I’ve always been a fan of sand boarding. I’ve done it countless times. Back in my days in Peru, I used to rip up and down the dunes on a buggy carving out the sand in an embarrassing way. I’m so terrible at riding upright that I just dive down head first on my stomach. I love it. I’m a pro at the headfirst slide.
In Swakopmund, Namibia, I once again had the chance to sand board and couldn’t help but head out to the dunes. Namibia’s sand dunes are likely the most stunning on the planet. They dance in a coat of red, and glimmer proudly. They stretch out into the horizon one way and then out to the coast the other. Sand boarding or not, the dunes are an amazing place to be.
After a quick hike up a steep dune, we coat our boards with wax and nervously strap them to our feet. The biggest difference between sand boarding and snowboarding is that the dunes feel incredibly steep. Of course, since there’s so much more traction, one can’t really slide down too fast, even if they wanted to. However, the steepness is still imposing. Especially since the majority of people who go sand boarding don’t snowboard regularly. Still, everyone gets the hang of it quickly and soon find themselves somewhere between carving the dune or just flying down the hill at an angle.
The group becomes braver and starts to crave more speed. We want to do the head first slide.
We’re handed big flat boards that look like magic carpets. The first girl tosses herself on her stomach and then slides down at a good pace. Cruising at top speed, she reaches a drop-off and catches some air as she does. The whole group awes in excitement. One after one, they all go down, and each time they hit the lip we cheer.
Like a perfect gentleman, I’ve let all the ladies go first and then toss myself down the hill as fast as possible. As I approach the lip, the back of my mind tells the front that I’m going to fast. The front of my mind doesn’t listen to the back, as usual, and I’m sent into the air as I fly over the lip. I start to separate from the board as I catch air. I squeeze my elbows inside in hopes of creating a brace. I land in a flat spot and my face whips into the edge of my board, immediately coating my face with blood.
As I walk up the hill I can taste the blood on my lips, but I can’t help but laugh. I can’t help but want to do the run again.
When I get back to the group at the top, they all ooo and awww while taking pictures of what I’m told is a gaping wound. My lip goes numb; I feel like I’ve just come out of the dentist’s office. My time on the board for the day is over.
Back at the truck, I apply some alcohol to what looks like a little red mouth above my mouth. I scrape out kernels of sand from within the wound. I’m going to need stitches for sure.
I wander into the doctor’s clinic and he laughs when he sees me again. Just two days prior I was in to get a rare spider bite treated, today, I need 6 stitches between my nose. When he’s done, we can’t help but laugh at the poor position of the cut. With the band-aid on, I look like I have a Hitler mustache.
I roll on to dinner and drinks with the sand boarding and we all laugh about the incident, we all gleam out how awesome the day was. Stitches and the time of my life, just another day in the life of an adventure travel journalist.