Sandboarding Dubai – A Sport for Everyone

Extreme sanboarding in dubai18

Dubai is not all about tall buildings and busy streets. There are tranquil deserts away from all the hustle and bustle of the city and modernity. Although the desert may look dull and uninspiring, that’s not the case at first sight. The desert is full of life, both literally and figuratively. It is also the place for some adventurous sports. That might come as a surprise to you if you haven’t been to any desert before.

So what are the adventurous sports in the desert? There are many, like dune buggy riding, camel safari, quad biking, fat tire biking, off-roading, desert rallies, and more. But for this discussion, we will focus on sandboarding (or sand skiing).

What is Sandboarding?

You might have seen snowboarding. It is done in the snowy slopes of the temperate and polar regions. Sandboarding is an adaptation of this sport to the desert sands. Instead of the snow, sandboarding is done on the sand, as the name suggests. Though sandboarding is possible on loose sand, it is best done in the desert. Deserts have the perfect terrain for sandboarding with varying heights and slopes. Sandboarding is one of the activities during the desert safari Dubai trip.

Tall and steep dunes are the best for sandboarding. So look for them. Stand on top of the dune, strap the board to your feet, and slide down to the bottom. Carving the sand is different than cutting the snow. You can do some backflips in the air if you are an expert.

Click here to read about all the things you can do in Dubai.

Sandboard vs. Snowboard

Although similar, sandboards are a little different from snowboards. Sand is a lot more abrasive than snow. Therefore, the board has to be more challenging. That also means the sandboards are a tad bit heavier than the latter.

Best locations to sandboard in the UAE

The Lahbab Desert

The Desert in Dubai is known for its red and tall dunes. Most of the dunes here range from 10 to 30 meters. But there are a few that are about 100 meters tall. The Lahbab desert is a 40-minute drive from Dubai on the Dubai-Hatta road.

Sunset in Lahbab desert.

Al Faya Desert

The sand color of the Sharjah desert is red. You will find a cluster of tall dunes in the center of this desert where 4x4s, dune buggies, and sand boarders flock. This area will be a little packed in the winter. So, getting a convenient spot to sandboard is a bit tricky.

Liwa Oasis

In Abu Dhabi, Liwa Oasis is famous for a particularly massive Moreeb dune. This is the single largest dune globally, standing 300 meters tall and 1.6 kilometers long. Though the dune is in the middle of the desert, a road will take you right to the bottom of the dune. But you would rather have 4×4 to your aid. Although skiing down the slope will be fun, walking back to the top won’t be. One advantage of the Moreeb dune is that it is vast. You will always find a place to put your skills to work.

Al Badayer

The tallest dune in Badayer is called the Big Red because it is ruby red and big. And that is the sweet spot for the adventure. This dune is easy for amateurs to sandboard. The Badayer is also close to Dubai. It only takes 45 minutes to drive from Dubai to get there.

There will be a lot of adventure lovers here on the weekends and during the colder weather, thanks to its proximity to the city.

Fossil Rocks

Scientific evidence points to the fact that the Arabian desert was once under the sea. Geologists call this sea Tethys. That’s how we can explain the presence of marine fossils in the middle of the desert. Jebel Maleihah also called the Fossil Rock, is located on the outskirts of Sharjah, near Mleiha archeological center. The fossils of marine animals that existed millions of years ago can be found here. Another thing the fossil rock is famous for is sandboarding and dune bashing.

Fossil Rock

Sweihan desert

This desert in Abu Dhabi is also called ‘Little Liwa.’ Sweihan has conveniently located an equal distance from Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Al Ain. The sand here is soft, and the dunes are giant. Therefore you need to be an experienced offroader to drive in Sweihan and not get stuck in the sand.

Different types of Sandboards


A bumbled is a large board on which you can sit, lay or sandboard with your buddy. You can double up on this board comfortably. Bumsled is great for sandboarding with family. You can make kids who aren’t old enough to go on their sit with you and give them sandboarding fun.

Freeride boards

They are for stand-up sandboarding. Among freeride boards, there are two varieties:


These are flat boards with velcro straps to secure your feet or shoes. They are medium-performance and cost around 700 AED.


These are high-performance boards made for speed and endurance. Instead of velcro straps, they have inserts to place snowboard bindings or skiing shoes. These can cost around 1500 AED.

Board Wax

The sand is abrasive and puts excellent friction on the board. Board wax helps to smooth out the bottom surface of the board. Professional sand boarders who aim for maximum speed should use board wax.

Types of sandboarding

Stand up boarding

This is the most common type of sandboarding. You strap your feet onto the board and slide upright down the dune. This allows you to carve up the sand, make turns, and do flips if you are an expert.

Different boards are optimized for speed, control, and balance for stand-up boarding. You can choose any depending on your skill level and want.

Tow boarding

This one is only for the professional and the adventurous. You can hold a rope connected to a dune buggy or a 4×4. This allows you to climb up and down the dunes at great speed. You can perform amazing tricks with this. This is risky; you must not try it without proper training.

Sitdown Sandboarding

In this, you sit on the board and slide down the dune. The advantage of it is that you don’t need to balance. Also, you can take young children with you on the board.

Sandboarding in Desert Safari

Desert safari tours offer sandboarding in their package. Other attractions in the desert safari trip include adventurous activities like dune bashing, quad biking, camel safari, and the Bedouin camp experience. 

You will experience sandboarding during the breaks between the dune bashing drive. If you want an extended sandboarding experience, choose the morning desert safari. The morning safari is tailored for adventurous minds. There is no camp experience, though.

The advantage of a safari tour is that you don’t need to have your board. Boards can be pretty expensive. Also, you don’t have to lug the 7-pound board to the desert.

What to wear for a sandboarding trip

Sand can get everywhere when you sandboard. You might fall in the sand. So, keep your best clothes for some other day. You should wear something casual and comfortable for a sandboarding trip. Something you don’t mind getting soiled.

High-top shoes are better than low-top ones. Desert sand does not give much traction when you walk. If you wear low-top shoes in the desert, you are sure to get a few pounds of sand inside your shoes, making it even more challenging to walk. And you will have to remove your shoes and get rid of the sand from time to time.

Wearing open-toe shoes will prevent the sand from accumulating inside the boots. But no sandals. You cannot walk in sandals on the sand. Also, strapping your feet to the sandboard will be more comfortable if your shoes are on.

Why should you go sandboarding?

There are many reasons for you to try out sandboarding:

An easy and fun sport

Sandboarding does not require a lot of skill or training. Anyone can do it without any safety concerns. Falling on the sand is softer than falling on the snow. And unlike dune bashing, you don’t need a four-wheel drive for sandboarding.


A sport you can try at a minimal cost. Yes, the sandboard can be expensive if you are to buy one. But you can easily find a place in Dubai to rent a board for a few bucks.

A great solo sport

You do not need a large group of people for sandboarding. You and a few of your friends can decide and go to the desert with a board and do it. You can try this sport even if you are alone. So, it is one of the best activities for solo travelers.

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