Sand boarding: Spain’s dynamic dune sport

Sandboarding: A winter alternative

Image depicting sandboarding. Credit: Petty Officer 1st Class Philip St. Gelais, U.S. Navy/ Public domain - Creative Commons.

Can you imagine skiing without snow? Sand skiing and sandboarding are offering thrilling alternatives for those seeking adventure in less conventional settings.

On the dunes of southern Spain and the island of Gran Canaria, enthusiasts glide down sandy slopes, a testament to the growing popularity of these sports despite their niche status.

As of 2023, sand skiing and sandboarding do not have official representation or federations in Spain, yet they draw a dedicated following in unique localities.

Spain’s sand-sport hotspots

Andalucia and the Canary Islands are prime locations for sandboarding and sandskiing. The Tabernas Desert in Almeria, noted as Europe’s only desert, along with the sandy beaches of Tarifa in Cadiz, offer perfect conditions for these sports.

Also on the same coast, the shifting dunes of Bolonia Beach and Punta Paloma are not just scenic, they are also becoming playgrounds for the adventurous.

Further south, the Canary Islands entice with their own sandy attractions. The Maspalomas Dunes in Gran Canaria are particularly famous, supported by several local businesses that offer sandboarding as a recreational activity.

Likewise, the Corralejo Dunes in Fuerteventura provide challenging terrains for those looking to test their skills on the sand.

Global appeal of sandskiing

While sandskiing has a growing community in Spain, it is also gaining traction worldwide. Peru is harnessing the potential of its high dunes in areas like Huaral, Chilca, and Ica, now hotspots for both sports.

Other notable locations include the Sahara’s dunes in Morocco, the sands of Egypt, and the Kelso Dunes in the Mojave Desert.

Each of these destinations offers unique environmental conditions that are ideal for sandskiing and sandboarding, attracting tourists and sports enthusiasts alike.

The diversity of locations such as the Dune du Pilat on the southern French coast highlight the global scale of this emerging sport. As traditional snowy landscapes become less reliable due to climate change, sandskiing and sandboarding present viable and exhilarating alternatives.

With climate unpredictability and a shift towards more sustainable forms of recreation, these sand-based sports offer a way to embrace the thrill of downhill racing without the snow, whether on the dunes of Spain or the deserts around the globe.

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Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.