4/23/2014

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Local & Regional

'You don't even notice the hike back up, it feels so great going down'

'You don't even notice the hike back up, it feels so great going down'

FLORENCE, Ore. - Two-time junior sandboarding champion MacKenzie Matthews is 16.

She's been riding the dunes for a decade.

"The bigger the dune, the more fun it is, I say," she said.

Snowboarding season is over, but you can still get your kicks in at the sand dunes on the Oregon Coast.

Lon Beale, the owner of Sand Master Park in Florence, said he ranks it among the top 5 sand dunes in the U.S.

"The sand itself, the characteristics are more like water," Beale said.

He said his park was the first to rent sandboards, which was a long time coming.

"Back in those days, we were just sliding on anything, old water skiis, surfboards - car hoods were very popular," he said.

Some people say sandboarding looks a lot like snowboarding, but Beale said it's more a combination of sports.

"When you ride the sand, it feels more like surfing than snowboarding," he said. "But the fundamental mechanics are the same - heel toe, edging, you know, trimming - is very similar to snowboarding."

And it's significantly less expensive when you consider lift fees - just ask sandboarding instructor, Bekah Austin.

"It's a rush," she said. "Yeah it just feels great, you know, after a while you don't even notice the hike back up, it just feels so great going down."

For more information, visit www.sandmasterpark.com and www.sanddunesfrontier.com

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