Cable parks have been around since the late 1950s but it’s only recently, and very recently at that, that they have started to gain popularity. They can be found all over the United States whether you’re in Michigan or Texas or Florida or even in Kansas. Cable parks are a way for a water skier or wakeboarder to spend some time on the water without finding a boat to drag you around. It only took a few spectators to see some of the amazing feats that the wakeboarders and water skiers were able to accomplish and the need to expand started to grow. Soon tournaments and competitions were being held in front of hundreds, if not thousands, of water sports enthusiasts.
One of the most awesome parks in the United States is right in Texas just northeast of San Antonio. This 70-acre behemoth of a park which has a beach for people to hang out and watch the wakeboarders show off their skills. Conventional riding can be done on their boat lake and a full size rixen cable (named after Bruno Rixen – the man who built the first water ski cableway) offers the wakeskater, water skier or wakeboarder the opportunity to learn and progress. Each May, the Texas Ski Ranch hosts Cablestock a full weekend of activities to kick off the cable park season.
Most recently I wrote about a massive cable park that opened in Abu Dhabi at the Al Forsan International Sports Resort where the World Wake Association was hosting its championships. It’s the first cable park system in the Middle East and can accommodate wakeboarders of all skill levels sending them along the lake at speeds of 18 to 23 miles per hour.
Germany is a powerhouse of cable parks with over 60 in operation in an area half the size of Texas. This was where it all started though and why they have the highest water skiing and wakeboarding per capita than anywhere else.
One final note to the environmentally-friendly. Cable parks are a great way to be clean. With no boats constantly filling up on gas and using oil, there’s no exhaust and no gas—guzzling trucks to transport any boats. Many cable parks offer lessons so if you’ve never tried it, find the cable park closest to you and give it a try.