A water-ski and wakeboard park will open in Cardiff city centre under new plans, yourCardiff can exclusively reveal.
The 735m-long cable-tow water ski system is being planned for East Bute Dock, next to the Atlantic Wharf housing development in Butetown.
The 153-year-old dock, once at the heart of South Wales’ industrial revolution, is currently only occasionally used for events such as dragon boat racing.
Cardiff Bay Wakeboarding this week submitted a planning application to Cardiff council. If the plans are approved, operations director Gareth Stevenson hopes the facility will open next March.
Mr Stevenson, a 41-year-old wakeboarding enthusiast from Rhiwbina, said it would be the first water-ski park in the world to be located in a city centre.
He said accessibility, nearby transport links and shelter from the wind made it the ideal location. Tests of the water also showed it was good quality, he added.
“Being in the city centre people will be able to turn-up in whatever they are wearing, hire the equipment, have a session and then go on with their day,” Mr Stevenson said.
“We will be able to run nine people at one time and it’s far cheaper and more accessible than skiing behind a boat. Anybody can have a go, as long as you have the strength to hold onto the cable.”
The idea is that skiers will be taken on an exhilarating three-lap ride of the circuit at 18 miles per hour, with “kickers” and “sliders” for more advanced wakeboarders.
It will operate from late March to the end of October each year. Mr Stevenson said it would be suitable for beginners aged as young as nine through to experienced skiers.
According to the planning application, five 10-metre high pylons to support the cable would be installed in the dock, which fronts onto the Cardiff council headquarters, County Hall.
There would also be 10 land and water-based supporting pylons and a dockside launch ramp next to the boat shed near The Wharf pub.
The plans say the “full potential” of the dock as a leisure resource contributing to the vitality of Cardiff Bay has never been fully realised.
It says the nearest residential development is at Henke Court, but the movement of water skiers will occur “well below” room window-level.
The plans also say a noise assessment showed existing background noise levels, primarily from traffic, means “no disturbance will arise”.
In South Wales, water skiing mostly takes place off Penarth or on certain days in Cardiff Bay. The nearest cable-pull system is an-hour-and-a-half drive away in the Cotswolds.
East Bute Dock is owned by Association British Ports (ABP) and leased to Cardiff council. Mr Stevenson is in talks to sub-lease it from the council.
He is also in talks with Cardiff brewer Brains about using the former boat shed next to The Wharf as the park’s changing rooms and HQ.