Take to the waters at Ballito Cable Ski Park

Posted by Teagan Cunniffe on 23 July 2018 Tags:, , ,

There’s a new aquatic playground near Durban – good for cooling down and getting a good dose of adrenaline.

Teagan Cunniffe visited the Ballito Cable Ski Park to try out a flip on a fly board.

Laurent Bauwens hovers in the air on the flyboard. Image by Teagan Cunniffe

Let’s just say my first experience on a fly board (a board buoyed up by a jet stream of water) wasn’t as graceful as I’d hoped. While I plunged about like a concussed dolphin, instructor Laurent Bauwens patiently explained how to tame the wobbly steed. Ten minutes later I was hovering a metre above the surface. A feat I was proud of – until Laurent hopped on and shot up 15 metres into the sky and swan-dived gracefully into the depths. ‘It just takes practise!’ I heard him shout.

For energetic founders Rowan Sharples and Carl Franz, what started off as a safe environment for their families to enjoy while they jet skied has exploded into a full-on adventure hub for all (even the resident French bulldog, Bruno). Set alongside a dam on a sugar-cane farm, Ballito Cable Ski Park sprang up within a few months at the end of 2017.

Bushes were cleared, the land levelled, a restaurant and shaded veranda built and, finally, the main attraction installed: one of only four cable ski set-ups in South Africa. The 350-metre return cable stretches across the dam, whisking water skiers and kneeboarders around via a remote-controlled pulley.

Back on land, I watched the setting sun gilding hills of sugar cane as I sipped my pomegranate G&T and ate a pizza, while parents observed their kids splashing about in canoes and on a giant inflatable duck. A group of 30-something friends came off the water, grinning as they flopped down on the grass after their hour on the cable ski.

They had been particularly good at it, taking to the ramp and landing trick jumps to a chorus of cheers from the shore. I listened as a boy pleaded with his dad to let him stay for ‘just a bit longer’. And, I guess, tghat’s the perfect summary of the experience: good, unpretentious fun. With a solid whack of adrenaline.

The atmosphere is as laid-back; inflatable tubes are available for small children. Image by Teagan Cunniffe

Verdict The park is a great alternative to the crowded beaches of Ballito. Summon friends and family and get some healthy exercise; if there’s no one nodding off in the back seat on the way home, happily worn out, you’ve done it wrong.

Cost Flyboarding is R550 per person, cable skiing is R150 for an hour slot (for four to six people). Skis and wake boards

can be hired for R70, SUP boards for R120, or bring your own. All-day use of the water slides costs R20.

The details The area is fenced so you needn’t worry about children wandering off to the water alone. Life jackets are supplied. There are also jet skis, off -road Segways and BMX trails. And coming soon is an inflatable ‘fat-boy blob’ with a giant slide. Food and drinks are available at very reasonable prices (pizza from R45). In keeping with the safety ethic, chilled-out Bruno is the only dog allowed. cableski.co.za

 

This article first appeared in the May 2018 issue of Getaway magazine.

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Our May 2018 issue features the ultimate Karoo road trip, magical Qolora on the Wild Coast, a Lesotho shootout (wild versus luxury); hiking, boating and fishing on the Gariep Dam, we explore Scotland’s Isle of Skye, plus lots more.