If there’s one thing we’ve been looking forward to trying again, it was blokarts – but on the beach! While researching things to do in Northland over our Christmas holiday, we came across Ahipara Adventures who not only offer blokart rentals on the beach but rent sandboards for an epic sand dune along the coast!! Nothing like killing two birds with one stone!
With low tide early morning, we headed down to the beach with a couple blokarts to race on the massive sand flats. With a nice breeze in the air we were able to quickly pick up speed and start cruising down the flats. I’m still amazed at how easy it is to maneuver these rigs – just steer with your right hand, hold the rope to tighten and loosen the sail with your left – and if it gets hairy at any point – just let go the rope!
Within a few minutes we were both feeling really comfortable again and were able to easily read the wind to gain the most speed. As usual, it wasn’t long before we were racing each other, cutting the corners close enough to nearly hit just to feel the rush of adrenaline!
Since Ahipara is the start of the famous 90 mile beach, and with the holiday season in full swing, the area was abuzz with quad bikes, trucks and dirt bikes cruising down the beach. Our little area on the sandflats must be a well-known spot for the blokarts as folks were really good and left us lots of space to play around.
With our confidence building, we started to take a few more risks, racing faster and faster and riding on two wheels when the wind really picked up. Jordan was much better at this than me as my two-wheel riding usually resulted in me spilling over and crashing, but he managed to rock the two wheels for quite a while, many times without falling over in the end!
An hour just wasn’t enough, but it was time for us to move onto the sand dunes for some high-speed fun. I seriously could play with those blokarts all day!! Definitely adding that to the list of things to buy someday when we have our own place by the beach!
Jumping into the car with our sandboards in the back, we headed down to Shipwreck Bay to park our car and head around the point towards the famous Ahipara Sandunes. It was a 45min walk around the bays, crossing over reefs and rock pools just before high tide. The area is popular with the quad bikes, dirt bikes and 4-wheel trucks as we saw several making the challenging ride across the reefs.
A popular spot with the locals, we saw heaps of tents setup along the shore as the motorized bikes and trucks whizzed by us. As we approached the MASSIVE steep sand dune, there was a group hanging out at the bottom. All of a sudden a quad bike made a speeding race towards the sand dune, cruising allll the way to the top! One by one they all made an attempt and many were successful in hitting the top. I definitely wouldn’t have the guts to do that!
Making our way up the steep sand dune it was a sluggish, long climb as the sand was very loose due to the steep angle. It must have taken us 20-30mins to make it to the top but once we were there we could take in the incredible view of the sand dunes at the back and the stunning ocean on the front. Looking down the dune, we could see the two small sandy run out points surrounded by rough grass. We spent some time calculating our path to be sure we would actually hit the run out and not crash into the grassy section below. Just as we were about to leap, we heard a rumble come up behind us and a parade of trucks started heading down the sand dune! Definitely not something I would do with my car but it looked like those guys were having a lot of fun! The down side was they made some deep tracks in the sand dune, nearly ruining the path we had just calculated.
Luckily we tried our own boards a few days before at Opononi and discovered they just weren’t made for sandboarding, so picked up a couple from Ahipara Adventures. The owner, Robyn, warned us that riding from the very top was pretty intense, but since we’re adrenaline junkies it was no question where we were going to start!
With our GoPros running, we made a running leap and cruised down the hill on our super speedy sandboards! As we flew down the hill, it wasn’t long before we ended up crashing into the deep tracks of the trucks which sent us and our boards flying. Luckily the soft sand makes the bail pretty painless, but needless to say we were completely covered in sand! And the massive layer of sunscreen made the sand stick even worst!
We made our sluggish climb back to the top and continued up for a few more goes, flying down the hill at a crazy speed! Seriously it was pretty scary at the end, especially if Jordan was ahead of me kicking up sand making me completely blind to where I was heading. Jordan decided to take his boarding to the next level and busted through some grass off a jump to gain some air! It was pretty funny to watch and even better in slow motion (video to come!)
Despite being very exhausting, we ended up coming back the next day for a few more rounds, this time with a bit more energy and knowledge. That didn’t keep me from having the worst crash yet though coming down so fast I flew off a small ramp at the bottom, crashing into the grassy area at the bottom. Despite losing some skin on my toes from trying to slow myself on the way down, this was definitely one of the highlights so far! And with Te Paki sand dunes still to come we had even more sandboarding to look forward to!