North Devon Wake Park | The Board Basement
At The Board Basement, we’re incredibly excited to launch our second summer stocking wakeboarding kit. In order to give you guys the best advice on which boards, bindings and equipment to buy, we hit up our local cable, North Devon Wake Park. Whilst a couple of our riders have been regulars here for a few years, for others, it was their first time on the cable. We thought we’d share our experience, and give you an idea of how North Devon Wake Park works.
Although I’m a member of The Board Basement team, I’ve been riding at North Devon for three years, as part of Windriders; Exeter University’s wakeboarding club. The first time I ever stepped foot in a wakepark, I had no idea what I was in for, a young first year student in my freshers week in 2015. I’d windsurfed and skateboarded before, but had never even heard of wakeboarding. Keen to give a new sport a go, I rocked up and tried it out. My immediate impression of North Devon Wake Park was how friendly and welcoming the team were. A family business through and through, the wakepark is run by Sally and Joe Constable, along with their sons; Jack, Harry and Alfie, and daughter Millie. All of them are qualified instructors and cable operators, and in no time had all of us newbies in a land-based lesson to get the hang of the basics.
A KEY QUESTION AT THIS POINT, (AND A VERY VALID ONE); WHAT IS A WAKE PARK?
Nestled in the rolling green countryside just a stone’s throw from the sea, North Devon Wake Park is a hidden treasure along the A39 between Bideford and Bude. In 2014, "ND" became Devon’s first cable park, operating two Sesitec System 2.0’s. In layman’s terms, this means two straight-line cables are positioned over the lake, equipped with a handle towing one person across the water at a time. That individual is equipped with a helmet, lifejacket and board, and receives 1-on-1 expert tuition from the wakepark coaches. The huge benefit of this system is the progression and encouragement it offers, whether you’re feeling nervous for your first time on the water or struggling to nail a trick off a kicker, the coaches and their valuable advice are only a few metres away.
WHAT IS CABLE WAKEBOARDING?
Cable wakeboarding offers a similar experience to surfing, or skateboarding, except like snowboarding, your feet are strapped into the board. Unlike snowboarding, you are pulled along the water by an overhead cable, manually controlled by one of the wakepark’s coaches, no boat needed! This again gives the added benefit of communication and constant tuition, as the instructors can tailor the speed to each individual’s needs.
I am the first person to admit that I was initially excruciatingly slow at wakeboard progression, not plucking up the courage to try any obstacles until around 6 months into my wakeboarding career. This is entirely my own fault, but through the coaching and encouragement of the wakepark instructors, I finally began to hit obstacles. I was hooked, and started coming up every week, eventually working at the park for a week during that summer. In that time, I got to know the wakepark staff really well. They are all fantastic wakeboarders, but will never brag about this. Instead, they will put in 100% of their attention into helping everyone else to progress and achieve the riding they want, whether this be making it down the first straight, sussing out corners, or landing complicated tricks off kickers. It really is true that whatever your ability, you will have a fantastic time at North Devon Wake Park. Just a note though, if you do ever get the chance to watch the staff ride, it’s a treat. Particular highlights include Harry’s huge airs to blind, Mille’s flawless spins, Jack’s rail game and Alfie’s double flips. (Joe and Sally don’t let the side down either: Joe makes the surface backroll look effortless, whilst Sally has perfected all the technical tricks in the book).
Skip forward to 2016, some exciting additions arrived at the wake park. North Devon Wake Park became the first site in the South West to install an Aquapark, a sprawling inflatable waterpark offering incredible fun to kids and adults alike. The ultimate watery playground, the Aquapark is essentially a giant, floating bouncy castle, except with trampolines, slides and bouncy climbing frames. We know, we were excited too. Suitable for ages 6 and above, North Devon Wake Park makes sure safety is paramount by limiting numbers to half the recommended capacity, so that everyone has plenty of space and maximum fun. The Aquapark is also monitored by handpicked lifeguards, so you can ensure that kids and adults alike are safe and having fun.
Joining The Board Basement introduced me to snowboarding, but I was beside myself when the move into wakeboarding was announced. This year, I’m working alongside the dedicated Board Basement team to bring the very best kit in the business to everyone, whether you’re a beginner or looking to upgrade your shred set-up. One of the incredible perks of being part of the team here at The Board Basement was the opportunity to go back up to North Devon Wake Park with my colleagues, to test out the new season boards. Now a complete wakeboarding nut, this was a dream come true. For some members of the team, this was their first trip to the park, but they all had a very similar experience to mine back in 2015, finding the staff welcoming, the kit perfect and the food exceptional. It was fantastic to help introduce people to this unique place, which has been such a favourite spot of mine here in Devon.
So, what can we expect from 2018? North Devon Wake Park have a hugely exciting year ahead. The wakepark team have been hard at work over the winter, preparing for the summer season. The Aquapark has several new sections, making the splash-tastic zone even more fun. The decking area has been expanded, with larger undercover sections to provide shelter on rainy days or protect from the blazing sun in the heat of summer. This means even more picnic spaces and viewing areas, so you can chill out and watch the shredding whilst enjoying some incredible wakepark food. Perhaps the biggest change is to the cables, which are being switched over, with the more advanced cable extended by 50 metres - making space for new obstacles! Only a few days ago, the boys installed an amazing new step-up box rail, demonstrating the wakepark’s constant mission to improve and expand.
If you’re looking for a family day out this summer, we can absolutely recommend North Devon Wake Park. With all your kit provided, all you’ll need to bring is some swimwear and a towel. Hire wetsuits are available for £2, or bring your own. Lifejackets/impact vests are provided, as are helmets. Wakeboards are provided free of charge for non-obstacle users and you can also hire an obstacle board if you want to hit jumps, for £3. Once again you can bring your own kit as well. If you don’t fancy hitting the water but are coming with family or friends who do, you can relax in the outdoor picnic table area, or the indoor clubhouse, from which you can watch the activities on the lake. There’s plenty of parking, and dogs on leads are allowed, with a beautiful lakeside path for dog walkers.
Finally, new for 2018, the wake park is introducing an online booking system, to streamline your wakepark trip planning! If you’re looking to treat someone who loves to shred, gift vouchers can also be bought online.
If you’re thinking about making wakeboarding your summer hobby (which we would definitely recommend), check out our range of wakeboarding equipment at The Board Basement. From beginner kit to the hottest 2018 pro models, we can find the wakeboard set up for you. If you’re still not sure, or just want to have a chat about wakeboarding, give us a call or drop us an email. We love wakeboarding and are always keen to chat about it with anyone!