Thrill-seeking water sports park looks to create jobs

A NEW venture aiming to inspire the next generation of adrenalin-fuelled water sport addicts is creating jobs in the region.

The North East Wake Park, at Bishopton Lake, near Stockton, has opened to provide thrill-seekers the chance to enjoy cable wakeboarding.

The enterprise, led by David McCafferty, is believed to be the first of its kind in the region, and is capable of teaching scores of people every day.

Using two cable systems, including one of the longest in the country, it takes riders out onto the water, helping beginners master the basics and professionals hone stunts over obstacles.

Mr McCafferty, who is an instructor, said the former fishing lake, close to the Surfstore centre, fills a regional void in the water sport sector, with similar facilities only available in Scotland, Lancashire and South Yorkshire.

He hopes the venture, which will include a cafe and changing rooms, will deliver four full-time posts and at least six part-time roles.

He told The Northern Echo: “This is a real family sport and it goes right across the generations.

“You could have a young lad, his father and his granddad taking part, and we also get a lot of women doing this too.

“We have the two systems, which control the speed of the cable, so people can start to learn and progress through individual coaching.

“There’s nothing like this around here; if you look North, you have to go to Scotland, and across the country its Liverpool, Blackpool and Sheffield.

Mr McCafferty, who is being supported by trainee operator James Bell, said the park covered a number of bases, giving people the chance to enjoy windsurfing, swimming and kayaking.

He added: “What is great is that you get the crossover side of things.

“If you are a snowboarder, and you can’t do it because it’s the middle of summer and there’s no snow, you can come here.

“It’s the same with kite-surfers, who are normally down at the coast.

“If they don’t have the wind, they can come here, as can water skiers, because, rather than having to have a boat, look after it and store it, they can use the cable.

“The feedback has been mega so far, and people are really positive.”

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