The sand was in pretty good shape – and the off-piste through the marram grass of the Norfolk dunes was massively inviting.
What better time to try out my newly-acquired Axiski? We introduced this part-sledge part novelty snowboard (or in my case sandboard) to MadDogSki readers in September but this was our first proper dune test.
I selected what I like to classify as a blue-cum-red run in sledging terms at the up and coming Axiski resort of Eccles-on-Sea (village altitude 1-metre above sea level, sand dune top station at approx 10-metres), on the Norfolk coast 16 miles south of Cromer.
Axiski founder Darren Mather felt moved to create this addition to the range of methods in which one can slide down a slope when he found his local shops had sold out of more traditional sledges during a snowy British winter (as you might have found yourself, reliable toboggan outlets can be notoriously difficult to find in many parts of Britain – the sledge availability in my own local high street is patchy at best… ‘No demand mate,’ they told me at Chesham Tool Hire, which I had thought the likeliest emporium).
Anyway, Darren fashioned his first prototype out of laminate flooring and the rest is, well, history would be too extravagant a term, but certainly it has been a tale of dogged persistence.
The version on which I conquered the sand dunes of Eccles-on-Sea (or should I say Eccles-on-Ski) is the 20th version. For the Axiski is designed to make easy work of deep snow, slush, frosty grass and of course sand. Really, what greater entertainment can you get for £24.95 (www.axiski.com)?
‘It’s fun and exciting and doesn’t have the limitations of normal sledges,’ says Darren. ‘You can stand on an Axiski, like on a snowboard, sit down or lie on them.’
It has inverted runners to provide rigidity and a degree of steering. There was certainly no shortage of excitement, thrills and spills – spills particularly – as I slowly got to grips with this new downhill discipline. And while I would certainly not yet class myself as an Axiskiing expert, an enthusiastic intermediate at best, I can see the potential for great fun to be had on them.
There were few witnesses to my novice efforts on the beach, thankfully, although a couple of seals basking in the winter sun appeared alarmed as I approached them at moderate velocity down the dunes and they anxiously made their clumsy way at their best speed back to the surf.
For me there was aprés-Axiski to look forward to. A Cromer crab sandwich and a cup of tea. Next, Axiski tests on snow, although not in Norfolk.