COMMENT

Black Caps bowler Trent Boult had a go at beach cricket at Mt Maunganui.

Sport is so much better when everyone joins in.

Most activities have restrictions on player numbers unless local rules and officials are in scarce supply.

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Five players don't fit into a doubles match at tennis, on the golf tee or a bowls match and six is one too many for a game of basketball.

Informal games are much more relaxed especially over summer and the recent hot weather has encouraged a variety of beach contests between families, friends and new acquaintances.

Kite flying, skim-boarding, cricket, long-boarding, touch, volleyball and boules create the involvement long-lining can also generate from the beach. At one stage it was called kontiki fishing with a simple concept of using the right wind conditions to take a line out to sea, wait a while and then wind the line back in with your catch.

There have been all sorts of fancy upgrades on that basic method with torpedos the latest to gather popularity.

That was out of our hosts' realm but they have a great system when they put the longline out at Onetangi beach on Waiheke.

It's an inclusive sport which becomes more intense when neighbours dust off their equipment and fill the conversation with tales of their methods and special locations.

This time they opted out of a duel. They'd been out a few nights before with limited success and implied that would be our lot as well.

Nothing like that type of challenge which is fundamental to sport. We pooled our resources, baited the hooks, set the traces and sent our host on her 800m kayak journey before she jettisoned the weighted line at a special mark and headed back to shore. After an hour six of us got to work retrieving the line and winding it back on to the reel.

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There were wavering ideas about our chances before the first few traces emerged into the shallows without any cargo.

Any anxiety disappeared as a catch flapped out of the sand and surf followed by others as the yahooing created a diversion for the beach walkers.

They saw a gurnard appear then several snapper nudging 50cm as the bin filled with plenty of fish for dinner and bragging points for filleting conversations with the neighbours.

The ocean to plate success took less than three hours and was the best sporting entertainment any of us had this week.