Every once in a while, I’m surprised when a non-car friend has absolutely no idea what Beach Hop is, let alone the point of it and events like it. The only reason that really surprises me is on account of just how massive this gathering is. I was discussing with someone whether they could think of any event in New Zealand that is larger, and neither of us could think of anything on a scale even approaching Beach Hop, let alone running with the same regularity. So, as I write this the week after Repco Beach Hop 18, I can quite honestly say that no matter how intense it is for our team to cover it properly — my phone counted somewhere north of 45,000 steps over the course of the event — the logistics of organizing such an enormous undertaking have got to far outweigh just about any other aspect of it. Consider all the road closures and use of public domains, the extra police required, the cleaning and sanitation services, and all the stuff most of us will just take for granted … shit, I’m glad Noddy and his team keep on putting themselves through the wringer each year to bring us what we’ve got. The whole idea of Beach Hop is ridiculous in the best possible way, and I realized that one night in Whangamata on considering that almost the entire town gets taken over by petrolheads and their cars. Cruise down any street or side street, and you can bet that well over 90 per cent of your immediate residential surroundings will be occupied by people who are there for the Hop. Try to get anything like Beach Hop off the ground in 2018, and you’d probably fail miserably, ensnared in kilometres of bureaucratic red tape. It’s easy to focus on the little gripes — maybe you got pulled over by the cops, or the line for the petrol station was too long; instead, why don’t we congratulate everyone who played a part in making the best damn festival on our calendar happen once again — the organizers, the sponsors, and everyone who attended? Now, I’ve got to help put a magazine to print (as per) so, rather than keep on writing this and killing the few brain cells I have left after Repco Beach Hop 18, I’m going to channel that energy into helping to make this issue not suck — although it looks like mission accomplished on that front. Hope you’ll agree!