I went to Salford Wake Park yesterday and thought I’d turn the experience into a blog post
As I often mention, Deeside Wakeboard and Waterski Club operates on an estuary. We don’t use cables – we only use boats – so although I’ve been wakeboarding for a few years, my visit to Salford Wake Park yesterday was a number of ‘firsts’ for me:
- It was the first time I’d been to Salford Wake Park
- It was the first time I’d hit park features on a wakeboard
- It was the first time I’d ridden a System 2.0 cable
- It was the first time I’d ridden my board without fins
Salford Wake Park is part of Salford Watersports Centre, which is based at Salford Quays. As well as wakeboarding, they offer a range of other water-sport activities including Dinghy Sailing, Kayaking and Canoeing, Open Water Swimming, Powerboating, Scuba and Snorkelling, Windsurfing and Disability watersports. Wakeboarding sessions are an hour long and are shared by groups of 4 people, each taking turns to have 7 minutes on the cable at a time.
I went with 3 other friends, so we had the park to ourselves, which was brilliant. It cost £20 for 1 hour or £30 for 2 hours, so we opted for 2 hours, although in hindsight 2 hours was a little optimistic; I only managed three 7 minute sessions before my arms gave up! 30 minutes on a cable is definitely not for the faint hearted.
My friends, Jon and Jude, look like they enjoyed themselves!
At first the main focus was getting used to the System 2.0 cable. I’ve only ever ridden one cable before (at Sheffield Cable Water Ski). The main difference between a ‘traditional’ cable and a System 2.0 cable is while traditional cables are circular, a System 2.0 is one single cable which tows you out in one direction, then pulls you back in the opposite direction. I won’t lie, I struggled the first few times getting used to turning round – you have to carve out quite hard on your heels about 20 metres before the turning point to ensure you have enough momentum to stay above the water while the cable changes direction. By the end of the first session something had ‘clicked’ with turning.
The second 7-minute session was much more successful. I really got the hang of turning on the cable and threw in a few ollies and some switch riding. When you turn, you naturally create a small wake in the water which you can hit when you go back, although this isn’t anything like the wake created by a boat, obviously.
The third session was amazing. The instructor/guy in charge of the cable was happy with the standard of our riding so he sent us over some of the features. However, before we could do this, I had to take the metal fins off my board. I’ve never ridden my board without fins before but it actually felt really good – more forgiving than it normally is – I might give this a go the next time I go out on a boat. We were also given the option of using a wakeskate if we wanted too but I passed because I used one a few times last year and was happy to stick to my board.
Before we could use the features I had to take the metal fins off my board
I started off playing on a long, wide box in the water, first doing 50/50′s along it then a couple of boardslides. After this we started hitting the kickers, which were great fun. I didn’t try anything fancy off them, just trying to get some decent air and smooth landings, some of my biddies were spinning and doing grabs.
I’m not exaggerating when I say this – hitting the features at Salford Wake Park was one of the most enjoyable things I have ever done one a wakeboard. The features were easy to hit and it didn’t feel daunting. There was a good selection of features, including beginner features, but also sizeable ones for more advanced riders, including a pretty hefty A-Frame, although we didn’t hit this (a good excuse to go back!).
All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable session at Salford Wake Park and I can’t wait to go back there. It’s not the same as riding behind a boat, but it’s a case of swings and roundabouts. Other than the park features, another benefit I found about cable riding was when you’re not in the water. When you’re in a boat you are… well… stuck in a boat, whereas on the cable you can wander around and go for a swim, which helped pass the time between sessions. I am completely sold and am already making plans to go back soon. It won’t replace wakeboarding behind a boat but it will compliment it nicely.