You've probably surfed the internet, and maybe even on a beach, but have you ever surfed a volcano? That's just what adventure sports outfitters in Nicaragua's mountainous northwest region want you to do. Born in a region known as the Land of Lakes and Volcanoes, volcano surfing – sometimes called ash boarding, volcano boarding or sandboarding – involves strapping a board to your feet and sliding down a hill of volcanic black sand.Volcano Surfing in Cerro Negro — Photo courtesy of rulefiggur
One of the most popular places to practice the sport is at South America's youngest volcano, Cerro Negro (Black Hill). The imposing mountain of black rock and sand has erupted more than 20 times since its birth in 1850 and remains active to this day. The sandy side of the volcano, perfect for sliding down on a board, is too steep for hiking up, so brave participants must first hike up the rocky side of the volcano to its peak.
From the top, you'll enjoy unobstructed views of the verdant Nicaraguan countryside dotted with other cones that make up the Maribios Volcanic Chain. Enjoy the view while you can, because once you strap on the wooden sandboard and start down the slope, it'll take you less than minute to reach the bottom. Volcano surfers on this steep slope have been known to hit speeds of over 30 miles per hour.Sliding through the black sand — Photo courtesy of NicaPlease
While it's certainly a rush, participants are given jumpsuits, gloves and goggles to protect them from any cuts and scrapes during the journey. For those not comfortable balancing on the board, many operators also facilitate tobogganing down the volcano on a piece of reinforced plywood. No matter which method you choose, it's sure to get your heart pumping and your adrenaline rushing.