Christchurch's alternative sports: Blokarting a sport for young and old
Over the summer break Stuff is taking a look at Christchurch's most interesting sports. Today we zoom onto the blokarting scene.
Barry Emms reckons speeding along Canterbury's beaches in a howling easterly with the lingering smell of salt in the air is hard to beat.
The Canterbury Blokart Club secretary took an interest in the sport more than a decade ago, and was a founding member of the organisation back in 2004.
Blokarting is the same as sailing, except participants ride race tracks in a buggy instead of a boat on the water.
"It was the fact that it was something that didn't need an engine and sort of a sport that used wind for power," Emms said.
"I thought 'that should be quite interesting', so that attracted me to it."
Today the club has between 60 and 70 members, some young, some old.
"We have got some young members, and we'd like more, but in the main it's older people," Emms said.
"They all enjoy their racing."
The club meets every Sunday afternoon at Wigram Airforce Base.
"That's our venue, but we go away and race at some clubs around New Zealand," Emms said.
"We've raced at Ardmore, we've raced at Ohakea, we've raced at the track at Papamoa, which they call blokart heaven.
"Occasionally our club will go to a beach, it's usually somewhere away where there's not so many people about."
But what is the attraction?
"They're a very friendly group of members and their events don't revolve around alcohol," Emms said.
"There can be nothing better than on the beach with an easterly wind blowing . . . with the smell of the sea and sailing along.
"It's really exhilarating."
It goes without saying a blokart is essential if you want to race.
Emms said a range of sails were essential too.
"Most of our members would have 3-metre, 4m and 5.5m sails and the advantage of that is we can sail in most winds.
"You only need a little breeze to get going on the bigger sail and if the wind's really high you can drop down to your 3m sail and still do something," he said.
Blokarts, invented in New Zealand, can be purchased new or second-hand.
A new blokart with two sails will set you back about $4000.