Sandboarding in Swakopmond
In the centre of Namibia lies a colonial German town that has moved to the modern age in recent years and is now a tourist hub. It still has German road names and the odd German church or buildings, but everywhere else are modern shops and apartments. Swakopmond is home to a range of adventure sports including the favourite – sandboarding.
Standing at the bottom of the dunes my heart thumps away, terrified of falling/heights I can’t believe I’m going to not only climb up these dunes on foot, but then I’m meant to sandboard down them! I know it sounds silly having a fear of heights and falling, especially given that I’ve skydived, bungee jumped, para-glided and hang-glided. My fear is generally in places that don’t have something to hold onto or stop me from falling over the edge. This includes sand it appears.
However, I’m not one to chicken out of something just because of my fears, so I went up lied down on the sandboard, head first and was pushed down the slope. The first one wasn’t too bad (despite my screaming like a little girl). You whiz down and then the hardest part is hiking back up the dune for the next round on a different dune.
Once we had done a few, we did a tandem one. But me, being the odd one out didn’t have a partner, so I tripled with a couple of other ladies. It was pretty fun, but the best was yet to come. The next few dunes were speed checked. The first one I managed to get the top speed of 43km/hr. Speed gets additive on the dunes. You need to streamline yourself as much as possible and try to keep straight so you don’t need to dig in your toes (in shoes) to straighten up, as that slows you don’t a bit. You never want to put the front of the board down through, this you hold up as best as possible, if you drop it, you get a face full of sand and can flip over.
The next dune we did twice to try to increase our speeds. The first run I managed 71km/hr, but that was soon surpassed as the high score increased. Second run I managed to get 74km/hr, but the top speed of another person sat at 77km/hr by the end. I wasn’t too far off, seems being small helps you fly fast down the dunes.
The final dune was on an incredibly thin ridge of sand and very close to vertical. After letting a few people ahead of me, I decided it was now of never and zoomed down to the lunch spot.
Sandboarding was really cool. We had the option of lying down or standing up like snowboarders. I was really pleased I did the lying down one, as it meant I got a good run every time, whereas the standing boarders struggled most of the time.
Can’t wait to try it again in Peru when I hit South America!