This Memorial Day, wakeboard enthusiasts will have a new, affordable and eco-friendly alternative to traditional wakeboarding.
Hall County Commissioners recently approved a request to build the first closed-cable wakeboarding park on Lake Lanier at Aqualand Marina in Flowery Branch.
“The closed loop cable system is very popular worldwide, there just aren’t any on the lake,” Gary Petersen, Aqualand Marina general manager, said.
The potential exists for the park to be a big draw for tourists. The next closest cable wakeboarding park is more than 50 miles away.
“I believe it will bring a lot of people. I believe it will be a very big deal,” Kurhanewicz said.
The equipment to build the park is expected to arrive in three weeks from the manufacturer in Germany. After the arrival, construction is expected to be fairly quick and easy.
Two 30-foot towers will be raised to support an electrical cable system that will pull riders along the path much as a boat would. The system is designed to be one continuous loop. It will be limited to one rider at a time, or about 12 riders an hour.
William Kurhanewicz, president and CEO of New Wave Inc., has leased the space for the park from Aqualand Marina. The installation isn’t permanent. It will be removed from the lake at the end of the season.
Kurhanewicz said cable wakeboarding offers more benefits than being pulled behind a boat.
For one, jumps and tricks are easier to accomplish, especially for a novice rider.
“It’s much easier when you’re being lifted above the water than when you’re being pulled through it,” Kurhanewicz said.
It’s also much less expensive. For about $15 an hour, riders will get to practice their sport without the high cost of a boat.
Kurhanewicz said the park will have a positive impact on the environment because there are no boats, and the cable system takes relatively little electricity to operate.
“We use about the same amount of electricity to operate the cable park all day as it would to run a washing machine all day,” Kurhanewicz said.
Petersen said he’s noticed an increase in those interested in the sport, especially younger generations.
“It has the potential to be pretty big,” Petersen said.
Kurhanewicz said he’s trying to partner with sponsors to bring professional wakeboarding events to the area. The smooth cove, surrounded by beaches, lends itself perfectly to spectators. The lake is home to several professional riders who, Kurhanewicz said, will use the park as a regular training facility.
The new park could help foster an interest in the sport that some people would otherwise have little access to.
Kurhanewicz said he intended to offer lessons to riders of all levels and hold summer camps for kids.
Mike Little, director of Hall County Parks and Leisure, said he hopes to be able to form a partnership with New Wave Inc. and create summer camps for kids, though they haven’t worked out the logistics yet.
“We want to offer it to everyone who wants to try. People are going to get the chance to try wakeboarding that would never have gotten a chance,” Kurhanewicz said.