Volcano Boarding

Last night at the hostel some people were talking about going Volcano boarding. I didn’t know what that was but it sounded awesome. I signed right up.

Bigfoot Hostel is apparently the first hostel in Leon to start the crazy activity simply called Volcano boarding. For $25 you get to ride down a volcano, get awesome views of the area, a cold beer and cookie at the end, a mojito and photos of the day when you get back.

At 9AM twenty of us boarded a truck and drove down a dirt road for 45 minutes until we reached the base of the Volcano Cerro Negro. The ride might be the most dangerous part of the day as tree branches would smack the heads of passengers. I kept wishing I was on my motorcycle. We had to stop a few times to let ranchers herd their cattle across the narrow trail.

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Cerro Negro (Black Mountain) is a rare volcano for a few reasons. The first is that it’s just over 150 years old. It shot up from the ground in 1850. In two weeks it was 50 meters high and kept growing. Also, Cerro Negro has no plants growing on it’s slopes.  At only 2381 feet it’s not the highest volcano but with the slopes covered in black volcanic sand, it’s perfect for riding down. Most do it on a board, one guy did it on a bicycle.

Eric Barone is a French cyclist who wanted to ride down it to break a speed record. He reached 107 MPH and then his bike frame broke sending him flying down the mountain. Watch the epic descent on YouTube. We wouldn’t be going anywhere near that speed so there’s nothing to worry about. We grabbed our boards, “fire suits”, goggles, water, and started hiking up the volcano.

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It takes about 1 hour to reach to top and when I was standing still I could feel the intense heat on my legs and through my shoes. Smoke was coming out of some cracks.

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Now it was time to ride down.

Here’s the process:

  • sit on the board
  • hold onto the rope and try to lean all the way back
  • you only want the back of the board touching the volcano to achieve maximum speed
  • use your balance and feet to steer

From the top you can’t see the whole way down. That’s how steep some sections are. Before we rode down everyone took a lava shot. Not only was the rum bottled filled with hot chilies,it was buried in the volcanic rock to really heat it up.

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I got on my board and with my gopro in my hand I pushed off. Trying to hold onto the gopro was a mistake and I had no control of the board. I ditched the gopro and held on.

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I had a few wipeouts but was loving every second of it. There were some sections where I picked up some serious speed.

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1402147_614178871980362_1767813693_oI made it to the bottom and watched the others come flying down. I wanted to run back up and do it again. There’s few things that give you that kind of adrenaline rush. I would love to come back to Nicaragua and do this over and over.

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