Growing up in a family who’s default summer vacation involved trailering a boat to a cabin on a lake somewhere in the midwest put me in a fortunate situation to learn how to water ski at an early age. On most mornings, just after sunrise, my dad would whisper to my brother and me, “it’s glass, get up!”. On one of those trips to a favorite lake of ours we bought the early form of a wakeboard in the early 90’s. As the years went on I continued to fall more and more in love with wakeboarding, I attended camps in Florida, competed in regional competitions, and have taught countless neighbors, friends, and families how to ride along the way.
Traditional wakeboarding behind a boat has grown in popularity since the mid-90’s. However, industries have had to adapt to the demand of performing traditional practices in a more environmentally friendly and efficient way. Water skiing and wakeboarding are of no exception. While they have been around since the mid-1960s, 5 to 6 tower cable wakeboarding parks have seen exponential growth in recent years here in the States and all over the world.
In 2006, Sesitec developed a smaller modular two tower cable system, the “System 2.0”. This new, innovative and mobile System 2.0 revolutionized what was once unthinkable for wakeboarding by making it possible to take the sport anywhere. They have been set up in large, indoor venues like boat shows or for exhibitions in unique locations. But most importantly, the system 2.0 has made lakes, such as Levings, ridable. Although rider capacity is limited to one rider at a time, the System 2.0 provides a safe, quiet, and personal way to learn how to ride. For the first-timer and pro alike, progression happens quickly due to the amount of uninterrupted time on the water, riding continuously back and forth between each tower. Plus, with the variety of features on the lake, advanced riders will have endless opportunity for growth in the sport.
So with the combination of a lifelong love for waterskiing—especially wakeboarding, and with a watchful eye on the progression of cable parks all over the world, my wife and I made it our mission to bring this amazing sport and opportunity to Rockford, IL and ultimately to Levings Lake. An ideal day for us has been and always will be a day on the lake to ride and hang out with our family and friends. By partnering with the Rockford Park District and Alpine Bank, we hope to provide a summer full of similar days for you, your family and your friends.
The list of thank you’s for this project seeing the light of day is a long one. If you are a cable wake park owner or a friend/family member of ours you have likely heard from us….a lot! West Rock Wake Park cannot thank you enough for your wisdom and support in helping us grow the sport in our area.
Thank you to the city of Rockford, Winnebago County, COM Ed, RLDC, SWIFTT, Chris Rushing, Beachwatch, and the various local business professionals that have supported this project. In fact, please head down to the Rockford Art Deli, buy a T, and tell them we sent you.
Most importantly our thanks and gratitude ultimately land with the Rockford Park District (pretty much every department) and Sesitec USA. We have been amazed by the character and integrity that make up each respective company and their commitment to helping West Rock Wake Park open. There is a list of names that I’ll leave nameless for now that have worked tirelessly for this project. However, many at West Rock will know to approach them with at least a “high five” or even go in for a hug—without them, this doesn’t happen.