Lothians boarding fest to make waves

SCOTLAND’S first cable-tow wakeboarding festival is set to take place in East Lothian this weekend, with a host of the sport’s top UK riders showcasing their skills.

Britain’s top riders will gather at the recently opened Foxlake facility tomorrow for the third leg of nationwide tour Loch Stock 2012.

More than 70 competitors are expected from Aberdeen and the west coast as well as new wakeboarders from East Lothian and Edinburgh following previous boat-tow legs at Loch Lomond and 

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Organisers also hope to draw a crowd of more than 500 as many of Foxlake’s recent summer Cutting Edge and Fox Cub programme rookies will be taking part in the Under-16 

Foxlake is Scotland’s first cable waterski and wakeboard park and opened to the public near Dunbar in June.

Penny Lochhead, director of Foxlake said: “We are excited about hosting our first big wakeboard competition and have had riders from all over Scotland practising this week on our obstacles.

“We hope the day helps showcase what we have brought to East Lothian and that we provide a great day out for everyone.”

Foxlake has fast become a haven for new and experienced wakeboarders from all over Scotland. Both the GB and Scottish free-ski and snowboard teams even swapped snow for water during their summer training last week.

Head coach Neil Mcgrain said: “We found it great for training as there are many similarities to our own sports but also gave a great full body workout too, we are looking forward to going back on another sunny day.”

Following on from this weekend’s event, Foxlake will also host its leg of Scotland’s first ever three-way boarding festival on September 15.

This festival will feature surfing, wakeboarding and skateboarding and is a joint initiative between Foxlake, Space Skatepark in North Berwick and Coast to Coast Surfing from Belhaven Beach.

Wakeboarding traditionally sees a rider strapped on to a strip of fibreglass and dragged behind a speedboat on lochs or the open ocean. But at Foxlake riders need no longer use an expensive vessel to propel themselves – an innovative pulley system, akin to a ski lift, means any dedicated stretch of water can now be converted into a wakeboarding zone without the need of a boat.

The artificial £1.5 million lake at Hedderwick sees a gantry, fed through with cables, mounted in the water and powered by an electric motor. The wakeboarder clings to a water-ski handle attached to the cables and glides across the surface of the lake, which is peppered with obstacles, ramps and rails.

Wakeboarding is the fastest growing watersport in the world.