'All you're riding is Formica'

February 19th, 2012

One more sport I'm perfectly happy never to have tried: volcano-boarding

British journalist John Kay, chief reporter at The Sun, once summarized his personal M.O. as "If you don't go, you don't know." It's stuck with me ever since and is precisely what's brought me to Cerro Negro – the only place in the world you can do volcano-boarding, our guide said. The sport was created in 2005 by an Australian sand-boarder named Darryn Webb, who first tried mattresses, boogie boards and a mini-bar fridge before settling on the makeshift toboggan. Trips now run daily from the hostel Darryn also founded, called Bigfoot, where just $28 buys you a seat in the back of a flatbed truck, the use of a homemade board, and on this day the upbeat guidance of a man named Anthony, who is squat and muscly and so agile he can pop out of a hatch in our truck's cab, swing his body around as we jounce along some seriously unpaved roads, and land casually in the truck's rollicking bed. He looks like the sort of person who can handle tobogganing down an active volcano, while the 20 of us who will actually undertake the challenge look hot and tired and more like Janes than Tarzans.

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