Sand Surfing the Sahara

I’ve never surfed nor snowboarded, but I think I deserve some partial street cred on both skills for being absolutely awesome at sand boarding. On my last trip to Egypt, my buddy Dave and I struck out to the desert around Fayoum Oasis about an hour south of Cario and hit the dunes to surf the sand.

Back in 2003 when I first moved to Egypt, some friends took me out to Fayoum for the first time and I loved lollygagging out on the huge dunes adjacent to the desert lake. Just a short drive from one of the largest and most congested cities in the world, you could literally feel like you’re 2000 miles from civilization in the middle of the Sahara Desert.

As an aside, we say Sahara Desert in English, but since sahara means desert in Arabic, it’s like we’re saying the Desert Desert. Although it’s probably quite fitting to double down in the name of that desert because it’s certainly one hell of a desert – like a DESERT desert!

Anywho, riding the dunes on boards was fun as hell, and I was better at it than I thought I would be. It’s surprisingly easy to keep your balance, especially with a few practice runs. You’ll want to make sure you find yourself a nice steep dune though. That’ll help with both balance and actually getting down the hill.

Unlike the snowy slopes, sand dunes don’t have chair lifts to take you back up to the top. That means you’ll have to make the climb back up through thick sand for each run. But don’t fret the sweat; at least you’ll get in a good workout on the way up to go with all the fun you’re having on the way down.

And while you may get sand in your butt from falling a few times, at least it won’t be cold and wet and make you go numb and give you frostbite.

Most Middle Eastern countries have awesome dunes (even if they don’t all have a Desert Desert), so you can sand surf in a lot of places even if you’re not traipsing around Egypt all the time like moi.