We assume that headline caught your attention. No, you did not read it wrong, either. There are actually people crazy enough to go cascading down an active volcano, and they do so on flimsy, homemade wooden boards at 30 miles per hour.
How It Works
An active volcano outside Len, Nicaragua is home to the most extreme-sounding sport in existence: volcano boarding. In truth, the rapid journey takes place along mounds of tiny volcanic rocks, not lava.
Make no mistake, though, the ride can still be dangerous. Boarders end up rocketing down a 41 slope. If they position themselves properly, they can reach speeds of 30-40 miles per hour with little means of slowing down. Crashing into the sharp rocks means scores of potential cuts and a mouthful of granules.
The thrill ride is able to work because of the tiny, loose rocks the volcanic ash produces. Cerro Negro (Black Hill), the volcano serving as the site of this unique pastime, is a relatively young volcano at only 160 years old. As such, it is more prone to belching out smoke rather than lava.
Do not assume that it is not hot, either. Patrons can enjoy a meal of volcano burritos after their journey, which are cooked in a metal box buried deep enough to absorb the volcanos heat. Thats right, you get to eat burritos cooked by a volcano after you go skidding down it.
The boards are made of simple wooden frames with a blocky snowboard-shaped platform underneath. A sheet of thin metal coats the bottom of the boards, and a piece of Formica plastic is glued on top of that to reduce friction. This plastic does not last very long, either, getting chewed up completely just after one or two rides. A rope is available for keeping you on the board. Just do not expect it to steer you very well.
Riders wear anti-rip coverall suits along with protective goggles and leather gloves to protect them from the sharp rocks. Adventurous types may want to try to ride their board standing up to look more impressive, but sitting on your bottom like a sled actually makes the ride faster and more enjoyable. People are recommended to slow their descent using hands or feet, but how they make their journey is ultimately their own responsibility.
Once you have made your trip to Nicaragua, you can schedule a volcano boarding session with the Quetzaltrekkers Nicaragua company. They will walk you up the side of Cerro Negro in a 45 minute trek, and they will provide you the protective clothing and guidance.
All of this can be had for only $30, including lunch. Even better, all of the profits go to charity! Anyone who has already taken the trouble to travel to Nicaragua should definitely give themselves a chance to participate in this once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Make sure that the watch you bring can withstand the extreme challenge of rocketing down a volcanos hillside. Joy Joy watches may get scratched up if they hit the rocks, but keeping them under the protective suit should be plenty safe for their durable construction and impact-resistant silicone watch skins. Just do not expect them to tangle with any lava should it actually show up; they are rated waterproof, not lavaproof!
Visit our watch heads section to start picking out your own extreme watch to accompany you on the most extreme-sounding sport possible.