“Hey Mom, it’s not going to rain this weekend in Florence.”

I know what the weekend has in store for me when I hear this sentence by Wednesday. It means there is no need to vacuum out my car and I better load up on snacks, water, and sunscreen because we are going sandboarding!

I introduced our children to the sport of sandboarding last year, thinking this will be a fun thing to try once. Although my family lives in Oregon, and in particular Eugene, where we are only an hour or so away from two ski resorts, our family has never been much for board sports. We are more of a soccer, basketball, and baseball/softball kind of family. So I figured the kids would try sandboarding, have a little fun, and want to go maybe once a year or so. Little did I know that I would become a "Sandboarding Mom."

My daughter fell in love with the sport immediately. This is the same girl who once told me “I will only ever want to play soccer.” By the end of her first day sandboarding she declared “I want one of these for my own and I want to do this as often as possible!”  We told her the only time of the year that was off-limits was during soccer season, but other than that if we did not have any plans and the weather was acceptable we were happy to take her and a friend or two.

The weekend after soccer season was over I heard the sentence “Mom, it’s not going to rain this weekend” and I knew I better make sure there was enough gas in the car and our park pass was current. Before you head out you need to make sure everyone is prepared for a day of fun.

Day of Adventure - Sandboarding in Florence

As a Sandboarding Mom there are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. No matter how clean you like things, your car will always have sand in it.
  2. It does not matter how protected you think you are from the sand; you will still find it in places you didn’t think sand would ever show up.
  3. Be prepared to hear joys of laughter as the kids work their way down the dune.
  4. There are no ski lifts, if you want to board down the dune, you first have to climb up.
  5. Give it a try! It’s sand, so very forgiving if you fall.

As a Sandboarding Mom there are a few supplies you need to have:

  1. A camera (or your phone) for taking pictures of your child, and the scenery. You will get some beautiful pictures.
  2. Snacks and water. Once you get the kids out there they will not want to leave.
  3. A chair or blanket. If you are not participating you will want something, besides the sand, to sit on.
  4. Layers of clothes. At least at the Oregon Coast the weather can change within minutes.
  5. A good book or two. Again, you may be out there a while.

As a Sandboarding Mom here are the things your kids will need:

  1. A sandboard or sled. You can easily rent these in Florence. We always go to Sand Master Park where you can rent a board for as little as $16 for a 24-hour period of time.
  2. Socks. You do not wear shoes sandboarding, but you will want a pair of socks between your feet and the bindings.
  3. Sunglasses. The sun reflecting off the sand can be blinding, even on overcast days.
  4. Leggings or Shorts. You want clothing that will either help keep the sand out of your clothes or something you can easily shake the sand out of. Trust me, even sitting on the sidelines you find sand everywhere.
  5. Phone. Not to call anyone, but to take pictures and video so they can make a movie to post on Instagram and Snapchat.
Sandboarding by Julia Carr

Getting Your Gear

Although Sydney has her own sandboard now, she usually has at least one friend with her and we need to get them equipped, so we start at Sand Master Park.

When you walk into the rental office you will notice the shelves are full of bottles of sand from around the world, and many trophies. Oh, did I forget to mention that a Sandboarding World Champion works there and gives lessons? Oh, and one of the innovators of the sport owns the place? Where else would you go?

Hitting the Sand Slopes

Once we have everything we need we figure out our destination for the day. Everywhere you turn in Florence there is sand and dunes, but our two favorite sandboarding spots are the 40-acres (16 ha) of dunes owned by Sand Master Park, and the dunes out at Jessie M. Honeyman State Park. The dunes at Sand Master Park have something for everyone… from beginner to expert. Plus, there is so much space you will never feel like you are bumping into people or encroaching on their run. The main dune at Honeyman is big, steep, and fun! You will find more people trying to use the dune, but there is plenty of space for everyone. Besides, don’t forget that it takes time to climb back to the top.

Once a location is decided upon it is then time to get the chair out, get set up, and watch the kids have fun. It’s that simple! After watching a little while you might find the voice in your head say “You can do that, go give it a try,” and by all means don’t be afraid to listen to that voice. You only live once and if you are going to become a Sandboarding Mom you might as well see if it is something you like to do also. I have tried a few times, but have found it is not the sport for me. So I sit back in my chair with my book and enjoy the sounds of screaming and laughter from Sydney and her friends as they ride down the dunes, trying not to eat too much sand. While they play, I ponder how I managed to once again get sand in my ears, in the pockets of my jacket, and wonder at what point is there too much sand in my car.

Ah, the life of a Sandboarding Mom.

A Coastal Playground