Winter Wakeboarding in the UK
All about Winter Wakeboarding by Matt Dale
Whilst my annual summer trip to Adventure Sports St. Tropez is certainly the highlight of my wakeboarding year, what’s one to do ‘off season’ – when the nights have drawn in and the air and water temperatures are in single figures?
Well, you could so a lot worse that go winter wakeboarding at a wakeboard park.
Whilst boat riding in the UK can be prohibitively expensive (even with your own board + wetsuit, it’s still £30 for just 12 minutes!), hitting the cable can cost a lot less, for a lot longer! From October 1st to March 31st, if you buy a “winter membership” at Liquid Leisure Wakepark for £50, you can board on their full-size cable for 4 hours for just £15!.
Be warned, it can be pretty damn cold, so you do need an element of bravery (or madness) to attempt it – especially when air temps are hovering just above freezing, and the water temps 6 degrees. Falling into the water without gloves or boots is ill-advised. A swim back to the lakeside of more than a few metres will feel like your hands and feet are being crushed in a vice. It will take your breath away.
So, purchase some wetsuit boots and gloves before heading down. You want to go for 1.5m to 2mm max, to take the bone-aching chill away. Go any thicker and you’ll be warmer of course, but you’ll struggle to fit your bindings on, and holding the handle for any length of time will result in painful tendons from your wrist to elbow, which will limit the number of laps you can do. Throw in a winter wetsuit (5/4/3; not any thicker as your movement will be restricted) and you’re good to go for a few hours.
Whilst it’s still certainly on the chilly side when you hit the water, the queues are so small that for some (myself included), it’s every bit as good as heading there in the summer. The advantage of small queues is the zero wait between sets, versus upwards of 20 minutes in peak summer. Being able to fall off, swim to the side, and get straight back on without any waiting means you’re a lot more likely to try that new trick or hit an obstacle for the first time. No one around to see you fail so spectacularly is another bonus too of course!
Practising on a cable has the added advantage that when you hit the sea again in the summer you’ll have improved your balance and landing skills. I know I’ll notice a difference when I head back to Adventure St. Tropez this summer!
Matt organises fortnightly trips to Liquid Leisure throughout the winter. If you’re interested in joining him, check out his free-to-join group here: http://www.meetup.com/extreme
Watch his wakepark video link below