Five years ago, while exploring the city of LeÃ³n, I stumbled into the office of a nascent Dutch-run tour company called Va Pues Tours where I found Jan, Joost, and a few friends waxing up some bizarre, stainless-steel-plated snowboards. “For the volcano,” they said, “Cerro Negro. Do you want to come?” Did I want to be a guinea pig for the first volcano-surfer prototypes in Nicaragua?
“Yes,” I said.
We climbed, we strapped in, we slid through dried lava â€” both inside and outside the sulfur-steaming crater. It was good, hot fun, but I never got anywhere near the speeds these rock-surfers are getting today, according to this article in the Daily Mail: “Volcano boarding: Adrenaline junkies think new extreme sport is the coolest thing going.”Â People are sliding or riding at speeds of up to 50 mph, it says. They must have found a very steep spot.
Once a reader of Moon Nicaragua wrote to us to complain about environmental impacts of volcano-boarding, but he never gave any detailsâ€”so I’m curious if anyone has any ideas or observations about this. In the meantime, here are a few shots from my day on the slopes, 2003…