Michelle DeRoche, Contributing Writer
Volcano boarding (also called volcano surfing or ash boarding), a sport which first became popular in 2004, is performed by climbing up the side of a volcano and then sliding back down on a thin, metal or plywood board. Surfers can stand or sit on the board, but either way requires a lot of balance. Participants must often wear jumpsuits and goggles to protect themselves from flying ash. A popular location for the sport is Cerro Negro, an active volcano in western Nicaragua.
When deliberating whether or not to participate in an extreme sport, it is important to determine if the thrills outweigh the risks. Many things can go wrong in volcano boarding. If a surfer hits a large rock unexpectedly, it could send him flying, possibly crashing into the side of the volcano. Surfers can reach speeds of up to 50 miles an hour, and the volcanic ash and rock can cut them very easily. However, just the climb up the side of the volcano brings its own reward. Cerro Negro, for example, has a beautiful view at its peak, at an elevation of 2,388 feet.
For extreme adventure seekers, volcano boarding is right up your alley. For anyone afraid of heights or of the risks involved, I would suggest you stay home for this one. However, a trip to Nicaragua for volcano boarding would make a story of a lifetime, if anyone is looking for ways to spend his spring break.