The Latest Backpacker Craze: Volcano Boarding

Get a proper feel for the latest backpacker craze; volcano boarding down the slopes of Cerro Negro outside Leon in Nicaragua.The trail zig-zagged up the jet-black slope. The volcano, Cerro Negro, loomed above me like an angry parent. I paused and re-adjusted the shiny metal boards upon my head. I was carrying two, stacked like fruit upon a hawkers head. Well, that was how I pictured it anyway, in reality, they were slipping and sliding everywhere which made getting up the ash path pretty tricky. I looked behind me, a patchwork quilt of greens and browns spread into the distance to meet the base of the other volcanos. I sprinted another fifty meters and dumped the boards unceremoniously on the ground before turning to my fellow adventurers, sprinting back down the path to help a couple of American girls with their boards, I am an English gentleman after all…

volcano boarding

We spent nearly an hour picking our way up the volcano, passing rocky outcrops with stunning views (perfect for practising headstands!) and steaming vents of sulphur. The clear blue sky stretched into the distance and the sun beat down as the rocks continued to sizzle. Arriving at the lip of the volcano, I peered down towards the steaming crater. We spent a short while exploring the summit before heading to the top of the forty five degrees slope. There was an extremely vague path which we were told to aim for and, after thirty seconds of instruction, we were given the all clear. I held back, one by one the rest of my group slid, crashed and tumbled down the slope. Many of them stopped at least once as they lost speed or hit rocks but ultimately the track became smoother and smoother. I had a plan, by going last I figured that I could ride my board all the way to the bottom at breakneck speed on the now flattened ash.

volcano boarding

I kicked over my board, strapped on my GoPro (hold that thought) and approached the slope’s edge. I sat down, grabbed the hempen rope that served as a steering wheel and yanked with all of my might. It was time to go volcano boarding… I lifted the front of the board almost into the air and threw my weight backwards. A couple of seconds later and I was off like a rocket, I slid down the slope picking up more and more speed. I shot past a friend taking pictures, hit a patch of hard gravel, skidded and nearly lost control. Ash hit me in the face, I could see almost nothing but I could taste gravel in my mouth. I spat, whooped and leant back even further to pick up speed. The bottom of the volcano rushed to meet me, it occurred to me I had no idea how to stop. I had about five seconds to fathom this before I hit a final patch of gravel and, to my relief, came to a stop. My adrenaline was pumping, my heart was thumping, I had just surfed a volcano… and it was awesome! Hurriedly, I gathered up my board, there were more slopes to be surfed!

To really get a feel for the experience, check out my GoPro video!

If you fancy giving volcano boarding on Cerro Negro a whirl yourself, simply head to Leon and visit the Quetzal Trekkers office, they can arrange everything for you and provide all the transport, equipment and guides.

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Get a proper feel for the latest backpacker craze; volcano boarding down the slopes of Cerro Negro outside Leon in Nicaragua.


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