Globe Trekker’s Sami Sabiti hits the sandy surf in Sand Master Park
Where: Cape Kiwanda, Dunes National Recreation Area, Central Oregon Coast, Oregon, USA
When: Anytime late spring to early autumn is a great time to visit Oregon
What’s it about: Sandboarding, akin to snowboarding on sand, in the natural coastal dunes or go dune buggying
Remember to bring: Suncream, a brush to sweep up the sand of your clothes – local outfitters will provide the rest!
Where It’s At
Any traveler who makes it to the Dunes National Recreation Area, between Florenceand Reedsport on the Central Oregon Coast, will find 40 miles of dramatic natural sand dunes – some swept up to 300 feet high and three miles in depth. This is literally a natural playground. The Oregon dunes have accumulated from the last three scenic capes along the central coastline and Cape Kiwanda where the climate is warm and arid all year round.
What Is Dune Surfing
Thought to have been invented by the ancient Egyptians who surfed on pieces of pottery, dune surfing is now a popular sport in Central Oregon. All you require is a good pair of legs and a snowboard. It can be tough and the effort of dune surfing will quickly make you breathless as you ascend at a 45 degree angle with the sun beating down on your head.
Although directly related to surfing and wake boarding, sand boarding is different in that you have more than one chance to ‘work’ at a dune, as it’s less of a once-in-a-lifetime-wave experience. Sand also provides a much nicer surface to fall on than snow, so it’s an ideal environment to learn your boarding skills – as long as you’ve waxed your board properly!
Hit the Sandy Surf in Sand Master Park
Sand Master Park is the world’s first sand boarding park. It has on site accommodation, tuition and pro shops, and it’s open every day of the week so there’s little you’ll have to venture out or inland for. When you get to the top of the dune you’ll get an amazing view out over Cape Kiwanda and Haystack Rock. You could almost forget that you’re in the Pacific North West, and start to imagine you’re in the exotic Sahara or remote Gobi desert, when tackling one of Oregon’s largest sand dunes. If you’re looking for something more adventurous than sand boarding, then why not try hang gliding from the ridge of the dune. This can be organised through your accommodation.
An alternative mode of transport around the recreation area is to go dune buggying. Dune buggies are open, motorized, and hard to spot. This means that you’ll spend a lot of time avoiding the dune surfers, at high speeds and ‘pinging’ off the angles of the dune, making it a true adrenaline sport.
Sand Master Park
Site for the park with information on accommodation, the park and outfitters.
85633 Hwy. 101 S
Florence, OR 97439
Tel: 001 541 997 8087
Buggies are supplied by Sandland Adventures. Fly over the dunes at full speed, kamikaze style, in a 6-seater buggy, or take the more sedate option of a 12-seater tour and view the dunes without a healthy helping of adrenalin.
By Faye Welborn