Snowboarding Vs Sandboarding | What’s The Difference?

Snowboarding vs sandboarding what's the difference

Many people dream about snowboarding and being on the snow. But if you want to go where the sand is, there’s a sport that is very similar to snowboarding but a lot more accessible. Well, you still get to do what snowboarders do but you don’t need to worry about all the snow.

And that brings us to the main topic: Have you ever wondered about the difference between snowboarding and sandboarding? There are a lot of similarities between the two, of course, but there are a few differences as well that are worth mentioning.

Both words seem almost similar but there’s a clear difference between the two.

Initial Thoughts on Sandboarding and Snowboarding

Initial Thoughts on Sandboarding and Snowboarding

Are snowboarding and sandboarding similar? The answer is both yes and no. They both share some similarities, but there’re also some significant dissimilarities you might want to know.

Here’s a brief overview of what they have in common:

Both sports require strength, balance, and coordination. As you glide down the slopes, you will need to use your legs and arms to maintain or rather control your speed and direction.

Of course, the terrain presents the biggest difference between sandboarding and snowboarding. Sandboarding is done on sand dunes, while snowboarding is done on slopes covered in snow. This basically means that each sport will require a separate set of gear.

To help glide on the sand, sandboards are made to be wider and shorter than snowboards, and they feature a unique coating. Sandboarding requires shoes with good traction in order to grip the sandboard.

On the other hand, snowboards are generally narrower and longer than sand boards, and they feature a smooth bottom that makes it easier to glide over snow. And in order to provide good support when riding, snowboard boots are designed to be stiffer than ordinary shoes.

That said, however, it is possible to sandboard using a snowboard.

A Brief History of Snowboarding and Sandboarding

A Brief History of Snowboarding and Sandboarding

Sports have evolved through the years, from primitive to modern ones. And one such example is sandboarding, also known as dune boarding, which is a modern adaptation of snowboarding.

While sandboarding is a fun activity, it’s a relatively new sport when compared to snowboarding– which has been around for quite some time.

Put simply, sandboarding is a popular sport that involves riding or sliding down sand dunes while gripping a board using your feet. It is normally done while standing on the sandboard, but there are some people who go skiing on the sand slopes in a sitting position i.e, sitting on their sandboards.

The sport actually dates back to the 19th century. It was practiced by ancient monarchs back then. Sandboarding received a meteoric rise in popularity in the 1970s and is expanding even today.

What about snowboarding? Well, this is also a board sport, very comparable to sandboarding. The sport involves standing on snowboards and riding/gliding down snow-covered slopes. Snowboarding is a sport and a fun activity as well as a mode of transportation.

The sport was discovered in 1965 by an engineer from Michigan named Sherman Poppen. It then began to gain massive popularity, and in 1998 it was added to the Olympic program.

It’s clear that people have been using boards and skis for many millennia to traverse both snowy and sandy terrains. At least 7,000 years ago, it is said that hunters and trappers in Norway used skis to move through the snow to track and chase their prey. It’s also believed that around the same time, ancient Egyptians surfed down the dunes using wood and earthenware as their equipment.

However, unlike snowboarding and snow skiing, which have been recognized as official and respectable winter Olympic sports for a long time, sand skiing and sandboarding have been overshadowed all along and they only began gaining popularity in the past few decades.

Snowboarding vs Sandboarding: The Key Differences

Snowboarding vs Sandboarding The Key Differences

Now after the brief history of these two board sports and defining sandboarding and snowboarding, it’s about time we get to the core of this subject: the major differences.

Difference In the Boards

Well, both sports use boards, however, the board for each sport is different. Snowboards are longer and narrower, whereas sandboards are shorter, lighter, and with rounded ends.

Sandboards are lighter because sandboarding requires the rider to descend the slope while standing on the sandboard and then carry it back.

Coming down to board quality, sandboards are known to have a more durable base than snowboards. You don’t need to have the best quality snowboard when starting, but as you get accustomed to the sport, you might want to upgrade to something better.

For snowboarding, you will need a good quality snowboard especially if you’re serious about the sport. A good board will last longer and make it easier to ride.

Even so, before you get to use the snowboard or sandboard, you’ll need to get the base waxed. This will help you slide down the snow or sand slopes much more easily. Snowboard bases need to be waxed. Likewise, you’ll need to apply sand wax to your sandboard.


In addition to having the necessary equipment, you’ll need to wear thick clothing when snowboarding owing to the chilly climate. After all, protective gear is a great way to help prevent injuries and avoid excessive openness to the cold.

However, when it comes to sandboarding, all you need to hit the sand dunes is your sandboard, of course, goggles, wax, and some light clothing for the scorching hot day.

The Cost of Equipment

Generally speaking, sandboarding involves less expensive equipment than snowboarding does.

Also, sand dunes don’t have any infrastructure, such as ski lifts, and therefore the resorts have lower maintenance costs. Plus, sand boards are generally cheaper.

Snowboarding, on the other hand, is a costly sport since it requires a lot of equipment. Ski resorts require significant maintenance because of the seasonal demand and harsh weather.

In addition, ski resorts feature expensive lifts that transport you back upwards after skiing down a slope. Due to the harsh weather conditions, snowboarding equipment such as boots, helmets, and warm clothing can be very expensive.


Any country or state with sand dunes or sandy beaches or sandy slopes can offer year-round sandboarding and speed sand skiing activities.

In fact, sandboarding is the sport for you if you want something that will keep you active all year long. Just find a place with many sandboarding dunes.

Snowboarding, on the other hand, is a seasonal activity, with most resorts only allowing it in the winter.

Learning Curve

Sandboarding is simpler to learn than snowboarding. This is because snowboarding has more restrictions than sandboarding. If you’re skilled enough, you can even sandboard while sitting.

Sandboarding will often appear to be simpler and more enjoyable for those who have been snowboarding for a while. You’ll be experiencing the planet from the warmer side, with stunning scenery and a lot of exposure to the natural world.

Sandboarding vs Snowboarding Restrictions

Sandboarding vs Snowboarding Restrictions

Sandboarding and snowboarding have different safety regulations, which is another disparity between the two sports.

For sandboarding, you just get your sandboard and go sand skiing down the sand dunes to get started with sandboarding; it couldn’t be simpler. You can begin your trip to great adventures with just one sandboard.

However, there’re some restrictions to snowboarding and you will need some assistance. Your board may get trapped on the edges due to the potential hardness of the snow surfaces.

Using Snowboards for Sandboarding

Using Snowboards for Sandboarding

Can you ruin your snowboard by gliding down sand dunes? Well, yes, and here’s why: Snowboards are built of P-Tex. This makes it more difficult to snowboard down sand dunes.

Therefore, snowboarding on sand slopes would easily create more friction, which could result in scratches and other damage to your snowboard. You’ll most likely end up with a totally damaged snowboard; something you can’t use again for snow skiing. So, why not just use a sandboard?

Sandboarding vs Snowboarding: Final Words

Sandboarding vs Snowboarding Final Words

Hopefully, you can make the most of your snowboarding or sandboarding excursion. We’ve highlighted the differences between the two sporting activities. This is how you choose the right equipment and all the necessary safety gear. Thus far, we can’t emphasize enough that when it comes to snowboarding or sandboarding, there’s only one thing that matters: have fun!

Sharing is caring!

Lisa Hayden-Matthews

Lisa Hayden-Matthews

An avid Skier, bike rider, triathlon enthusiast, amateurish beach volleyball player and nature lover who has never lost a dare! I manage the overall Editorial section for the magazine here and occasionally chip in with my own nature photographs, when required.

Related Posts

Subscribe To Our NewsLetter!

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x