Swimmers and sunseekers got more than they bargained for at Mount Maunganui's Main Beach on Saturday.

On show were two spectacular beach sports that have every chance of becoming mainstays during future summers, judging by the how well received they were.

The second National Beach Hockey Championships and the inaugural Beach Rugby 5s took place on specially marked playing areas beside each other.

The beach hockey continued yesterday and attracted a host of top Midlands men's and women's representative players, who took to the sand-based version with ease.


One of the celebrity players invited to take part by organiser Jason Niles was Black Sticks midfielder/defender Nick Haig.

He was part of the New Zealand team that made the final of the inaugural Hockey World League in India last week.

Haig said he liked the skills involved with beach hockey and said it was an ideal fit for a place like Mount Maunganui.

"It is a lot more aerial than a normal hockey game but the same sort of basics apply that you can't use your body and use the flat side of the stick," Haig said.

"It is a cool game and is exciting.

"It is perfect setting for the beach and they play it in Europe and the guys have brought it across from that concept.

"It is the second year running now and it went really well last year."

Next door at the Beach Rugby 5s the players from predominantly Arataki and Tauranga Sports clubs were finding playing a non-stop, full physical contact version of rugby under a beating hot sun on soft sand was harder than expected.


But they all agreed it was a great idea and something that was bound to take off once more players got to know about it.

Blair Cashmore said it was good fun, even if the soft sand did turn his legs to jelly.

"There are no scrums, no lineouts or mauls. You have to let the ball go within two seconds so basically it is a shorter version of sevens really."

Arataki's Billy Russell was also positive about the new game.

"It is more of a moving game and you have to keep a fast pacing. With the space and beaches like this at the Mount, and the people and the environment itself, it could definitely be a big sport to take on here. Hopefully a lot of teams will generate from this and we can get a lot more teams down here."