an article by '' tells the tale of 'Little Sahara' and the 229 foot sand dune that has a jaw-dropping view of panorama from the apex of the dune, the dune was formed over the past 7,000 years, the sandboarding skills of the writer in this specific post were sort of sloppy on how there were some "epic fails" but it describes how the climb was easy. I personally think the climb is the hardest but I'm not the best of climbers.


The News Tribune published an article stating that "Fall" (Autumn) is the ideal time to Sandboard; Gabriel Cruz (Two-time World Champion) said that in fall, 'Older people' are more likely to go sandboarding, what Cruz meant by this was people in their late-20s.

Hilary MacGregor of the LA times went on a Nazca adventure and on their way back to the capital city of Peru: Lima. Hilary and her crew went to the dunes of Huacachina; you can go up the dunes for a sandboard run and sunset view for only $40 (it wasn't mentioned whether it was 40 US dollars, or 40 Peruvian Sol which the symbol for Sol is S.) If it was $40 USD, it would be the equivalent to £27.93 GBP (as of 21st April 2016) but if it was 40 Peruvian Sol, it would be worth £8.55 GBP (as of 21st April 2016).


This wasn't a big month for sandboarding; however this was a big month for the blog as I got a new laptop in the Black Friday sales (primarily for blogging purposes) and I switched occupations from becoming a Retail Sales Assistant to working as a Receptionist/PA. A fellow blogger from Sweden called Angelica Blick wrote about Sandboarding in the desert in mid-November and how she had never stood on a board before (not even in snow), and how it took her 'board virginity' this was on her travels to South Africa, you can read the article here:


In December, you primarily only get sandboarding in the southern hemisphere; however in the North hemisphere, Fox News wrote a piece on how not to break your neck sandboarding in Doha, Qatar. It wasn't that informative on "How not to break your neck sandboarding in Doha, Qatar", it really should have been named "Here is some information on Sandboarding whilst I sandboarded in Doha, Qatar".

The writer of the article had said that 2 mistakes were made, the first being that a snowboard was used instead of sandboard, and that the reporter was trying to control the board like they were on snow. It did mention on how Sandboarding needs very little essential gear and on how Sandboarding is an easy and affordable sport. Dr. Dune (who was interview in this article) estimated that roughly 30,000 to 40,000 people regularly sandboard worldwide, doesn't sound like a lot but the rough estimate could be between the national populations of San Marino (population of 31,887) and the Turks and Caicos Islands (population of 40,357). Before I conclude, Dr. Dune had this to say on Saudi Arabia and why he has shipped so many sandboards there: "All they have is sand and oil, and they know what to do with the oil."

I know I said that labels will be gone but this one is an exception as I started this article in December 2015; I'm actually happy to complete this (albeit 4 months overdue) and I've already started the next review now, the reviews will just be annual collective posts on when and where Sandboarding has been in the news.

Friday, 22 April 2016

Why I Donate to Wikimedia Commons

For nearly 6 months now, I've set up a regular £2 donation to the Wikimedia Foundations (Wikimedia Commons) which doesn't sound like a lot but the £2 does go to help the organisation, for instance; it helps pay for the servers, bandwidth, technologies, staff, and volunteering opportunities to help keep Wikimedia's resources alive; and since I'm a blogger and I use photos under Creative Commons and non-copyrighted licenses in my blog (as I'm a law-abiding citizen), this is something I am very passionate about. I donate to Wikimedia Commons as it keeps the free media, well... free. This sort of copyright free legislation and the use of creative commons licenses gives me the resources to help make this blog possible! Also; if nobody donated to the website, how would the server space be funded? Wikimedia Commons would have to be a subscription service as would Wikipedia if Jimmy Wales didn't persuade you to donate. (I'm a Wikipedia donor too!)

I don't want this blog post to turn out as an advertisement, but Wikimedia Commons has a vast bank of media files that are Public domain, Attribution, and Attribution-ShareAlike photos; the majority of the photos for this blog are one of these 3 licenses (most of them being Attribution-ShareAlike).

The primary licensing I use for my blog are just Attribution-ShareAlike but come under 3 separate licenses. Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic, Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported, and Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International. These licenses are the baseline for creative commons media and if I find photos on Wikimedia Commons with one of these 3 licenses (or even Public Domain) I can use it for the blog.

Look on any photo in one of my blog posts, it will have a caption underneath with who the photo is from and the license used. Video Magazine does a good job on explaining Creative Commons for those who are looking to create videos, take a look below:

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Non-Deadly Dangers of the Dune

Where I go Sandboarding, the main problems which can be potentially dangerous are: litter (which include discarded pieces of glass and metal in the sand), crashing into a natural sand wall at high speed, thorns and plants with sharp pointy bits, and snakes (even though snakes are rare to find, they're still quite threatening and you may just come across one).

I might have made a few stomachs turn last time when I was talking about deadly dangers of Sandboarding, but this time I'll be on the soft side and talk about some of the non-deadly dangers of Sandboarding. I've mentioned a few above and I'll expand on those.


In most states, littering (no matter how big, small, hazardous, or safe) can constitute as a crime and people have been known to be arrested for this; However it's not like littering can be seen on the same wavelength as a murder or a theft and on the Sandboarding vs. The Law post, it can be viewed as a "victimless crime"; except, the victim could also be seen as all of us, how? The environment; our earth is held in trust with us so we can preserve it for future generations; if litter had never been collected, literally everywhere would be a landfill and we would see less of a clean world and a bit of a more unorganised, untidy, and dangerous one. Think about it, if you were Sandboarding down a dune on a beach at 20 miles per hour and an empty drinks bottle was in your dune path, you would swerve a little bit but you might also come from 20 miles an hour to zero, you'd be wiped out from the dune. It's essential we keep littering to a minimum, especially hazardous waste such as Glass, drugs, metal, and other things such as paper, plastic, or even clothing. Also, litter... smells and who wants to sandboard down a smelly dune? Nobody.

Courtesy of: Rakesh.5suthar License: CC BY-SA 3.0



No, I'm not talking about the thing you do in a Seat Ibiza, I'm on about going too fast on a sand dune; this might sound satirical but if you were to go down a sand dune at great speed and at one of the sides, there was a house, sand barrier, or another barrier (maybe one made from plastic, metal, or wood.) If you were going down very fast and there was an airbag at the bottom then the consequences would be very small, or non-existent. This is why if you go to the World Sandboarding Championships at Monte Kaolino, you'll see water at the end of the dune, it's to stop the rider.

It's a scientific fact too, if you cruised at speed on water, you wouldn't sink. It's related to your mass on the surface of the water; I can't explain it too well but I found this article that does explain the 'Science of Swimming'! You can read it by clicking here!

Here's some footage from the 2007 World Championships and you'll see it at multiple parts in the video:


Flora and Fauna (mostly Flora)


If you were to go to Cornwall where I do most of my sandboarding, you'll find there is a fair amount of plants here, mainly long grass and a few thorns; plants can be dangerous but it depends where in the world you are, which plants you're dealing with, and how you come into contact with it.

In Europe and North America, you may come into contact with thorns, nettles, ivy, and other native plants which may be poisonous and hazardous if you come into contact with one; However these can be treated with standard first aid and/or by a couple of days' of rest. Except for the Giant Hogweed (Heracleum Mantegazzianum) which is a plant that can be found in Europe, the United States of America and Canada; it is native to the Caucasus region of Asia and if you mess with this plant, it won't be good. The sap of a Giant Hogweed contains a toxic chemical which when it is in contact with human skin, Sunlight can cause severe burns and make blisters appear; the burns can last for months and once the burns have died down, the skin is still sensitive to light and can take many years to heal.

Courtesy of: Appaloosa License: CC BY-SA 3.0

In New Zealand, it's a different story; there are a lot of plants which can even be fatal to humans, when I read some of the articles in my research, I found a plant that could cause paralysis, a plant which can cause death, a plant that could cause severe blindness, and a plant that could cause severe poisoning. The chances are, if you can think of any symptom, a plant in New Zealand could probably do just that. The list of dangers for New Zealand plants are so vast (and since I have a blog following from New Zealand), I will make an article solely for the Dangers of New Zealand plants very soon.

Interesting little additional note, in Geography Now! (one of my favourite YouTube users), Paul very briefly summarises a 'Desert Watermelon' if you were to find one in the Saudi Arabian desert; I won't spoil the surprise but it relates to this post, watch the video below (You'll find the fact just before the 7 minute mark):

 Flora and Fauna (mostly Fauna)

If you're Sandboarding in Cornwall and some parts of the British Isles (except Ireland), you may be lucky enough to find an Adder. The Adder is the only venomous snake native to Britain, this kind of snakes isn't an aggressive one but will only defend itself if you were to step on it or just be a nuisance, and there have been no recorded deaths from an Adder bite in the UK for over 20 years. The sheer majority of people who have been bitten by an adder were handling the snake so the main lesson is that; if you don't disturb the snake, the snake will leave you alone. You can also find wasps within the UK which unlike a bee, will sting you for the fun of it.

In Europe (especially in France and Italy), you might be able to find an 'Asp Viper' which unlike the adder, is easily agitated. Never try to get near an Asp Viper as the bite can still be fatal so get to a hospital as soon as possible; there are approximately up to 5 deaths per year from an Asp Viper (pictured below).

Courtesy of: Harold Van Der Ploeg License: CC BY-SA 4.0
In parts of America and Australia, you can find a wide range of snakes (many of which can be deadly) and a lot of Spiders too, I won't include any pictures as some of you might find it hard to sleep if I include pictures.

In the Sahara (if you intend to Sandboard in the desert), you can find a lot of lizards and snakes as some species are common in the region; however a lot of these will only attack when they feel threatened, this sounds like a big danger but it's really just nothing to be scared of; the Sahara is the largest sand desert in the world and these lizards are roughly about half a metre, so what are your chances?

Another animal to be very careful about is the Mosquito; these little things can directly cause Malaria & Yellow fever from a single bite, Malaria has killed roughly over 430,000 people globally in 2015. If you can remember from an article I wrote in 2015, I mentioned about Malaria and Yellow fever: Read the article (Immunisations Abroad Part 2) and if you're thinking of travelling to a country (at risk, which is shown in a map below), you might want to be vaccinated before you travel there.

Courtesy of: Petaholmes License: Public Domain
 So, those are your dangers which are not deadly, I might have occasionally slipped into a subject where a certain thing might be deadly if it hasn't been seen to; but most of the time, you should be okay but the main piece of advice is to stay careful.

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

What is Dune Riders International?

2 times back in October 2015, I quoted that Sandboarding didn't have a real institutionalised and established governing body for the world. However, I have done some valuable research and I have stumbled upon Dune Riders International, the website can be accessed by clicking here. I had no idea that Sandboarding had a world governing body and to be honest, I'm pretty happy about it! It's about time that Sandboarding finally got its break on the global stage and now I'm here to put forward this question: 'What is Dune Riders International?'

Well according to the Facebook Page, Dune Riders International is "the governing body for international amateur and professional competitive sandboarding." which makes DRI the only organisation to regulate Sandboarding in competitions. The headquarters for the DRI is in Sand Master Park in Oregon, which is also convenient as the Sand Master Park itself (which I have talked about quite a lot on this blog) hosts 2 of the events on the Dune Riders International World Tour.

The mission is to provide structure and support for the competitive and recreational aspects of Sandboarding, also according to the Director of D.R.I. himself, the primary focus is "the education of dune dynamics and conservation of the Earth's dune systems worldwide, with maintaining and improving the ecological health of the dunes for current and future generations." Another focus is to support and promote Sandboarding itself, with competitive and recreational as the motivation to share knowledge, benefits, and the love of sandboarding to any and all who have an interest.

To me, it sounds like that Dune Riders International is that forum section on a website where people share things, a bit like Reddit. I had never thought an organisation like this had existed and I'm pretty happy because it makes my job slightly less difficult as I'm here to promote Sandboarding too; before I conclude, I was very excited to discover that England has an association with Dune Riders International, I'm not too sure I've heard of the official body within this country itself but if you're reading this, Hi! Please get in touch! But it does beg the question why Wales, Scotland, and Ireland don't have associations (Well, maybe the whole UK is included but it's just England for simplicity).

To leave on a good note and to put some media in this post, here is a short clip (I mean, short.) of DRI Champion Gabriel Cruz on the local sand dunes at Sand Master Park (which relates to this post as Sand Master Park is the H.Q. of Dune Riders International.)

I would like to thank Lon Beale of Dune Riders International for the information to help build this article!

Saturday, 9 April 2016

Have you seen our Shop yet?

That's right, If you'd like to browse some official Sandboarding Nation merchandise, you can browse our selection of Footwear, Shirts, Speakers, Travel Accessories, and many more items that you can buy for Sandboarding or just for leisure!

It's a store on Zazzle so keep your eyes peeled for discount codes that can give you up to a 25% discount, I bought some shirts from here and Zazzle gave me a 20% discount at the time!

More items are added weekly so be sure to check the range often!

Monday, 4 April 2016

Sandboarding vs. the Law

In the year 1457, King James II of Scotland banned football and golf; even after his death in 1471 and 1491, the ban had to be repeated since many men preferred to spend their time doing these 2 particular sports; but 559 years later, can a country still legally force you to not do one sport and make you play another?

Well, the answer is yes. There are 4 sports which I had found on this article on Wikipedia which are 'Illegal' sports. The illegal sports are:

  • Cockfighting
  • Dogfighting
  • Street Racing
  • BASE Jumping
Cockfighting and Dogfighting were made illegal due to animal abuse and mistreatment of the Cockerels and Dogs in their respective sports, whereas Street Racing is illegal due to the risks of damage to property, other cars, people, and it's general common sense to ban this one (Sorry, motoring fans.) and BASE Jumping, BASE is an acronym for Building, Antenna, Span, and Earth (a cliff) which a BASE Jumper can jump off, this is banned for safety to the individual as well as the prevention of damage to buildings. A short while ago, Idaho resident Miles Daisher was arrested for doing a BASE jump and many of his friends and also fellow BASE jumpers reacted to the situation stating that it was a "victimless crime", which it is a victimless crime.

I don't want to be on the wrong side of the law here and I want to be neutral here but sportsmen and sportswomen don't have any criminal intent or have any willing to break the law in their own sport; think of it like this, if Sandboarding was made illegal by the United States Congress, UK Parliament, Australia's Senate, or any government around the world, it would be an arrestable offence and you will see murderers, thieves, tax dodgers, and Sandboarders in the same room, it's shocking but it's unfortunately a truth we shouldn't just turn our heads at. If you want to see some people be confronted by police for Sandboarding (ultimately rolling) down a sand dune, check out this video by 'Dare Sundays' which is above this paragraph.

So whereas Sandboarding could be seen as a victimless crime, it also poses a safety risk for others casually walking on a sand dune not wanting to get hit, animals, littering, and also risk for the person sandboarding. In my opinion, if Sandboarding were to become a crime, it would be hard to enforce given that in some countries, say Namibia, Chile, Egypt, or Saudi Arabia for example. Sandboarding would be hard to trace given that sand dunes constantly change shape and can be changed by the wind so it would be hard to tell a Sandboard has recently been on the dune. Also, would police officers really want to spend time on Sandboarders breaking a law when there are arsonists, burglars, thieves, and drug dealers on the streets too, I think not.

However; in my research, Sandboarding is prohibited in 3 dune systems of Death Valley in the United States, the 3 systems that Sandboarding is banned on is the Eureka, Panamint, and Ibex sand dunes. There are some hefty punishments for Sandboarding here so don't do it and before sandboarding anywhere, check your local, state, regional, and/or provincial laws; I don't want to see you get arrested!

Courtesy of: Jon Sullivan License: Public Domain
Don't think you're above the law and invincible just because you've done a few flips on a sand dune slightly away from the Eureka, Panamint, and Ibex sand dune complexes, you still shouldn't do them and since it's a National Park, you can kind of see why it's prohibited, it's to preserve the history and heritage of the park and to keep the landscape undisturbed.

Another way to break the law by Sandboarding is if you cross an international border on a sand dune, say from Saudi Arabia to Yemen or Oman in the empty quarter or from Mexico to the United States in Samalayuca and vice versa, if anyone has crossed an international border by Sandboarding, I will happily mention them on here (plus a free shirt). I would even be willing to be the first person to Sandboard across an international border, however I might need a corporate sponsor first and before I go, if you do this and get arrested it's your fault.

Before I end this post, I will be posting a poll on Sandboarding Nation's twitter page, if Sandboarding become a crime, would you be put off by Sandboarding, poll will be up for a week and the results will be announced soon!

    Saturday, 2 April 2016

    Deadly Dangers of the Dune

    Headnote: This article is outdated, for more up-to-date information on death figures, rates, and the research undertaken; please visit my Revisiting Death post. (Posted: 13th January 2020)

    This is an article that wasn't really planned in the agenda for this year, however I've been recently researching dangers and how many deaths there have been from Sandboarding; when I use a death toll, I'm not referring to estimates from Ancient times where some Egyptian pharaoh may have been killed by a 'Sand dune accident', I am taking from recent news and to my research, I had found a grand total of 3 deaths in the recent past. I personally don't know if 3 deaths is too many or too few, as these 3 deaths are from 2009, 2010, and 2013 respectively; it would make an average of 0.6 sandboarding related deaths per year.

    I found an article published by Oxford University in the UK outlining the death rates for certain sports ( Accessed: 2nd April 2016)

    If you take our 0.6 we calculated just now and take the 9 years surveyed in Table Tennis, there were 7 deaths in Germany alone, therefore from what I had calculated, Sandboarding is safer than Table Tennis with 17.7% less deaths on average per annum, you heard me right: Sandboarding is safer than Table Tennis. I won't know the odds of death or injury from Sandboarding as I don't know of a method to calculate this, however I would suspect that it would be very low, but keep in mind that Sandboarding may cause less chance of death than Table tennis, Sandboarding is more dangerous and more deadly than Canoeing (presumably because of a required to license to row in some British bodies of water and that safety equipment is highly advisable.)

    Courtesy of: Urban~commonswiki License: CC BY-SA 3.0

    While it is sad to see and hear of anyone's life being taken by sport which should be something enjoyable, it's a useful reminder that your hobby can turn deadly by small variables such as weather, surface, bodily functions, and even by a possible attack from an animal. It's not nice knowing that one day I may be one of the 0.6 annual deaths per year due to Sandboarding, but I could also be one of the 1,713 deaths in road accidents in the UK (as of 2013, article can be found by clicking here). I don't like talking about these bad incidents but it's worth mentioning since there needs to be action taken in order to help all of us make sports safer.

    The main reason for deaths in Sandboarding come down to either a pre-existing medical condition that may affect performance and or handling with the adaptations of the climate, surroundings, and environment; there's also a risk of colliding with a fence or wall at a very high speed, dehydration, collapse from hyperthermia (extreme heat), and even drowning in some coastal areas. However, in the UK, this isn't a problem as it's mainly a cold country, dunes aren't as steep as those in the Sahara or Atacama, and primarily because Sandboarding is a rare sport to practice here.

    Courtesy of: Nigel Chadwick License: CC BY-SA 2.0

    Sports have been at the receiving end of government involvement to help curb down the danger rate while at the same time, been a sort of nuisance for sports-goers. If you want to know more about how a government can easily impose rules on your sport, read the blog next week and I'll tell you! Also, I'll do another one of these articles soon but include some non-deadly dangers of Sandboarding such as injuries and the 'little' things.