Backpaddock Lakes at Speedy Rd has become a watersports mecca since its launch in January 2014, featuring two wakeboarding cable systems, a large boating, sailing, paddleboarding and kayaking lake, along with a wetlands lake with native planting and wildlife.

Although it's hosted regional and national competitions, the facility's 200m long lake for novices is obstacle-free and offers an opportunity to find one's feet before tackling more adventurous opportunities.

For this slightly nervous beginner, an added bonus was the reassurance of facility owner Trevor Rowlands and his friendly team who were on hand to offer support and encouragement.

After donning lifejacket and helmet, the team gave a few pointers on how to stand up on the board - keep the arms straight and the knees bent were the main instructions.


These simple tips were immediately forgotten, and the first of multiple wipe-outs ensued, with the surprising discovery that face planting into the water at speed did not actually hurt.

A valuable component of the experience was the addition of bluetooth communication gear attached to the helmet, so the skier is in constant contact with the person operating the cable.

This way, the team was able to tell me that I committed the cardinal sin of bending the arms (again), wasn't quite leaning foward enough, needed to crouch down a bit more at the start, and so on.

It's tiring bobbing around in the water with one's feet strapped into the board, frantically paddling with the arms to move in line with the ski handle, having lost it for the 10th time.

But within half an hour, after face-planting, falling off to the side, flinging off the board that was firmly attached to my feet with straps, and face-planting again, I managed to get upright.

What a thrill! For 30 seconds it was magic, I was in control, "I could be a natural!", and then another wipe-out.

Although as far removed from a natural skiier as you can get, within half an hour I had made it upright, and even attempted to turn a corner - unsuccessfully.

Given another couple of hours though I reckon I would have mastered it to some extent, and there's no doubt the feeling of gaining balance and shooting across the top of the water was exhilarating and satisfying.

It would certainly take a lot more time than that, however, to tackle the experienced cable and its obstacles, but over the coming summer there will be plenty of opportunities to practise.

Every week from Wednesday to Friday, the venue is open from 3pm until dusk, and for $40 people of all abilities are able to ride as much as they can.

The team is also trying out the odd ladies only nights - again for $40 offering the chance to give it a go - only togs, board shorts and towel needed, helmet, lifejacket and wakeboard supplied.

To find out more about what is happening go to or check out the Backpaddock Lakes Facebook page.