Fancy that! A group of Backpackers in South America decide “Hey let’s make some boards and hike up this active volcano that just exploded in 1999 and ride this thing from the top to the bottom and call it a sport!! Then let’s have tours where backpackers who come this way from all over the world can do the same thing!” Sure why not? And that’s exactly how the extreme sport of Volcano boarding came to exist. In Nicaragua a relatively new Volcano called “Cerra Negra” was the scene for the invention of Volcano Boarding (Also called Volcano surfing, or Ash boarding). On these slopes riders hike up the top of the Cerra NegraVolcano that is 728 meters (2,388 feet) above sea level and have the hottest most thrilling ride of their lives down to the bottom of the Volcano. Just imagine being able to say to your friends after getting back from your backpacking tour of Central America that during your trip you rode down a very active and dangerous Volcano on plank of wood. “No big deal!”
Volcano Boarding is often practiced for the most part as a tourist attraction in various volcanic locations in the world. Tourists will include it as part of their trip and the hike up the Volcano is just as much a part of the thrill as riding down. To be that high above the surrounding area where you lose sight of the ground level below and to be at the complete mercy of the volcano itself is a thrill that has attracted 10,000 plus and counting tourists and regular volcano boarders from around the world. Riders will ride down the volcano either in a standing or sitting position. The boards used are made from wood, or formica and are made to be durable yet light weight enough to be hauled up the mountain. The Standing boards are similar to snowboards or sand boards and are wide enough to be used to carve into the very coarse volcanic rock material on the way down. It is more difficult to carve back and forth down the slope than doing so in sand or snow because the rock is very coarse and difficult to dig into. Timing is key and to learn is to deal with the thrill of rough, rocky landings. Standing up a rider can achieve speeds of up to 10 mph. Sitting down in a bobsled like fashion is a technically much easier challenge and a much faster ride. The rocks on a volcano give way very quickly and the rider will take the slope strait down achieving top speeds of 50 mph!!
I don’t know if my first pick of extreme sports would be to ride down a lava spewing, life endangering active volcano but I know for certain that for others who have enjoyed the pastime they will have a great story to tell! Volcano boarding tours are located around the world but the world of Volcano boarding revolves deeply around it’s birthplace in Nicaragua at Cerra Negro Volcano.