Waterski and Wakeboard Saskatchewan (WSWS) has challenged the barriers that limit accessibility to towed water sports in Saskatchewan by addressing the possible restriction of owning and financing a boat.
WSWS created a Cable Park with the help of the 1989 Jeux Canada Games Foundation grant. The grant aims to fund new developments that will positively impact the amateur sport community, benefiting athletes, coaches and other individuals involved in the sport. The grant supported the start-up costs for the Cable Park.
“A barrier to participation is removed with the access to the sport without the sunk costs of a boat, truck, trailer and waterway. A grassroots athlete can learn at the Cable Park, or with our Travel Clinic we offer that goes around the province as we work with local lake communities to teach watersports activities,” said Len Thomas, the director of WSWS.
The Cable Park has an overhead cable system that is designed to lead participants in place of a boat. With the use of a cable system, WSWS can provide athletes with a ride of approximately five-kilometres per 15 minutes, extending 300-metres in one direction. As the longest directional pull in Canada, the cable creates a continuous tow as the cable can reverse at the shoreline.
The cable system is a step toward towed water sports in the province becoming environmentally conscious. “There has been increasing awareness of the environmental impact of the industry and [we are] interested in reducing or eliminating that impact,” a statement from the WSWS park description.
Lowering the cost per ride is not the main concern of the project, but rather “the economic factors and the lessened environmental impact,” according to Thomas.
The WSWS Cable Park will offer athletes the opportunity to experience training in a consistent environment so they can prioritize the development of their skills. Individuals that attend the park will have the reassurance of each tow providing the same experience, allowing athletes to build their confidence before transitioning to the haphazard tow of a boat.
The announcement of the Cable Park is arguably only the beginning for WSWS, as they aim to grow with their athletes and the community.
“We will continue to build the grassroots opportunities, and work with equity groups to provide access to towed watersports at the development and excellence levels in the future…[and look] to host local, national and international events,” said Thomas. “We are going to offer coaching clinics and officials’ training as we develop our athletes and have the foundation of volunteers for hosting events,” concluded Thomas when asked about the future of the Cable Park.
The grand opening for the Cable Park will be June 22-24, 2024.