I was concerned for my pride – that I might look like a total spanner on a plank. And I was concerned for my body – this excursion was bound to result in a few hard knocks. But I manfully rose to the challenge and headed off to Atlantis for a day of sandboarding.
I was joined there by loads of children, fresh out of school on holiday, with their owners keeping a watchful eye over them. I reckoned if the kids could do it then so could I… though I wasn’t entirely convincing myself.
The instructors/guides had that calm, relaxed manner that comes with an ability to look really good at doing dangerous things. But they were also helpful and friendly as they issued us with boards and helmets and tips on how to fall or, more specifically, how to prevent being smacked in the head by your board once you have fallen.
And we were shown how to wax the boards to make them go faster. And before I could mutter “Wax-on, Wax-off” in a dodgy Japanese accent, it was zero hour. Out on the nursery slope my initial apprehension made way for adrenalin-fuelled excitement as I slipped and slid my way down the small dune. Yes, I fell a few times, but the soft cushy sand absorbed the impact, and all was well.
Everybody soon started looking for higher and steeper descents to conquer. Eventually and inevitably, the kids’ fearlessness had them making a beeline for the largest dune in sight. My experience was rapidly telling me that the higher the dune, the harder the sand. I rather preferred landing on a soft duck-down cushion than being hit by a steam train at full tilt… but I was damned if I was going to let any kids get the better of me.
Needless to say, I went down Mount Olympus at incredible speed, apprehension long ago cast aside, replaced by pure euphoria at the speed and sensation. No, I wasn’t entirely in control and Yes, the hard bumpy sand at the bottom of the dune was relentless again, but as soon as I regained the feeling in my legs I did it again. And again. And to think I could have been sitting in an office…
Many thanks to Michael, Moses and Upile from SunScene for their friendly guidance, for keeping an eye on everyone and for making sure we all had a total blast. You guys rock!