Sandboarding or sand sledding has soared in popularity over the past decade. Spectacular pictures of pros and adventurers gliding down desert dunes as if they were up in the Alps have been captured and shared endlessly on social media – the new, ultimate adventure sport.
But sandboarding in Dubai isn’t snowboarding. Sand behaves differently, and the sweltering sun means no thermals and heavy-duty jackets.
So, what do you need to master sandboarding in Dubai? And how do you get started? Let’s find out.
In this article:
- What is Sandboarding?
- 6 Items You Need for Sandboarding in Dubai
- Something to Grip Your Feet
- Eye Protection
- Comfortable Clothes
- Sand-proof shoes
- Helmet and Protective Equipment
Forget riding waves or tearing up snow. Sandboarding is the latest extreme board sport blowing up on social media. The concept is simple: climb or drive to the top of a dune, strap a board to your feet, and ride the sand down.
Because of the friction, a sandboard tends to be much harder than a snowboard, being built from Laminex or Formica. The board’s bottom is also heavily waxed to ensure it runs smoothly down the slope.
You’ll find sandboarding everywhere from Australia to Africa. In fact, Namibia has some of the world’s highest dunes, helping one German sand skier reach speeds of 92.12 km per hour (57.24 mph).
Sandboarding in Dubai, however, is a hotspot for pros and beginners alike. In contrast to surfing or snowboarding, where you can wait days for snow or waves, sand dunes are always available. Just drive out to the dunes with an expert, and you’ll find endless hours of fun waiting.
Not sure what to wear? You’re not alone. Most people have never been sandboarding before and can make rookie clothing mistakes. Here’s what you’ll need to stay safe while riding the dunes:
Sandboards aren’t like their surfboard or snowboard counterparts. When Gary Fluitt and Jack Smith developed the sport in the 1970s, they made the boards longer and wider to better glide along the sand. Nonetheless, the classic foot straps are very similar to other types of boards.
Usually, you’ll use foot straps, bindings, or simple pads to secure your feet to the board. Choose a board that suits your footwear or feet (yes, some people go barefooted).
A common complaint among sandboarders is that boots and shoes reduce the feel of the board. That’s why many opt for very thin-soles shoes or resort to foot straps. Just be aware of the risks of friction burns if you only use straps.
Perhaps the biggest risks are often the least considered – eye protection. When sandboarding in Dubai, you’ve not just got the sand and dust to worry about. The desert also reflects the sun and can damage your eyes after prolonged exposure.
Protecting your eyes from the sun, gritty sand, and flies means goggles. While not as plentiful as ski goggles, you’ll find many styles available. Commonly these goggles come with enhanced UV protection and are airtight to prevent any grains of sand from getting in.
Sandboarding is fun, thrilling, but also hard work. Whether that’s climbing the dunes or gliding your way down, you’ll work up a sweat. Don’t wear any heavy clothes. Most sand boarders opt for a loose T-shirt and shorts.
However, if you do choose to wear long-sleeved or legged clothing, ensure it is baggy enough to keep you cool but not too loose that it’ll be a liability when sandboarding.
Other clothing you might consider is some form of headgear to shield you from the sun. Look to the locals – the keffiyeh or kufiya is a traditional headdress worn throughout the Arabian Peninsula to protect against sunburn, dust, and sand.
Shoes or no shoes? That’s a big debate in sandboarding. The answer probably depends on the individual and how hot the sand is.
If it’s too warm to walk on, you probably want to wear shoes so you can get up and walk off when you reach the bottom of the dune. Closed-toe shoes also protect your feet from the hot sand and any sharp object hidden in the dune as you glide along.
Some sandboarders, as mentioned, prefer to wear as thin shoes as possible – even going barefoot. It’s a personal preference. However, we’d advise wearing some sturdy, comfortable shoes if you’re a beginner.
Even if you’ve got a darker complexion and don’t usually burn, the Dubai sun is unrelenting. You should always wear a healthy covering of sunscreen over all exposed areas. Choose a high SPF factor to ensure your first experience of the dunes doesn’t leave you red and burned.
In the UAE, the UV index is usually 7-11+. You’ll need an SPT 30 and above to shield against this UVB radiation. Bring the bottle with you, as you’ll want to reapply through the day.
Rolling down sand, what’s the worst that can happen? That largely depends on the dune. On a smaller dune, you’re unlikely to do yourself any harm but gather some speed on a bigger dune, and you can cause a serious injury.
Sandboarding in Dubai is fun. However, it’s still an extreme sport.
You should always wear a hard helmet and, if possible, protective equipment. Think knee and elbow pads. You can thank us later when you don’t have friction burns from grating yourself on the sand.
You’ve got your gear! It’s time to head out. Sandboarding in Dubai is an unforgettable adventure if you’ve got the right gear. From protective eyewear to sun-proof attire, proper preparation is key to fully enjoying this exhilarating sport.
Ready to conquer Dubai’s iconic dunes? Book your sandboarding adventure with Go Trips DXB, Dubai’s premier safari events company. Our experienced guides are dedicated to ensuring a safe, thrilling experience tailored to your skill level. Don’t wait—embrace the thrill today! Visit our website or call us to reserve your spot.