Conquering dunes at Sundays River

SKY HIGH: The dunes at Sundays River are a great launch pad
SKY HIGH: The dunes at Sundays River are a great launch pad

LIFE is short – catch a tan – that’s the Sandboarding Sundays River slogan. I, however, caught a tan, as well as some epic sand dunes. During the last few weeks I embarked on a journey to help families select the best activities during the holiday season and sandboarding is definitely one to put high on the list.

Though considering myself to be relatively experienced when it comes to boarding, nothing prepared me for what was to come.

First-off was a 10-minute scenic boat cruise down the Sundays River to the dune field, where anyone would be astonished at the sheer scale of these sandy mountains.

Learning the basics of sandboarding included getting to grips with polishing the underbelly of the board, which helps reduce friction, thus increasing speed, as well as elevating the fun level.

Cobra polish, or any polish in fact, helps protect the board from microscopic damage, according to Sandboarding Sundays River operator Karl Botha. Finally it was time to get down to business, with Botha instructing our small group about the basics of sandboarding, such as standing up and steering, which is a lot more complicated than one would think.

Beginners’ luck however was on my side during my first try, as I managed to stand up effortlessly, and shuffled the board to get going when gravity took over, as I glided across the sand, feeling one with the board.

Steering was somewhat problematic at first but I aced my first try – however, shortly afterwards I was reminded that it was only the beginner dune.

For my second take I climbed the meneer of the sand dunes in blistering heat, one stroll at a time, sinking away into the sand, wishing only for a piece of solid ground as I felt beads of sweat forming on my forehead.

Once at the top of the dune, I strapped my feet into the board and scraped togeth- er all the courage I could muster. I could not disappoint now, the camera was set on me and the only way down was on top of the board.

I stood up, shuffled my board and shot off at what felt like record-breaking speed.

At first I tried to steer using my own method – however it did not seem to be working.

Back to basics, I tried to remember how Botha instructed the group. Okay, I should use my shoulder to steer – but I overcompensated with my steering and the director of my epic action film-named gravity yelled “cut”.

With a mouthful of sand, which admittedly did not taste that bad, I sat in the middle of the dune, somewhat dizzy.

I considered it a reasonable decision to ride down the rest of the way in a sitting position.

In hindsight I should have probably listened to Botha instead of trying to get that special photo. A bit less polish on my part would probably also have been a good idea.

In general though, this three-hour adventure is massive amounts of fun, and suitable for anyone from the age of four and older. It is best enjoyed as a family. – Deon van der Walt

Sandboarding Sundays River also offers visitors:

  • Wakeboarding;
  • Water skiing;
  • Tubing; and
  • The opportunity to ride a Wake Snake.

Booking is essential. For more information contact Karl Botha on 071-185-6565.

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