It's only a year old, but already KC Watersports, a boat-less water ski and wakeboard lake that propels riders through the water via a series of cables, continues to bring in the heavy hitters.
On May 6 through May 8, members of the Liquid Force Wakeboards professional riding team will make a splash at the Midwest's only cable lake by performing in demonstration rides, signing autographs, and meeting Midwest watersports fans. In addition to appearances by wakeboarding superstars Melissa Marquardt, Tino Santori, and Phillip Basino, the premier of the wakeboarding video "Encore" will be among the highlights of what is being billed by organizers as "Relentless Weekend" at KC Watersports.
"If you enjoy wakeboarding or waterskiing or any kind of watersports, or if you just want to check out some amazing acrobatics on the water, this is the weekend to come check it out," says Mike Olson, owner of KC Watersports.
While cable parks are incredibly popular in Europe, the growth of the industry has just begun in the United States. KC Watersports is only the fourth such park in the nation, but Olson predicts more will follow. "For someone who wants to water ski or wakeboard, this offers a safer and less expensive alternative to being pulled behind a boat—plus, it's less damaging to the environment, and you don't have to drive two or three hours to find a big lake to boat on," Olson explains. "Once people give this a shot, they quickly realize how much fun they can have close to home."
And the fun isn't reserved only for the professionals. Anyone 10 years of age or older—whether they are a beginner or an accomplished rider—can participate in cable watersports. The staff at KC Watersports rents equipment on-site, and offers lessons for the uninitiated. "This is really something the whole family can do, or a group of friends, or an individual," Olson says. "The atmosphere is really laid back and friendly, and other riders often try to help the beginners with suggestions and ideas."
One thing that beginners might not want to try—at least not on their first spin around the lake—is the brand-new Light Force Encore Rail, which is a unique, kinked rail in the water across which riders can slide, similar to how a skateboarder slides across a handrail—only bigger. The Liquid Force team riders will christen the new rail, followed by a slider competition on Saturday, May 7. Prizes will be awarded to the best trick on the rail.
Admission will be charged to riders, but spectators who do not plan to get on the water are welcome to watch the demonstration events for free. "If you've never seen a professional wakeboarder in person, you'll be amazed at how much fun these guys are to watch," says Olson. "It's amazing."