A group of hockey enthusiasts will be venturing away from the turf for a unique tournament at Mount Maunganui Beach on Sunday.
The eighth Craigs Investment Partners New Zealand Beach Hockey Championships will see teams of five go head-to-head in 10 minutes games played on a field marked by an inflatable barrier.
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Event organiser Kate Savory said as the tournament had grown since its inception, two fields are needed and this year for the first time both will be marked by inflatable boundaries.
"In the past we've just had one and then the other has been a makeshift field. The inflatables are about 200kg before they're inflated, they're pretty impressive.
"The tournament is socially competitive. It's a bit of fun but people will go out to win and the prize is a giant inflatable jandal which people are battling out to win as well as the bragging rights of being what we call national champions.
She said the players varied from those who play hockey regularly and those who just wanted to give the tournament a go. She suggested the differences between regular hockey and beach hockey were so vast that those who did not play were often at an advantage.
"Beach hockey is five on five, played with Unihoc sticks and a small leather ball. You pretty much have 10 minutes to score as many goals as you can. They actually play it a lot in Europe, that's where the boys I organise it with got the idea.
"People who play hockey are there but also a lot of other people who have seen it advertised. You really don't need to be good at hockey to be good at beach hockey - it's almost detrimental because you can't play the same game on the sand. It's a lot more aerial on the sand."
Savory said holding the tournament in Mount Maunganui during summer meant plenty of passers-by stopped to have a look.
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"There's a lot of traffic, everyone wants to walk around the Mount these days so we have heaps of people passing by. Quite a few tourists take videos, want to give it a go or want to know where they can buy a field.
"We have about 130 people entered this year. With the tournament being in January, a lot of people make a weekend of it. It's a weekend away at the beach and then on the Sunday they can play some beach hockey and catch up with people they've played with in previous years.
"I always think it's a good advertisement for the sport of hockey in New Zealand. It shows it can be fun, it can be social and that there's good people around it.
"The atmosphere throughout the day is awesome, we have the music going and some characters on the microphone so there's always good banter being thrown at the teams and the participants throughout the day.
"We have some also local support for spot prizes and things as well - people have gotten behind us which is encouraging."