New Zealand hasn't earned a reputation as an incubator for innovative outdoor adventure sports for nothing: bungee jumping, kite boarding, Zorbing (read rolling down a hill strapped inside a giant transparent inflatable ball) and now blokarting-
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The blokart is a lightweight one-person land sailer designed and manufactured in Tauranga, New Zealand. Travelling at an average of 50kmh and capable of attaining speeds of 90kmh in the right conditions, the blokart can be used anywhere there is a flat surface and a breeze - beaches, sports fields, carparks and even rooftops have become blokarting arenas.
Basically a high-tech billy-cart with a sail, the blokart consists of either a stainless steel or electro galvanized, powder coated high strength steel chassis (rather than rust-susceptible aluminium) and a four-piece mast constructed from fibreglass (preferred over carbon fibre because it's flexible and therefore easier to set-up and harder to tip over in gusty conditions). Hand steering eliminates the problem of your feet not reaching the pedals and it is this key innovation which enables the blokart to be used by just about anyone from ages 8 to 80 without any adjustment to the set-up.
The simple operation - one hand steers and the other controls the acceleration rope connected to the boom - makes blokarting easy to pick-up and you don't need any expert knowledge of sailing. The faster the breeze, the faster you go and it's best to sail at 90 degrees from the wind direction if you want to get back to where you started. Although it has three wheels, you tend to spend a great deal of time on two, with the trick being to slacken the accelerator rope when before you tip over completely and as there are no brakes, learning to use the correct techniques for stopping is pretty crucial. A tight turning circle make it possible to use the blokart in an area as small as a tennis court in light winds but given the right spot you can also tackle day trips of 100km or more.
The blokart comes with a standard sail covering a 3m area, but larger and smaller sails are available to suit conditions and skill level, giving an average adult the ability to blokart in winds from 5 to 45 knots. For obvious safety reasons the use of a helmet and seatbelt are recommended and a set of "road rules" have been drawn up to lessen any potential dangers. The 25kg blokart can be packed-up in 5 minutes and its 1.2x.7x.2m 'carry bag' fits comfortably into the back of an average sized car. The wheels are operational even when packed away so you can 'port' the vehicle over long distances or drag it through airports at your leisure.
Australian distributors oz-blo-co report strong interest and sales for the blokart in all States, with a diverse range of people showing interest in what's billed as "anti-boredom technology." Although the blokart itself is a relatively new phenomenon, the concept of setting sail across the land has a long history in Australia stretching back as far as the late 1800's. In Western Australia there is still evidence of a land yacht being sailed at Lake LeFroy near Kalgoorlie in the 1890's and in the early fifties two Adelaide brothers built and sailed a land-yacht across Lake Eyre - the yacht is still preserved in the Birdwood Mill museum.
One serious toy - the blokart is available in silver, black or full chrome frame and blue, red, green, orange or yellow sail and foot rest colours. Cost: AUS$2990 depending on exact specifications. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 1800 4 25652 for more information.View gallery - 10 images