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SSouth Africa has a number of excellent mountain-boarding routes, along with experienced instructors to help guide newcomers to the sport along the way. This adventure activity is sure to increase in popularity as more and more extreme sports enthusiasts learn about it.
Mountain boarding is basically skating down a dirt track on a board similar to a snowboard, but with 4 pneumatic wheels.
In essence a combination of skateboarding, snowboarding and sandboarding, this board sport dates back to 1992, when a group of extreme-sports enthusiasts in the United Kingdom, United States and Australia began experimenting with different ways to combine their favourite board sports.
While mountain boarding is a relatively new concept in South Africa, there are a few adventure companies that offer this adrenalin-pumping experience to those daring enough to try it. Anyone with a decent sense of balance, and who is tough enough to handle a few potential tumbles while learning, should get involved right away.
While it may not be as fast-paced as snowboarding, mountain boarding allows participants to explore a greater variety of terrain, while the scenery is a lot more colourful than the sheer white slopes that appeal to snowboarders.
Because of the sport's widespread origins, the steering and braking systems used for mountain boarding vary and include, among others, cable-pull V-brakes, operated by a lever at the rear end of the board, and hydraulic disc or rim brakes, similar to those on motorcycles.
Tiffindell, a ski and adventure resort in the Eastern Cape, offers a 2-hour training session for newcomers to the activity. Once boarders are comfortable balancing, they can ride the mountains usually used for skiers and snowboarders during the winter months.
Jozi X, an extreme adventure company based in Johannesburg, Gauteng, has a 100m mountain boarding track for beginners and can also organise trips to various mountain boarding sites in the area.
TTravel tips & planning info
Who to contact
Tel: +27 (0)82 456 2358
Tel: +27 (0)11 781 2620
Best time to visit
Mountain boarding is not limited to any particular season, though spring and summer are the most popular times to experience it.
What will it cost?
Most operators will offer this activity for between R250 and R400.
What to pack
Use old, hard-wearing clothes when mountain boarding. Jeans provide the best protection from grazes, and shoes with good ankle support are best.