Volcano surfing, also known as ash boarding or volcano boarding, is a sport performed on volcano slopes. The most popular slope is of Cerro Negro near Leon in western Nicaragua. Riders hike up the volcano and slide down, sitting or standing, on a thin plywood or metal board. The sport is also practiced on Mt. Yasur in Tanna, Vanuatu.
Volcano surfing can be an extreme sport. Potential dangers include falling off and getting cut by the rough volcanic ash, breathing poisonous gasses, or being hit by flying molten lava. Protective gear, including jumpsuits and goggles, is used. Cerro Negro is also an active volcano, although the last eruption was in 1999. Mt. Yasur is far more dangerous with volcanic eruptions occurring every day.
Sandboarding, the sledding of sand dunes, was established by the 1970s and 1980s: Derek Bredenkamp and others boarded Swakopmund in South Africa around 1974; Jack Smith and Gary Fluitt popularized it in California in the early 1980s.
National Geographic Channel adventurer and journalist Zoltan Istvan credits himself with inventing the volcano boarding sport on Mt. Yasur on the island of Tanna in Vanuatu in 2002, though Istvan first visited the active volcano in 1995. He filmed his adventure, and it later aired on the National Geographic Channel in a 5-minute news segment. Istvan differentiates volcano boarding into two forms: 1) Boarding down an active volcano where immediate dangers comes from flying molten lava and lethal volcano gases, and 2) boarding down an inactive volcano where no immediate danger is present (similar to sand boarding).
- Laura Siciliano-Rosen (April 19, 2009). "A Sport Erupts on a Live Volcano in Nicaragua". The New York Times. p. TR4. Retrieved 2014-07-13.
- Zoltan Istvan (November 5, 2002). "Reporter's Notebook: Surfing the Volcano". National Geographic Today. Retrieved July 8, 2015.
- Zoltan Istvan of Istvan Media for the National Geographic Channel. "Volcano Boarding: the New Extreme Sport". YouTube. Retrieved December 2, 2014.
- Zoltan Istvan (December 8, 2002). "EXTREME SPORTS / Really Good Pumice, Dude! / Volcano boarding: Russian roulette on a snowboard". SFGate. Retrieved July 8, 2015.