Sand Surfing in South Africa

As the country enjoys an ever-increasing number of warm days as summer gets underway, many South Africans are already planning enjoyable vacations at the seaside. During this time of year, millions of people from the countries interior flock to the various seaside locations in an effort to make the most of the warm weather and beautiful coastline.

Over the last few years, a new sport form has taken the country by storm and it is a sport that is best enjoyed on the country’s many beautiful beaches. Sand Surfing is South Africa’s answer to snowboarding. Though the sport is still in its infancy, you can usually find surfers of various skill levels at beaches across the country.

The concept of sliding down sand dunes is not new – people have been using curved pieces of board or other suitable objects to sit in and ride down the dunes for decades. However the concept of standing on a board – which is similar in many ways to a snowboard – is a brilliant new take on this old pastime. Because of the abrasive nature of sand, the board usually has to be rubbed down with wax before the boarder can attempt to make it glide over the sand.

Sand surfing is also quite easy to do since the boards do not move very quickly initially – they have to gather speed. Still, the country has some impressive sand dunes and sand surfers can do plenty of hair-raising, neck-breaking stunts at excessive speeds if they want to.

The average sand board has two boots which can be strapped over footwear and adjusted somewhat to suit your foot size. There are some boards which make use of foot straps however these are generally considered to be less safe and are actually better suited for kite surfing. The board is made from plywood or similar light-weight materials. The wood is bent at both ends and then it is covered with a thick coat of fibreglass which provides a smooth surface and better glide. Once you have strapped your feet into the boots, you can hop to the edge of a sand dune and start your ride down. Pressure on the front of the board will serve to slow you down while pressure at the back will speed you up. Manoeuvring on sand is somewhat harder to do than on snow and most sand surfers simply surf down a dune in a straight line. However, with practise – and sometimes instruction – you can manoeuvre the board quite skilfully which increases enjoyment of the sport.

Dune boarding or sand surfing is a fun activity which can be enjoyed by people of virtually every age and skill level. It is somewhat physically demanding since there are no lifts to the top of sand dunes and the boarder must not only walk up the dune by carry his board with him. If you wish to enjoy this sport while on holiday, care should be taken to ensure that you do not attempt to dune board in an ecologically protected area. Sand surfing and sand boarding have had adverse effects on the environment in certain instances and are therefore not permitted on some beaches.