Learn About the Extreme Sport Volcano Boarding

An activity that takes place on the crater rims of volcanoes is known as “volcano surfing” or “volcano boarding. The Cerro Negro near Leon in western Nicaragua is one of the most popular places for this activity to take place. Riders climb the volcano and slide down on a thin plywood or metal board, either sitting or standing. Mount Yasur in Tanna, Vanuatu, and Mount Bromo in Indonesia are the only other places where the sport is practiced.

Volcano surfing is a dangerous activity. The rough volcanic ash, poisonous gasses, contracting histoplasmosis (also known as “caver’s disease”), or being hit by flying molten lava are all possible dangers in the area. Jumpsuits, goggles, and other protective gear are common. Even though the last eruption occurred in 1999, Cerro Negro is still an active volcano. Every day there are eruptions at Mount Yasur, which is far more active and dangerous than Mount Merapi.

Volcano Boarding’s History

Volcano boarding was invented by an Australian adventurer who had previously learned how to snowboard down sand dunes but had to adapt this activity to the volcanic gravel surface.

Initially, he tried sliding down the volcano on everything from a mattress to a refrigerator, but he eventually discovered that the best results in terms of speed can be obtained when using a wooden sled with a thin metal layer on its bottom.

This is how the activity of “volcano boarding” got its start.

Cerro Negro has drawn many athletes and lunatics from around the world who have taken on the challenge of climbing the volcano and descending from its summit in the shortest time possible, despite numerous attempts that have ended in failure and injuries.

Eric Barone, who rode his bike down the volcano at 172 kph, is one of the most well-known ambassadors of Cerro Negro and Nicaragua in general.

Despite the fact that he ended up in the hospital with numerous injuries and broken bones, he served as an inspiration for others who began exploring the youngest volcano in Central America and sought to devise new ways to combine their love of the volcano with their love of speed. Eventually, one of these individuals succeeded and cemented the reputation of Cerro Negro and volcano boarding for future travelers.

Expeditionary journalist Zoltan Istvan of the National Geographic Channel claims to have invented the sport of “volcano boarding” in 2002 on Vanuatu’s Mount Yasur, though he first visited the active volcano in 1995. In a five-minute news segment, he documented his journey for the National Geographic Channel. Volcano boarding can be divided into two categories: In an active volcano, flying lava and lethal volcanic gases present an immediate danger; in an inactive volcano, no such dangers exist (similar to sandboarding).

Place for Volcano Boarding

People on Cerro Negro volcano crater sliding on board activity aerial view

Cerro Negro is Nicaragua’s most active volcano, located near Leon, the country’s most beautiful city. On top of being one of Nicaragua’s most frequently active volcanoes, it is also the youngest in Central America.

Cerro Negro last erupted in 1999, and our guide made it clear that we should not spend too much time at the volcano if this 20-years calculation is correct.

And, of course, this volcano stands out above the rest because you can board down it.

The Cerro Negro volcano, Nicaragua’s most popular tourist attraction, requires a half-hour trek to the summit, which is a small price to pay for the thrill of volcano boarding.

Despite its modest height of 728 meters (2400 feet), the active Cerro Negro offers a 40-second thrill ride down its ash-covered slopes on a board that lets participants claim to have “surfed a volcano.”

Cerro Negro is still active, but it hasn’t erupted in over a decade.

Cerro Negro can only be reached by car or Volcano Board Adventur Tour, as there is no public transportation available anymore.

Either way, the trip to the volcano’s crater takes about an hour. Cerro Negro’s beauty can be appreciated without volcano boarding, of course, but if you’d like to try it, your only option is to join a tour group because there isn’t anywhere to rent a board on your own.

What to Wear for Volcano Boarding?

Most people who go boarding advise wearing closed-toe shoes to keep your feet safe on the hike up and the board down. Because you’ll be braking with your legs, hiking boots or at the very least shoes with sturdy soles are recommended.

The hike to the top of Cerro Negro is strenuous, so bring plenty of water and sunscreen.  

Multipurpose head wrap is essential because the slide is so dusty that you need to cover your mouth and nose.

Goggles, a prison-style jumpsuit, and gloves are all standard fare for your safety. In addition, you will receive small bags so that you could more easily transport your jumpsuits and water to the summit of the volcano.

What’s the Volcano Boarding Surfboard Like?

A simple rectangular board with a thin layer of metal on the bottom is all that is needed to take you down and eliminate any potential friction.

In addition, the board has a small area for your buttocks and a rope in front for your hands that you must hold down firmly. To increase your speed, you can slack off on it, lean back, and raise your legs.

How to Do Volcano Boarding?

Woman on volcano sand boarding tour in Nicaragua Cerro Negro

You’ll learn how to control the board in detail through the guide, but before then, be aware that there are no brakes.

You can only slow down with your legs, which should be on the ground at all times, unless you decide to be a hero of the day and try to break the record.

Keeping your balance while leaning back and holding the rope tight is extremely difficult, and it’s even more difficult if you don’t have any belly muscles. Place yourself in either position one (the slowest) or two (the moderate) if you haven’t lost your sense of self-preservation.

Keep your feet firmly planted on the ground and don’t lean back as you sit in position one. The board will not move any faster than you desire when in this position. Keep your feet flat on the ground and lean your body back as you increase your speed if you’re comfortable with it.


Cerro Negro volcano boarding is one of the 50 craziest things you can do before you die, according to CNN. To avoid risking injury, even if you are a little afraid, slow down, and use your feet as breaks the entire time.

When you look down from the top of Cerro Negro’s summit, your first impression is likely to be that the slope is too steep for anyone but a lunatic to board it.

You will never be forced to participate in this activity if you do not want to, even if most people overcome their fear and enjoy the ride down. Walking or running downhill isn’t a problem!