The Chinese slid down one of the highest sand dunes in the world at 600 feet in Zhongwei, China, around 800 AD as part of a ritual.
The Oman, Yemen and the United Arab Emirates desert people in Rub Al-Khali in Saudi Arabia slid down dunes on thin pieces of wood and hardened clay (like pottery), and so did the Kings ‘Pharaohs’ of Egypt some 2000 years ago, as found in ancient hieroglyphics.
The locals in Namibia have been boarding on sand dunes for decades using Masonite boards for ‘lie down’ boarding, like sledding.
Then 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.
The Birth Town
It is the sand board mecca Santa Catarina, an island in Brazil, that claims to be the birth town of sand boarding though. Surfers were trying to find an alternative when there was no ocean swell, no waves to surf. An idea that was followed by neighboring countries like Peru, Colombia, Venezuela and Chile.
Fact is, there is no hard evidence for who invented sand boarding.
Most likely the inventor is the African Elephant who has been sliding down the dunes of Namibia for centuries.
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.
The planks that were used were equipment for other sports like water skiing and later on snowboarding. These boards were great fun to use on sand dunes but had a lack of speed.
This led to manufactures focusing on a design specific to the sport of sand boarding.
A board with a much stronger base was designed and produced specifically for sliding down slopes of sand. The material that was used was mostly formica or laminex.
Then to glide effectively and reach maximum speed a typical paraffin-based sand board wax was invented and used by the boarders before a run.
Most of the terrain boards nowadays are made of hardwood ply, with full-size sand boards made of wood, fiberglass, or plastic composite including bindings for effective control.
The more exclusive sand boards have upgraded bindings and heel pads, offering more cushion for people who jump.
With the development of the design and the increase in speed sand boarding has become a unique and exhilarating sport that is available in select environments, like coastal beach dunes and desert regions, and mostly all year round.
Australia has a number of well-known sand boarding locations, but others include Egypt, Namibia, South Africa, Nicaragua, Saudi Arabia, Peru, Chile, and Germany.
In Oregon, USA, the worlds' first sand board park 'Sand Master Park' was build in the year 2000 on 40 acres of sculpted sand dunes.
Home of the annual 'Sand Master Jam' competition you learn how to sand board from World Champions of the sport like Josh Tenge.
Tenge holds three world records and is a four-time world sand boarding champion.
The sport of sand boarding has gained enough attention to merit a number of competitions including the Sand Boarding World Championship, which was held each year in Germany until 2007, the Sand Master Jam, the Pan-American Sand Boarding Challenge, and the Sand Sports Super Show.
The skill level of sand boarding has increased dramatically. Between 2002 and 2004 the South African Sand boarding League held competition events including dual slalom, boarder cross and big air events.
Perhaps the greatest advancement came in the area of distance jumping. Flights of thirty feet became common with long aerials and almost every maneuver that is being done with a snow/surf/skate board is now also being performed on sand boards.
Sand boarding with Travel Western Australia
Travel Western Australia includes the exciting sport of sand boarding in its 1 Day Pinnacles Magic Tour on the massive coastal sand dunes of Lancelin, overlooking the Indian Ocean.
Our boards are locally manufactured and specifically designed to suit our passengers. The boards are wider and taller than the average sand board, allowing two people to sit on one board and maximizing speed, comfort and safety.
Your tour guide will give you instructions in sand board techniques, safety rules and how to wax your board before you experience the thrill of sand boarding and gain legendary sand board status*.
For more information go to our 1 Day Pinnacles Magic Tour.
* Legendary sand boarding status is gained by finding sand in your hair as you eat your dinner that evening.