What is Cable Wake?
Cable wakeboarding is simply wakeboarding while being pulled; not by a boat, but by an overhead cableski system. It’s definitely the coolest addition to the distinguished list of extreme sports throughout the world, because it combines the best of the extreme nature of wakeboarding without the need for (or expense of) a boat. Cable is an enormously valuable and important element of the entire sport of wakeboarding.
How many cableways are there ?
There are over 140 cable parks all over the world, and more are on the drawing board, especially since the advent of wakeboarding. Of these, over 100 are in Europe and Africa (60 of which are in Germany alone), as well as many others in Asia and Australia. However, the fever in North and South America is rising fast.
So how does it work? How do you ride without a boat?
Suspended in the air by a series of towers (or masts) surrounding a small lake, an overhead cable rotates in a (usually) counterclockwise motion around the lake. Along the cable are a number of carriers from which ski ropes will attach to and pull a rider or skier around the lake.
Why is it so popular? What makes cable so super cool?
Basically, cable is ideal for riders who have limited or no access to a boat. It's drastically less expensive compared to all the costs involved with boat wakeboarding, with a lot less hassle. Cableways are clean, efficient, quiet, and overall, very environmentally friendly. You can ride many more sets in a day than you ever could behind the boat. Riding on the cable actually helps your riding behind the boat. And it's more forgiving on your body than boat wakeboarding. But the best part is, you can do every trick on the cable that can be done behind the boat, and more. And, thanks to all the above, it's the perfect gateway for anyone who wants to get into the world of wakeboarding.Let's look at that again. No expensive boat, no gasoline, no maintenance, no air or water pollution, no traffic-clogged lake, no set up or cleanup necessary, less risk on your body, and you can still become one of the top wakeboarders in the world, all while having a great time with your friends. Nice concept, wouldn't you think?
How can you call it cable wakeboarding when there is no wake?
You ride using a wakeboard. It’s that simple. It’s still wakeboarding because every single trick that has been, is now, or ever could be thrown behind a boat can and is being thrown on the cable. The tricks are identical. Boat or cable, the sport is still the same. It’s just a slightly different method to the same awesome madness.
How did it get started?
The first cable system showed up in 1962.
How does it compare to riding behind the boat?
It’s a slightly different kind of pull. Since the angle of the rope is higher on the cable than behind the boat, you get more lift and, potentially, more hang time. This is one reason you see such awesome tricks like double S-bends on the cable, a rare occurrence if ever behind the boat.Also, with the move and flex of the cable itself, you find it much less stiff and more forgiving. Therefore, learning new tricks comes much easier and faster.Difficult as it may be to believe, the simple fact is that virtually every trick that can be performed behind the boat can also be done on the cable. Period. Regular or switch, inside or out, you see plenty of spins, 313s, roll to blinds, KGB's and every mobe or Raley trick you can think of. You name it, it's been done on the cable, either in the flats or off the obstacles. Take your pick.
How much does it cost to ride?
Around the world, you can expect rates of very roughly around US$18-25 for one hour, to about US$40-50 or so for an all day pass. However, most cable parks offer weekly, monthly, and yearly passes with unlimited riding that are a much better deal. Depending on the particular cable park, these passes can run from around US$250-350 or so for a month, to around US$1,000-1,500 for a year. Again, rates will vary from country to country or region to region.• What does it cost compared to owning a boat?Well let’s see here, the price of a typical wakeboard boat these days will average around US$40,000-$50,000 (often higher). PLUS you have gasoline/petrol, PLUS boat insurance, PLUS a truck or other vehicle to pull the boat, PLUS a place to store the boat, PLUS fat sacks, PLUS audio equipment, PLUS board racks, PLUS ropes, PLUS other accessories, PLUS the time and headaches of towing the boat out to some crowded (and dangerous) lake somewhere (if you don’t live on a lake), and FINALLY of course, there's maintenance.And have you seen the price of gasoline lately??? Don’t forget that you will very often have to fill the boat with gas each and every time you go out and ride. Once you add everything up, you can see that even though it’s totally cool, riding behind the boat can put a SEVERE dent in your wallet!Compare that to the most expensive annual pass at your average cable park, which will run around US$1,000 or so for unlimited riding. With cable, you simply gather your gear, drive to your local cable park, and ride until you drop. No headaches, no hassles, no stress, you can do every trick that’s possible behind the boat, and you save a HUGE pile of cash!Any questions?
How do you start?
You queue up at the starting dock, rope in hand, with the other end of the rope queued up in the tower (mast) next to the cable, awaiting a carrier. As the carrier arrives, it hooks the rope and continues on its way, pulling you off the starting dock and out onto the water. Have fun!
What happens if you fall?
You simply swim to shore and walk back to the starting dock. The distance is short and time is minimal before you’re out on the water riding again.
How many people can ride at the same time?
Anywhere from six to twelve or more people, depending on the size of and the number of carriers on the particular cableway.The beauty and value of cable is that it opens up wakeboarding to the masses, thanks to the reduced costs of running and the higher number of people it's possible to pull at any one time. With cable’s ability to tow many people at the same time, groups of people can be catered to much more easily than behind a boat.
Is it limited to wakeboarding only?
No. Even though wakeboarding clearly dominates the cable scene these days, you still occasionally see people on two skis, slaloming, or kneeboarding, though MUCH less often.Though cableski facilities have now been around for over 40 years, an interesting shift in the cable world seems to have taken place over the last 10 years. Cableways were built primarily during the heyday of waterskiing, and have for the most part been primarily composed of three-event skiing, kneeboarding, and occasionally barefooting. In 2004, the World Cable Wakeboard Commission completed a survey of most all the cableways around the world to determine the average percentage of skiers versus wakeboarders observed at each facility. Incredibly, virtually 95% of all patrons at cable parks around the world were wakeboarders!
How do you do those “big air” tricks?
Unlike the boat, where you ride up the wake to get air, on the cable you lean back to set your edge and load the line to build up tension, then snap the board behind you to launch yourself into the air. Do it right and you’re launched like a sling shot! Once in the air, the entire menu of tricks is at your disposal. The adrenaline rush is awesome!
What about sliders and kickers?
Just as with boat wakeboarding, obstacles are becoming an integral part of the sport, and are showing up everywhere. These days, sliders and kickers of almost every size and shape can be seen at most all cable parks around the world. Also, with sliders and kickers, the number of tricks you can do on the cable goes up exponentially. Not only can you do air tricks, but you can also throw every kind of spin or mobe imaginable.
What about wakeskating on the cable?
Cable is without a doubt a wakeskater's dream! With all the obstacles available and the fact that you can fall a zillion times and get right back and keep riding all day long working on your shuvits, varials, spins, etc., it's no wonder that we're seeing wakeskaters now comprising almost 25-30% or more of all riders on the cable.
Are there a lot of riders crossing over between boat and cable?
Yes, there's definitely a crossover. And there's a real advantage to it, too. Tricks are the same on either, and cable is a terrific teaching tool. Cable definitely helps your boat riding and vice versa. It's great cross-training. Mike Ferraro, one of the world's top wakeboard and waterski coaches, regularly advises his students and elite athletes to cross-train on the cable whenever possible.
I might like to compete. How do I find out about contests, tournaments, or other events?
Many cable parks host contests and tournaments of all kinds, ranging from local grassroots competitions to major international events. Competition formats can be based either on age (boys/girls, junior men/ladies, open men/ladies, masters, etc.) or ability (beginner, intermediate, advanced, etc.). Check the website of your local cable park, your country’s wakeboard or waterski federation, or check in here at cablewakeboard.com for all the latest available information!
Is there international competition? How popular is the sport among sponsors?
Cable wakeboarding is truly an international sport. Sponsorship and media coverage is excellent, where tournaments and related events routinely draw large crowds and excellent public interest in local and international media. The 2001 World Cable Wakeboard Championships, held in Duisburg, Germany, drew competitors from 25 countries all over the world, along with a crowd of 5,000 spectators. Crowds continued to grow at subsequent world championships in Brisbane, Australia in 2003, and in Budapest, Hungary in 2005. Then in 2006, all records were broken when a grand total of 25,000 people attended the 4th Cable Wakeboard World Championships in Linz, Austria. In addition, National Championships are held in more than 20 countries across the globe.In 2005, cable wakeboarding finally achieved true international Olympic-level status when for the first time in history, not only was it included as a featured sport in the 2005 World Games in Duisburg, Germany, but also ranked #2 in television ratings (American Football was #1) out of over 30 different sports covered at the prestiguous event, with a worldwide audience of over 150 million viewers. Also, the years 2005 and 2006 saw more cable wakeboard events all over the world than at any other time in the history of the sport.
Isn’t cable a threat to the boat companies?
No way. Not at all. In fact, more cableway development is going to open the door for hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of riders to get into wakeboarding who have no access to a boat. It is an absolute guarantee that anyone who starts his riding on the cable will sooner or later want to ride behind the boat as well. That's not news. Consequently, that translates into even more boat sales over and above current levels, as more and more riders get into and get stoked on the sport via cable. If the boat companies are looking for new customers and/or new markets, which no doubt they always are, they need look no further than their local cable park, with all those kids throwing sevens off the kicker and perfecting their S-bend to blinds. The formula is simple: cableway development = boat sales.
There's no cable park where I live. Where can I find one?
More cable parks are being planned around the world every year. Hopefully one will be in your area very soon! In the meantime, click here for our Worldwide Directory of Cable Parks to find one nearest you.
I would like to build a cable park in my area. What is involved and how do I do it?
It can be a huge and daunting task, one that takes lots of time and effort, but well worth it!
What’s the potential for future growth of the sport?
Because more and more people are finally discovering its many efficiencies and environmental advantages, there is absolutely no question that cable wakeboarding has a terrific future! The market potential for construction of more cable parks around the world, particularly in China, the United States, Europe, South America, and other developing regions is absolutely HUGE!
As more cable parks are built around the world and more competitions are held on local, national, and international levels, more and more riders of all ages and skill levels will discover what a truly fantastic sport and how incredibly fun cable wakeboarding really is!
Thank you to for the above information.