While we were in Leon, Nicaragua we heard there was some Volcano Boarding that could be done. I checked YouTube for other particpants’ videos to see if this was something that I could do, if there were any survivors and if anyone had pro-tips. Christian would have bet you that I wouldn’t do this type of activity. After every YouTube video I’d run up to him and say something like “they go like 40-60 mph on a board down the volcano!” “People crash pretty hard, some girl went rolling the rest of the way and flew off her board!” His response was always “yeah, I’m sure, are you sure you wanna do this? I want to go but I’m not sure if you’re going to like it. I don’t want to spend money on this if you’re going to get up to the top and I have to worry about you trying to walk down it instead.” My type of fun isn’t going fast, free-falling or adrenaline-raising type of activities. I prefer a very relaxed chill type of fun, but I figured this might be the only place in the world that I would be at where I could go down a volcano on a board. The board is a sturdy piece of wood with a raggedy rope tied to the end for you to hang onto and underneath the board is a piece of metal and fiberglass to make it fly down the gravel-volcano. When you are at the top and looking down it’s steep enough that you can’t see the route beneath you.
When we arrive at the top we get a briefing from our guide in his broken English, “lean back to be fast, sit-up for slow, and lean back a little bit for medium-fast. Tap your feet to turn, use feet to stop, hold on.” Okay sure, but I’m not going first. I’ll go last, I need to see the ratio of wipe-outs and damage to successful completion. I was counting how many seconds until I could see someone appear alive from the bottom, the first girl wipes out and we don’t see her for ten minutes. Then he says ok, Next! Thirty minutes later Christian and I are the only ones left at the top of the mountain besides a guide using his thumbs to direct boarding traffic.
I wanted to go down before Christian so I wasn’t the very last left up there, but Christian gets the thumb first. I’m waiting on my board, breathing heavily underneath my bandana and a swarm of bees or wasps come across the top of the hill surrounding me. Are you freakin’ kidding me!!!! I start scootin my butt on the board to go slow but get the hell out of the swarm. My lane wasn’t ready, there was a girl wiped out just below me. “Come on lady!! Hurry up, I’m gonna die up here!” “Please, please let me go!” I’ve never been so anxious to do something I was nervous about. Fuck it, I’m going she better move!” A swarm of wasps is more horrifying than this volcano boarding, I hang on and head down the volcano. Just in time I get the thumbs up as I pass the guide. I’m looking down ahead of me and I can’t spot Christian. So I lean back, pick up speed and it feels like I’m literally flying on gravel. Sit-up sit-up sit-up, slow-down slow-down slow-down aaaaaggghhhh, phew I’m good. I’m coming up on the speed gun so I lean back to pick up speed so no one will know how slow I was going, plus now I can see the bottom.
I made it to the bottom of the hill in one-piece and probably the dirtiest I have ever been. There’s dirt and gravel everywhere, we all had dirt rings around where are goggles were. I find Christian in shambles at the bottom, I run up to him screaming “wasn’t that awesome! I wish I went faster, can you believe I was going 24kph, I’m so fast!!!” What was your speed, what happened to you?”
Christian was banged up, missing shoes and his go-pro, bleeding from his arm, leg and face and his suit was torn into pieces. “I was picking up some serious speed hit a bump flew off the board and rolled down about half way,” he said. Well how fast were you? 63kph he told me.
The survivors were given a cold beer and a cookie right away and a second beer back at the hostel.