A dusty car park. Abandoned cars. The Atlantic Dunes ahead – large, white and helluva sandy. And an indemnity form held against my leg to stop it flapping away in the steady breeze. “Better sign it now – it gets a bit awkward when you die and I have to get you to sign it then.” Morne, our sandboarding guide was playing it flippant. I hoped.
Ladybird Sandboarding is one of the few Sandboarding companies which actually drives their clients to the dune, saving a pretty exhausting trudge. And what a ride it was! The big silver 4×4 cut through the sand with ease, weaving tyre tracks and blasting Fokofpolisiekar from the speakers. Sandboarding is an extreme sport, so there is no better way to get the adrenalin pumping than with some hard-core South African rock. Other than, perhaps, a death defying plunge down a dune with the gradient of the Empire State Building while Morne, oblivious to our silent screams, recounted childhood stories.
Morne’s presence as part of the package ensured laugh-a-minute entertainment throughout the day. On arrival at our sand dune, ‘Angel’, he gave a brief which included the importance of style. Your pants have to sit under your bum cheeks, he explained, preferably exposing some epic underwear, while sunglasses -Wayferers to be exact – are essential. And if you have a bit of a gut you shouldn’t be shy to let it all hang out. It helps with anchoring you to the board, apparently.
I was so ready to dominate this pune of a dune, and became an expert waxer, making sure my board was as polished as possible to ensure the fastest, smoothest ride. Inevitably I was the first to fall but, filled with eagerness I picked myself up, dusted myself down, and hurled myself downwards again. I soon built up an offspring dune in my shorts, as a souvenir.
Morne continually praised our improvement with great enthusiasm, even if there wasn’t any. He had us bum boarding, racing each other to the bottom, jumping off the dunes and rolling around in sand as if it were manna from heaven. Not only was it loads of fun, but it was a fantastic work out too. Everyone looked hilarious sliding down the dune, flapping our arms around, wishing there was something to hold on to, and each time we screamed as we were about to fall, photos were being taken to post on Facebook which we could tag, print, or burn.
Despite the repeated humiliation, the whole experience was glorious. The scenery is beyond beautiful out there. Standing at the very top of a dune looking around you just see white fluffy sand heaps that go on forever along the coast. Then just beyond is the Atlantic Ocean, sparkling blue at the foot of Table Mountain.
A couple of points to note for anyone keen to try their hand: along the West Coast, wind is a huge factor. The south-easter pumps in summer and is very hard to avoid, so chances are you will be chewing on granules and removing sand from orifices you never knew existed, but it’s all part of the fun, and a great way to exfoliate. Other than that, the loo facilities are very accessible, any bush that isn’t in view of your fellow sandboarders, basically. Oh yes, and it’s tiring, so take plenty of water and snacks to keep the energy up.
Look for a company that offers one-on-one guidance if at all possible. Going with a group of friends is also better as you get an intimate surrounding where you feel free to act as crazy as you want and make a complete fool out of yourself. I sure did.
Caro was a guest of Ladybird Sandboarding. For more details on Ladybird Sandboarding, visit their website on www.sandboarder.biz.