Filip Dequeecker - Arizona

Elise Bruynoghe and Filip Dequeecker are heading into their 22nd summer as go-cart hirers. They run Happy in Nieuwpoort and Arizona in De Panne and focus on the traditional go-cart. Their hobby horse: fashion colours. ‘We resolutely opt for trendy colours and are toying with the idea of patterns.’

In 1936 a gentleman from Brussels, Mr De Smedt, founded Arizona in De Panne. Years later, my parents-in-law took over what was nothing more than a tiny bicycle shop at the time and now my wife and I are heading into our 22nd summer. We also run a business in Nieuwpoort which has been in existence since 1969. My spouse grew up surrounded by go-carts. And thanks to her, I rolled into it too. Mind you, even though I am a native of Nieuwpoort and have been living by the sea all my life it did take some getting used to at the start.

My friends and I were more into racing our bikes down the pier. When there was fog around, a horn would blow and a bell would sound. At the far end of that pier, Paco, a waffle shop serving home-made waffles beckoned.

The sounds of that pier and the smell of those waffles plunges me in nostalgia!

Of course I occasionally rode go-carts as a child but I had no particular affinity for them.

My love for go-carts developed over time. When it comes to my wife, the story is a whole lot more intense. She continued her grandparent’s and parents life’s work and there’s a certain amount of pride in that. When she was barely seven years of age, she used to take the tram from De Panne to Sint-Idesbald to help store away the go-carts for the night. And three years later, on her tenth birthday, she was at long last allowed to help in the business, together with her sister. So, she has never known life without go-carts and she eventually managed to pass on the bug to me. Being good with your hands is a must. As go-cart hirer you spend the entire winter servicing the carts. Dismantling, painting, repairing them. With a team of six, we have our work cut out for the season.

In terms of colours, we were always rather trendy. We try to follow the fashion trends, as long as they appeal to children.

We would never go for black for instance, because there isn’t a child that likes black. The Pantone colour of the year is royal blue and, without knowing it, I had already ordered that colour from the paint supplier. We may even go for patterns next season; I am toying with the idea of launching tattooed go-carts. We don’t follow all the trends but mainly focus on the traditional go-cart. Perhaps, I’m a little on the conservative side.

But, on average, people ride go-carts three times in their lives: as a child, as a parent and as a grandparent.

They all know that they’re in for some serious exercise, and yet, they can’t get enough of it. Children love nothing better than being at the wheel and get great enjoyment out of that. That’s why I mainly favour those traditional go-carts.

Arizona - Zeedijk 37, 8660 De Panne, +32 (0)478/ 22 28 10 

Due to the corona crisis, opening hours and timetables may vary. If in doubt, it is best to contact the entrepreneur himself.
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