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How to Blo Kart

Blo Karting on the Beach

Stephen Meek of Absolute Adventures is an expert on blo karting - the beach sailing sport that has taken holiday fun by storm. He regularly includes blo karting on his tour groups' to-do list and has become a karting guru. Meek describes the Dos and Don’ts of blo karting and why having the wind in your hair and sand in your teeth is at the top of his list of absolute adventures.

If you've ever taken part in this unique sport, tell us about your experience. Join the conversation on Facebook or dropping a comment in the box below.

  • Do

    1. Meet the Blo Kart. Understand the Blo Kart. Be the Blo Kart. You take a go-kart, lose the engine and the steering wheel, and slap a massive sail on the top of it. So yes, you're thinking right - it’s a three-wheeled bucket chair with a sail, that flies down the beach. If you have never sailed before, the best part of it all is the sheer enjoyment of getting everything to work in unison. And if you have sailed before, then it’s using those skills to make your “boat” move on beach sand.

    2. Prepare to be awesome.

      Stephen Meek of Absolute AdventuresAdventure sports fundi, Stephen Meek
      Picking the right instructor makes all the difference. You need someone who will inspire you, so preferably someone who can blo kart like a pro. You need to find someone who’ll make sure you’re doing it right, staying safe and having fun.

      Another way to prepare is by making sure your travel insurance covers this slightly extreme holiday activity. Essential Travel’s Grade 1 Sports Cover lists sand yachting (a posh name for blo karting) as one of the 100 sports that you’ll be fully insured for. Better safe than beat up by a blo kart.

    3. Get the location location location right. It might sound silly and obvious, but the trick to this isn’t just the blo kart itself - it's the right amount of wind and the miles of flat, empty beach. The thrill of this adventure is the speed that you can gain before you have to turn, so go for the long, sandy stretches of the English West Coast, South Africa or New Zealand.

    4. Work on your moves. The best thing to get you going initially is to have a mate push you - just a gentle nudge so that you can emerge out of the set sand and got onto the flat sand. The trickiest part of getting the kart to move right is that you have to steer with your feet. The steering column is attached directly to the single front wheel. Other than that it’s relatively straightforward as left is left and right is right.

      Working the sail is another a tricky part. The more sail surface you have in direct conflict with the wind, the more your speed will increase. So, surface area X wind speed = speed of kart. Think of waving your hand out of the window of a moving car. If your hand is flat against the wind it is whipped back, but if you angle it just right it will fly upwards. Welcome to wind physics and dynamics.

    5. Indulge your need for speed.

      How to blo kartMaster the art of turning
      The fun is figuring out how to get the kart moving at a speed that suits your capacity for adrenaline. When you’ve grasped moving in one direction, you'll eventually have to turn and do a return trip. This is where you'll appreciate the true value of the helmet. The kart unfortunately doesn’t do three-point turns, so you’re going to have to do what can be called the “power-slide-duck-panic-and-don’t-fall-over manoeuvre” - and it's even more fun than it sounds. Simply put: Power - lay out as much speed as you can. Slide - swing a sharp right or left so that the kart goes into a 15 to 20m sideways slide. Duck - get your helmeted head out of the way as the sail swings across you from the wind that suddenly belts from the other side. Panic - don’t worry, this will happen naturally, a massive metal pole just skimmed your head! Don’t fall over - don’t hold the sail too tightly and hope for the best.
    6. Dress for the occasion. A helmet, closed shoes and a large pair of sunnies are all the rage when it comes to blo karting fashion. You’ll be racing through the wind, so some sort of wind-breaking jacket may keep you from freezing if you’ve picked a chilly day to be on the beach. The sunglasses will stop any maverick grains of sand getting into your eyes. The helmet is essential - when the sail swings from one side to another at the rate of knots, you really want something between your head and the metal bar that skims over it. You need to be safe while having fun so that you can get back out there next time and do it all again.

    7. Like the song says, “Wear sunscreen”. This point is made time and time again, but it needs to be emphasised. While you’re blo karting, you don’t feel the sun beating down on your skin. The sport is such fun that you’ll want to be back at it the very next day, so don’t let yourself burn or your blo karting days will be cut short.

    8. Have fun. Have fun zig-zagging along the beach and practising your power slides.

  • Don't

    1. Don’t stick your arms out. DO NOT STICK YOUR ARM OUT! If you do that during a turn, you will risk breaking the kart and your arm. Keep your arms tucked in at all times. And if you do tip over, the instructor or a friend can help you up and give a gentle shove to get you going again.

    2. Don’t stall. Getting the kart to face the opposite direction can seem as much of a challenge as getting your head to do the same, but doing a slow turn won't do the trick. Wide, slow turns will cause the kart to stall and that’s just boring. Go! Go! Go!

Last Updated: August 2012

Andrea Melidonis

Andrea Melidonis

It was in the shadow of her father, a shipwreck salvage diver, who has sailed most of the seven seas that Andrea first became interested in ''the world out there''. She travels at a slow pace enjoying markets, restaurants and other culinary pursuits that make food her regular travel writing subject. An avid pedestrian, she has explored some of the greatest cities from the ground up - coming across intriguing architecture, fun events and the local gossip. Happy roughing it in more rural areas too, Andrea's accounts make for interesting reading.