Volcano boarding!

Leon Travel Blog

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Another day, another volcano! This hike was to have a different ending though as instead of walking down the mountain, the descent of this volcano was to be much faster than walking and well, a lot more fun! Someone not too long ago came up with the great idea of volcano boarding, which is basically as it sounds - climb up a volcano and then whizz down it at lightning speed sitting on a board!! Apparently the Australian bloke who came up with the idea invented the current 'board' after trial and error. They tried mattresses, plastic tables upside-down and even a fridge door! But the current board is made of wood, plain and simple! A bit like a sledge really!  

After a bumpy, dusty jeep ride past farms and waving children, we trekked up Cerro Negro, a small volcano of 726m, which is apparently one of the youngest volcanoes in the world.

Posing with our boards in our 'prison' suits
It is so-called Cerro Negro because it is formed from jet black loose soil and rocks. We climbed up the volcano to be greeted by immense strong winds. At one point I really felt like I was going to be swept of the side of the mountain, especially when the wind caught my board like a sail. Walking on the fine, soft surface of the volcanic sand was hard work too, and carrying our heavy boards didn't help.

Once at the top, we peered down into the yellow sulpher-stained crater and once again breathed in that awful sulphur smell. The wind was so powerful and we leant forward over the crater edge to let the wind support our weight. Good job the wind wasn't going the other way.

Then it was time to clamber into our bright orange 'prison' suits, get our goggles and gloves on and have a go at volcano boarding! We had a practice run first on a small slope to get a 'feel' for the board and have a go at the brakes (feet on the ground).

Trying to brake!
Had to shove both feet into the ground at exactly the same time to brake if not we would, umm, capsize.  

The practice run was scary enough and then we walked a bit further around the volcano to a much steeper part that went straight down the mountain. Have to say that when we were preparing to go, we were all bloody terrified. There were 6 of us and when it was time to get going, we were all very reluctant and nobody wanted to go first. Eventually, the German bloke in our group volunteered to go first. As we all stood nervously awaiting what appeared to be certain death, the ground seemed a long, long way away and the volcano side that we were to board down was incredibly steep. It seemed almost vertical.

We are alive! yay!
The German guy went off at lightening speed and soon disappeared over the ridge of the mountain. Just as we were wondering if he had plummeted to his death, he appeared at the bottom, a small orange spot in the far-away distance almost directly below us.

OK next person to go..... an english bloke who went next fell off several times on the way down, not doing a lot for our confidence. Then the next 2 went, a Dutch-Kiwi couple from our hostel, and then Simon and I had very little choice but to face the steep descent. As we sat on our boards and prepared to go, we said what we thought would be our final words to each other, and then off we went! We flew down that volcano so flippin fast it was hilarious! What we were so scared of turned into what became incredible fun in a split second! At one point, I was going a bit too fast and thought I would go flying so I put the brakes on (ie both feet onto the soft ground either side of the board).

Alive at the bottom of the volcano!
I didn't stop but did slow down a bit but then it was very hard to get feet back onto the board. The final bit of the volcano where everyone before us 'disappeared' over the ridge, turned out to be the steepest bit and therefore the fastest. We bombed down that bit in a flash and before we knew it, the ground levelled out and we came to a stop, collapsing in laughter (probably nervous hysterics at actually being alive).

It was a fantastic experience and what took us 1 hour to climb took 30 seconds to get down! The only problem was that the soles on our shoes were almost completely worn away from the friction of 'braking' on the rocks! Ooops.

We then watched the sun setting over the valley and we could see Volcan Telica, the volcano we climbed on the full moon night, smouldering in the near-distance, as well as the highest volcano in Nicaragua just beyond Telica.

Sunset

Once back in Leon, we headed back to the hostel with our Dutch-Kiwi boarding pals and proceeded to drink several beers as a celebration of being alive. But not before having a much-needed shower as we were once again filthy. Little volcanic rocks were lodged everywhere, even up our noses! Nice.

BeachBum429 says:
I did volcano boarding too...I wasn't as impressed with it after it was over. Though worth it since not many people can say they have done it but I don't think if we could do the climb again with the board that I would. Haha. And Yes I had that rock every also. I think I picked it out of my ears for 2 days (since I had a bit a tumble down the volcano.) Haha
Posted on: May 16, 2008
adventuremann says:
What an amazingly fun experience! I love it. I'll have to try this myself next time I'm in Nicaragua.
Posted on: Mar 18, 2007
pixiesp says:
Hi! This looks pretty cool, only did similar in the snow on my arse and that was awesome! Hope you are both well.
Simon
Posted on: Mar 15, 2007
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Posing with our boards in our pri…
Posing with our boards in our 'pr…
Trying to brake!
Trying to brake!
We are alive! yay!
We are alive! yay!
Alive at the bottom of the volcano!
Alive at the bottom of the volcano!
Sunset
Sunset
Simon preparing for the practice r…
Simon preparing for the practice …
Looks like a giant sand dune
Looks like a giant sand dune
How daft do we look!
How daft do we look!
The smoking crater
The smoking crater
Sun setting over the volcanic regi…
Sun setting over the volcanic reg…
One of these is Telica that we cli…
One of these is Telica that we cl…
Leon
photo by: Chokk