Witness The Fitness #7:: Wakeboarding at Cables Wake Park
May 14th 2015
“I’m sore all over and I think I have whiplash…”
I have never wakeboarded. It’s a thing that Lara Bingle and the other attractive girls of Instagram always seem to be doing while drinking coconut water and hanging out on their friends’ boats somewhere in the vicinity of Maroubra.
I don’t have a boat – my friends and I are students and broke. So I’m in Sydney’s Panther capital Penrith at Cables Wake Park which consists of two large lakes with cables pulling you around in circles. If you’re really good, you can jump off the ramps and do tricks. If you’re terrible, you’re unable to stand up and you eat it every time, while ‘Fortune Faded’ by the Red Hot Chili Peppers plays on the sound system. There is also a lot of Fox and Liquid Militia clothing floating around (pun intended).
I opt for a 20-minute lesson from a girl who tells me she’s come over from England for a few months to work what she calls ‘the season’. It’s a bit like the scene in Forgetting Sarah Marshall where Jason Segal is getting a surf lesson. Grab the cable, straighten your legs, lean forward, not too much, pop up, do more, do less, do less, don’t do anything. Am I doing it? Apparently.
In 20 minutes I’ve levelled up to ‘can stand and go in a straight line but not turn’.
I achieve one monumental face plant and what feels like the beginnings of whiplash. My instructor says that a large part of my day will probably be spent swimming to the side and walking back to the start. It’s VERY important that as soon as I fall over that I look back because if I don’t, one of the cables will hit me in the head or someone will run me over. She taps me on the helmet, says good luck, and I’m set.
Waiting in line for my turn, my first thought is that my newly purchased Brazilian cut bikini is possibly not appropriate for this occasion. I’m not lounging on North Bondi with a gaggle of fabulously gay men in turquoise Speedo’s.
Instead, I’m standing in front of a tiny 5-year-old boy named Chevy, who loves wakeboarding so much that he got special clearance to start five years earlier than he should.
Chevy is about half the length of his board. Feeling a little self-conscious, I try and cover my bum with the board. I feel like a newly pubescent girl who has gotten her period for the first time and tries to spend her entire day walking close to walls just in case people can somehow tell ‘what’s going on’ down there.
Not to worry though. ‘No rope, no hope’ I hear little Chevy say to the Chupa-Chup-eating, white-reflective-Oakley-glasses-wearing, blue-zinc-on-the-nose guy who is operating everything. No rope, no hope. I grab the cable and then with a ‘three, two, one’ I’m propelled forward and somehow I’m doing it! Wakeboarding is exhilarating; it reminds me of being a little kid and watching water-skiing demonstrations in Darling Harbour. The glamour!
This sensation lasts about thirty seconds until I become aware of the two red buoys lined up ahead that I’m supposed to pass through. Like Ben Stiller in Zoolander, I’m no ambi-turner: I can’t turn left. I try and angle myself so that I’ll make it, and I can feel the slack in my cable change, my board start to wobble underfoot, and my arms get pulled from their sockets like I am one of those rubber men you get in crap showbags at the Easter show.
Needless to say, I’m propelled into the swamp as the geese look on like they’re muttering ‘this fuckin’ guy’.
I look back and see a wooden cable coming straight for my head so I duck down desperately into the slimy reeds to avoid collision. My friend, who as it turns out is from a small town in France where the only attraction is a wakeboarding park (go figure?), whips past me and executes a back-flip. Cheers, mate! This whole sequence gets repeated for about a hour, and while I don’t manage to complete a full lap, I am rewarded with the small victory of making it through those red buoys on my last go and I think to myself: that’ll do pig, that’ll do.
WHAT :: Wakeboarding @ Cables Wake Park
WHERE :: Panthers League Club, Mulgoa Road, Penrith
WHEN :: 10am-6pm, 7 days a week
HOW MUCH :: $44-$74 – contact email@example.com or phone (02) 4722 2537
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