Can I use a snow board on the sand?

Many of our visitors are snow boarders who are seeking a way to extend their season. When hearing about sandboarding they are some times skeptical, at first, but the desire to " keep on boardin' " soon over-powers doubt and they begin the short trek to sandboarding.

Snow boards can easily retail for $400 - $500, so owning a quiver of boards is often out of the question for most. Now with the introduction of Sandboarding into the already precarious budget arrangment, the interested one has to stop and ask himself if there is perhaps some short cut. Is it possible to ride my snow board on the sand? How about that old uni-directional with the striped insert and the nail polish artwork that your baby sister contributed? Well, the answer is... maybe.

The design of the snow board is good enough for sand. The composite is sturdy enough and the nail polish art is probably a plus as well. The problem lays with the base material. While P-Tex performs excellent for snow it is poor on sand at best. The abrasive properties of the sand hinder the P-Tex bases ability to break free of the grab. Usually, you will end up with a slow ride or no ride at all. I say "usually" because there are some conditions that allow the snow board to reach reasonably good speeds. However, a snowboard will never reach the speeds or offer the handling of a true sandboard on sand so don't expect it to.

If you are at the dunes and a snow board is what you have then seek extreame angles. If you are able to find a very steep dune face that is also accessible to you by foot or chair lift you may be able to ride that snow board at speeds that will satisfy. Of course, when the face is steep enough you could ride almost anything and it will slide. I mean just about anything!

The best way to find out is to try it on your dune. Definitely locate the tallest and steepest face and give it a try. The sand can do very little to the base and in most cases will even help clean up some of the scratches. Take a couple of runs and then take a good look at the base and see if it is acceptable. If you don't like what you see don't run it any more. Keep in mind that stones, rocks, glass and other objects in the sand can damage the base so try to always ride clean sand.

Some tips to help you get it goin' are as follows: Don't use snow wax. Use sand wax, parafin or nothing at all. Be sure to scrape all the old wax from the base before riding it on sand. Keep your speed up. Once you get going don't stop and start. It takes longer to gain the speeds than with a snow board and you're not going to want to give it back. Make gentler turns instead of tight turns that use entirely the edge. Don't stay in your turns as long since this will tend to reduce your speed as well. The steel edge of the snow board will cut deep into the sand but sand is not as soft as snow so the result is an increase in friction and a slower ride. You can wax the edges heavily and this will help. One more tip that will help as well: ride further back on the board as though you were riding deep powder. This will allow the board tip to come up and let more air pass under the board thus giving you less friction and a faster ride.

Soon you will be ready for a real sandboard and will already have some sandboarding experience under your belt as well. Then you can pass your old snow board, now sand board , on to your precious little sister. Isn't that nice.

The bottom line is that snow boards are made to perform on snow and sand boards are made to perform on sand. If you really want to sandboard then ride a real sandboard on the sand.
Well friends, that's my advice and I hope it helps you on your way. Sandboarding is a great sport, a lot of fun and very healthy. You're going to love it!

Always your friend,
Dr. Dune



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