Beach and board #TakeItToTheLake
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Cold Lake gets chillin’ at the beach just right
COLD LAKE, AB - Flying high over the waves, Nathalie Senez takes a plunging dive. Momentarily, she pops up again. Mere seconds later she’s back in the air. Senez is a talented athlete, no doubt, but she’s no superhero - she’s a flyboarder.
It seems like a sport torn right out of comic books. So while most people are familiar with it now, when Wicked Watersport Rentals’ Ray Cowell first tested it out at Kinosoo Beach in Cold Lake four years ago, people weren’t sure what to make of it.
“Of course, trying out a new sport in a small community has its challenges,” explains Cowell. “Right after the ice came off the lake we hooked up the flyboard to the sea-doo and away we went. It just really drew the attention of the entire community; there were crowds lining the beach.”
“One guy said, ‘you can’t hook a firehose to a sea-doo!’ He thought we’d just jimmy-rigged this thing up ourselves.”
Unless you’ve seen it before, it can look a little strange. The flyboard actually uses a personal watercraft like a Sea-Doo to power the hydraulics via a long, thick hose attachment. Which, when you think about it, means your coach is never far behind you as you learn.
Beach culture is going on in Cold Lake, so it didn’t take long for locals to embrace the new sensation.
It’s not quite Venice Beach, but it’s probably the closest Alberta has next to Sylvan Lake. However, where crowds flock to Sylvan, Cold Lake still has room to play. Which is good, because that’s what operations like Wicked Watersports are all about.
Aside from flyboarding, they also rent and offer instruction for kayaking, SUP (paddleboarding) and pedal boats.
I take a turn out on the paddleboard to get my sea legs, quickly finding my balance on the stable, 10-foot board. Paddling on my right side is natural, but my it takes me a little longer finding balance on my left. It’s one of those skills that is easy to learn, hard to master - but fun no matter what.
“Once you get the rhythm of it, it’s just the coolest feeling. I thought it was going to be super hard but it’s not,” says Senez. “It’s just an amazing experience.”
White sand, laid-back vibes and good times are what inspired Cowell to launch the business in the first place. As he tells it, he wanted a business for him and his daughter to be able to share and enjoy the beach life together.
“Beach life is about relaxation and not taking life too seriously,” says Ray. When the day comes, he has his retirement already planned out, he says, “I will never own socks or pants again in my life.”
After an afternoon on the beach here, he has me convinced that at least for the next few months I should do the same. Goodbye socks, hello beach life. A guy could get used to this.