Tuesday, 18 February 2020

Buying Sandboards from Overseas

Morning broke on what I thought would be a good day; I got woke up by a loud knocking on my door and I finally got my first ever, brand new sandboard, fresh from the United States of America! It was also a good deal because: the exchange rate was doing well at the time, I find shipping times from the USA to be fast so I know I wouldn't be waiting, and I didn't have much choice because not too many sandboard merchants are keen on shipping to the British Isles.

"Sport 120cm Sandboard Package" by Jack Soley is a public domain work.

Sandboard with Lustrum Bindings: $198.95 (£159.14)
Shipping to the UK: $89.80 (£71.83)
Total Cost: $288.75 (£230.97)

Exchange rate at time of purchase: £1 = $1.2502

I just went online and bought a standard sandboard from an online store, it just so happened to be Venomous Sandboards at Sand Master Park; a place which I have applauded so many times on this blog, and I was happy to buy from them because I'm familiar with their brand and I know the quality they strive to achieve.

I won't be talking about my board just yet, but I will be talking about buying boards from overseas and if its worth it?

What are the benefits?

Importing is Cheap

The benefits of buying from abroad are plentiful! The cheap prices for delivery and the board itself are one of them. You might get a bit lucky buying a board if you take advantage of exchange rates; for example, let's say you want to buy the Sandboard and Shipping for $288.75, if the rate is 1.26 dollars to the Pound, you'll be paying £229.17, but if you wait a week and the rate changes to 1.28 dollars to the pound, you'll now be paying £225.59; a difference of a couple of pounds might not be too drastic but that difference could be used to buy waxes or something else of good use! Even if the exchange rates don't work in your favour, a difference this small isn't worth thinking about.

But I hear you ask, what if you're on a budget but still crave the adventure and thrill that a new board can bring? Wild West Sandboards of Australia can offer you a 90cm board that's 11mm thick and just shy of 2kg for what would be described by many as a nice price.

Wild West Small Sandboard with Neoprene Bindings: AU $279.99 (£144.55)
Shipping to the UK: AU $69.90 (£36.09)
Total Cost: AU $349.89 (£180.64)

Exchange rate as of 18th February 2020: £1 = AU $1.937

With deals like these, it's easy for any sandboarder to be sweet-talked into buying a board at these prices!

More Variety

Pre-owned boards can be priced anywhere between £60 - £150, so it's making more and more financial sense to pay a little extra to buy a new board that may even give you some free goodies like some wax bars, and most definitely the peace of mind knowing your board's going to last for a long time before you end up buying your upgrade. Some sandboarding merchants in other countries may offer a warranty on boards, something that you most definitely won't get when buying pre-owned. Finding sandboard sellers from abroad will also open doors to find more styles, shapes, and colours due to different tastes and preferences in that area.

"Sandboards" by Leonardo Pallotta is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

It Supports Sandboarding Businesses

Also; Sandboarding is a niche sport, hence why the companies that make sandboards don't have a huge number of orders and why there are few merchants out there; buying brand new from these sellers will not only support their livelihoods, but it'll keep the trade alive for people who want to buy new sandboards (people who want upgrades or those who are new to the sport), and those profits can be re-invested to expand their services (i.e. Shipping to more countries or making bigger and better boards).

"Beaufort City Hall ribbon cutting" by TheDigitel Beaufort is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

What are the drawbacks?

Delivery & Import Fees

So you might be thinking that buying from overseas is a good idea! It's cheap, gives you more choice, and it keeps the sandboarding industry alive; But before you get your credit card and buy yourself a big sandboard with the most comfortable bindings in the heat of the moment, don't let your guard down just yet; because someone who'll be waiting for your board to arrive just as much as you, will be someone from your country's tax authority. Before I even bought my most recent sandboard, I was given a suggestion to just fly over and pick it up!

If we take my board as an example, the breakdown for the import charges were that I didn't pay any customs or excise duties (however, tax rules change all the time and it depends on your country and the country you're importing from, so do your research!) I had to pay £36.74 of Import VAT plus another £12 fee for clearance which is applied to "help cover the cost of additional handling, administration, collection of monies and provision of facilities for Customs clearance of packages." (Parcelforce Worldwide, n.d.)

The cost of the delivery plus all import fees, came to £120.57 which is 75.8% on top of the board's price; which if you were to buy in the domestic market, the import charges won't apply and the shipping costs would be drastically reduced and in some cases, free. Some countries however will let you take the board without any additional charge and some countries will insist you pay a tax, plus another tax, and a fee on top of the taxes before you can even receive it. As I say, all countries have different tax policies and because sandboards are quite niche, countries will disagree on how they should be taxed.

"Parcelforce Import Charge Invoice" by Jack Soley is a public domain work.

Difference in Quality

Quality can seriously determine whether or not you buy from one country or not; according to a survey of 43,034 respondents, goods made in Germany are the most reliable and goods made in China are the least reliable (Dalia Research, 2017); but if you're from a country with good build quality such as Canada that was ranked 6th on this survey, it wouldn't make sense buying a sandboard from countries lower than you on the list such as the United States and Australia (ranked 10th and 14th respectively) despite having a much bigger Sandboarding market.

If you're in a country with high manufacturing standards and good quality control on goods, you know you're going to get a good quality product buying in the domestic market.

It Hurts Your Economy

Importing cheap boards can undercut the prices of a domestic sandboard merchant and therefore this forces a domestic seller to reduce their prices to remain competitive in the global market, which will drastically reduce revenues for the company; and if the business is in a country with high labour costs such as Canada or Australia, that means that the reduced price of the sandboards will mean that some businesses won't be able to create jobs to serve their community; and if people aren't employed or if the business isn't making enough money to stay afloat, the government won't be able to collect any taxes.

However, imposing an import tax still allows the government to collect some income but nowhere near as much as the Corporation Tax on a company, the Income Tax on a worker, and the Sales Tax on the customer.

Say what you like about the government; but if it weren't for taxes, we wouldn't have schools, hospitals, police, roads, etc...


Importing sandboards from other countries can support Sandboarding businesses around the world and help expand their services to provide more products and services to us, the public; whereas you'll have to pay around 75% more just for delivery and possible import charges, your country's economy will ever so slightly decline while another country's economy will ever so slightly improve; buying a Sandboard from abroad will give you more choice but you risk potentially worse build quality that might not last as long or perform as well as you would expect.

My experience with importing has been really good, it was easy and I'd happily do it again; but because the UK isn't a huge sandboarding country on the same scale as Australia, USA, Egypt, or the UAE; there isn't the demand for British made sandboards, but considering the build quality reputation of British made goods, I would give it a chance and if anyone reading this in the UK knows how to make a professionally made sandboard, get in touch. I'd like to be your next customer.

Reference List:

Parcelforce Worldwide (n.d.) Why do Parcelforce Worldwide charge customs clearance fees, Available at: https://www.parcelforce.com/help-and-advice/receiving/why-do-parcelforce-worldwide-charge-customs-clearance-fees (Accessed: 18th February 2020)

Dalia Research (2017) Made-In-Country-Index, Available at: https://www.statista.com/page/Made-In-Country-Index (Accessed: 18th February 2020)

Sunday, 9 February 2020

The History & Origins of Sandboarding

This is a re-work of my first ever post published in November 2014, it was regarding the history and origins of sandboarding; it's now 2020 and my journalistic abilities have increased since I made my way out of school, therefore I have decided to have another look at the history of sandboarding; How did it start? Where was it invented? and When was it invented in its original and modern form?

What is Sandboarding?

As the name would imply, sandboarding is snowboarding but instead on a snow capped mountain, it's on a sand dune.

When and where was sandboarding 'invented'?

There are many answers to this, there's no universally accepted correct answer but I'll look at 2 potential contenders. The first possibility goes to Ancient Egypt where it has been allegedly depicted on hieroglyphics that "people would use wooden planks or pieces of pottery for faster travel and for transporting cargo across the sand dunes." (Old Town Inn. n.d.) 

However, it's worth mentioning that there have been no sources of these hieroglyphics available on the internet. Because Egypt is caked in sand dunes and since Egypt is one of the cradles of civilization, it's unknown who was the first pharaoh or peasant to take some wood or clay and go down a sand dune and therefore, we can't give the title 'Inventor of Sandboarding' to one individual. 

It then leads us to China in the Middle Ages where there was a "Chinese ritual where sliding down the dunes in a similar fashion around 800 AD" (Sandboard Magazine, n.d.) Again, there is not enough concrete evidence to support this theory.

When and where was modern sandboarding 'invented'?

But if we're talking about Modern Sandboarding in the form we know and love today, with wooden boards, with a competitive element, and more modern because it's much closer to the present day: That can go to one of 2 places, the first goes to Brazil, "Modern, upright sandboarding is believed to have been invented in Brazil in the 1940s. In recent years, though, advances in materials and techniques have led to much faster speeds and longer jumps than ever imagined before—professional sandboarders routinely reach speeds in excess of 60 mph (100 kph) and jump distances of 50 feet (15m) or more." (Kissell, J. 2019.) 

The story, if confirmed would mean that surfers of Brazil, specifically Santa Catarina; would go sandboarding "as an alternative to surfing if there were low, or no tidal waves." (Actionhub Reporters, 2017)

The second possible contender is the United States; "there are stories of people in the 50's riding car hoods down the dunes in California and people on sand boards getting pulled behind cars on the beach in Oregon, USA.(Sengers, M. 2017) 

But there's also Dr. Dune in Oregon who on his own website states that: "I myself started sandboarding on a slalom water ski in 1972 and was introduced to this sport by friends who were sliding down the dunes on similar planks in the early 60's. I have seen photos of people standing up on boards with no bindings from the 50's but, again, these were devises all ready in existence for other sports or other purposes and simply tried out on the sand." (Sandboard Magazine, n.d.) 

It's worth mentioning that these 'boards' were not designed for sand, they were often snowboards, waterboards, or other wooden boards that were suited to other sports; the account from Dr. Dune also strengthens another claim: "What is known is that sand boarding has been developing as a thriving sport since the early 60's. People were sliding down dunes on planks and standing up on boards with no bindings." (Sengers, M. 2017).


Ancient Sandboarding was most likely invented in Ancient Egypt however there's no evidence on the internet of any hieroglyphics to confirm this; however, if we're talking about Sandboarding in its modern form, we have 2 claims, Brazil's weak claim to the 1940s or the United States' stronger claim to the early sixties. Given what we currently know, modern sandboarding would have either been invented in Brazil or the USA and at any point between 1940 to 1970. As I say, there's not one universally accepted right or wrong answer otherwise this post would have ended long ago, so I'll let you decide.

Reference List:

Old Town Inn (n.d.) Sandboarding in Florence: Everything You Need to Know, Available at: https://old-town-inn.com/sandboarding-in-florence/ (Accessed: 9th February 2020)

Sandboard Magazine (n.d.) Who Invented Sandboarding?, Available at: http://www.sandboard.com/drdune/ask/ask8.htm (Accessed: 9th February 2020)

Kissell, J. (2019) Sandboarding, Available at: https://itotd.com/articles/6983/sandboarding/ (Accessed: 9th February 2020)

Actionhub Reporters (2017) An Introduction to Sandboarding, Available at: https://www.actionhub.com/stories/2017/02/14/an-introduction-to-sandboarding/ (Accessed: 9th February 2020)

Sengers, M. (2017) The Art of Sand Boarding, Available at: https://www.twatours.com.au/single-post/2017/04/18/The-Art-of-Sand-Boarding (Accessed: 9th February 2020)

New Facebook Group Forum

I'm keen to find other sandboarders and people who are interested in the sport so much that I was recently browsing Facebook to find groups of that were active so I could make a decent input; To illustrate what I mean, I'm currently a member of the "David Bowie Fan Group" which sees about 5-10 posts a day which are mainly photos of the legend himself, questions from fans regarding what their favourite album is, and ad listings for old Bowie related merchandise. I saw the group and realised that this is an active group and there's so many people contributing to the page.

However when I look at Sandboarding groups on Facebook, a lot of times the last post was more than a year ago so it could be fair to say that the group has slowly died out, or it's a sandboarding group for riders from a specific country. Because of this, I have decided to create a forum and/or fan page #2 for the blog.

Feel free to share your own photos of sandboarding adventures, videos, relevant content, any questions, the answers to those questions, and anything that'll potentially give me a talking point and possibly a new blog post! To make the name more inclusive, it won't have a geographic name like some of the groups that I'm a member.

All are welcome to join Sandboarding International.

Saturday, 8 February 2020

Comments And Possible Spam

I'm making this post because it needs to be addressed, over the last couple of months; when the engagement of this blog came to an all time high, there have been plenty of comments on my posts which is great!

Engagement and opinion is good on the blog, but what I don't like is links to other websites... not blogs but websites that in a lot of instances have no relevance to the original content; for example, A link to a pharmaceutical website when I'm trying to highlight the importance of the European Health Insurance Card, Opioid Addiction Treatment on my Holywell Bay post, Fleet Management Solutions in India on my reasons not to buy a specific GPS tracker, Ski Bibs (really?!) on my History and Origins of Sandboarding post, or links to Airport Parking deals on my rant about Travel Insurance.

"Christchurch Police Car" by Tony Hisgett is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

I don't want to act like I'm policing this blog and given the nature of the blog, I shouldn't have to and while I completely support and champion the notion of free speech; this embedded doctrine of spam comments and irrelevant has to stop. I won't remove the comments entirely as this goes against my belief of free speech but I will report any comments with links in to be spam unless it's from a trustworthy source or one of which I am aware. I am not affiliated in any way with the links in the comments of my posts. Thank you.