Volcano Surfing: The 'Latest Hot Extreme Sport' (VIDEO)
For many, watching a volcano spout lava 1,000 meters in the air is exciting enough. But true thrill seekers might prefer to actually slide down the side of active volcanoes at 50mph on a plank of wood.
Yes, this option is now available.
Known as volcano surfing, the sport has become popular among tourists after it was discovered by Australian Darryn Webb back in 2005. According to Sabotage Times, Webb was managing the BigFoot hostel in Leon, a town in Nicaragua's mountainous Northwest region. The keen snowboarder saw potential to translate his skills, and experimented with mattresses and boogie boards on the 2,388-foot high Cerro Negro volcano.
He settled on a plywood board reinforced with metal and Formica to sit on while hurtling down the side of the volcano at a 41 degree angle, according to the site.
Environmental Graffiti writes that taking into account that Cerro Negra last erupted in 1999 and could do so again at any moment, it is the "latest hot extreme sport" among the travel adventure community, with over 10,000 people having tried it.
Laura Siciliano-Rosen wrote of her experience in The New York Times: "Immediately, I realized that letting out a shout was a bad idea: pebbles and dust flew everywhere, including into my mouth. Unlike a smooth, soft sandboarding descent, the ride was bumpy, the noise deafening."
Before volcano surfing, in 2003, one extreme sportsman suffered the ultimate crash and burn on Cerro Negro. Frenchman Eric Barone took to the volcano on a mountain bike setting a land speed record of 107mph. However, he almost died doing it. As he clocked his top speed, his bike spontaneously disintegrated, leaving him with five broken ribs, a dislocated shoulder and torn muscles in his hands, according to Ripley's Believe It Or Not.
Watch the video above to see McClatchy's Tim Johnson go volcano boarding.