Adventure sports

Santa Cruz, circa 1976

scsurf76001

A friend gave me this photo the other day. Don’t know who made the image, but it’s stamped “Apr. 1976″ on the back. After staring at it for a long while, my best guess is that we’re looking at the Hook, just south of the O’Neill house in Capitola. But it’s tough to tell. There’s a lot of open ocean here, with no obvious landmarks.

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Sand dreams

Josh Tenge on Honeyman Dune

Josh Tenge, ambassador

The first time I went sandboarding was more than a decade ago. I was in Swakopmund, a surreal town of Bavarian-style gingerbread architecture on Namibia’s desolate, windswept coast. The boards back then were just modified snowboards, and the riding was slow going–not altogether different from a sunny, sludgy day in Tahoe. You could carve big, slow-motion turns, pretending you’re Jake Burton or something, then head off to the local beer garden.

The next time I tried sandboarding was earlier this year, in Florence, Oregon. Florence is a weird place, the sort of hippie-redneck hybrid you only really find on the Pacific coast, and it might very well be the monster-truck capital of the West, owing to the massive dunefields looming over the ocean here. It is also the sandboarding capital of the country, with a fully developed local scene. I went out with Josh Tenge, four-time world sandboard champ, and he showed me how far the sport has come in a decade. The boards have changed: small and edgeless, fast and incredibly responsive, and mercilessly unforgiving when you leaned too far into a turn (my punishment: a sore back and sand that was still lodged in my ears days later). And Josh, with his ever-expanding arsenal of tricks and visions of sandboarding safaris, has become the sport’s roving ambassador. Sandboarding is beginning to come into its own.

All that’s to introduce the piece I wrote (and shot) for this fall’s Men’s Book. It’s a clunky interface, but do check it out. The story starts on page 40. You’ll find more of my sandboarding shots here.

Adventure sports
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