A Fun Day At BSR Cable Park
A couple people had mentioned BSR Cable Park to me so I checked it out and immediately decided to head to Waco to spend the day trying all that they had to offer and we were very impressed. From our perspective BSR Cable Park is the best cable park in Texas hands down.
If you're wondering "what's a cable park," it is a body of water where a participant can wakeboard, ski, or kneeboard without using a boat to pull them. The participant puts on a wakeboard or ski and grabs a rope and handle which is attached to an electronically driven cable that pulls the participant around the lake. The cable is generally suspended about 26 to 30 feet above the water and pulls the wakeboarder around in a circle at about 19 miles an hour.
Sounds like the technique is about the same for all cable parks so what makes BSR the best cable park in Texas? The answer is that BSR is much more than just a cable park, it has:
- a cable lake with a 6 tower cable system with riders, sliders, and kickers
- a slow short riding cable to learn how to ride and wakeboard
- 7 cabins for overnight stays
- a bar and grill with some good food and a deck over looking the cable lake
- a spring fed 72 person hot tub
- wakeboard, ski, kneeboard, and helmet rentals plus life jackets
- private wakeboard lessons and summer camps
- the Super Slide “Royal Flush”
- a barefoot lake and 2 Nautique G23’s ski boats
- the world's longest lazy river
- a cable bi-level lake for expert riders with kickers that let you jump up 4 feet to the next or down 4 to the lower lake
- a kids lake, beach volleyball area with imported sand, and a swimming area on a part of the cable lake
- a pavilion overlooking the main cable lake on one side and the learners lake on the other
BSR Cable Park
The cable park at BSR opened in 2012 and the 12 acre main cable lake with a island in the middle is home to a six tower cable system that pulls riders clockwise around the lake at 19 miles an hour. The lake also has 9 park features: Kawasaki rail, rooftop, 2 wave kickers, A-frame, C-rail, kink rail, 8” round flatbar and funbox. I have no idea what any of those are but I saw several good wakeboarders ride up them and fly several feet through the air on the other side. Looks like fun!
Included in the price of using the cable park is the "Rixen Lil' Bro" learning system which is perfect for first time wakeboarders. An experienced wakeboarder runs the system and provides some hints and help to beginners. This two cable system will gently pull a rider up and down a short stretch of water and stop near the end of the lake where the rider will turn around, grab the handle and get pulled back to the other end. If the rider falls the coach can stop the cable, let the rider grab the handle, and then pull the rider back up to finish the run.
BSR was home to several competitions including the WWA Wake Park National Championships and it's not surprising with all of the above that BSR was voted "the best cable park in the world."
You can bring your own grill, lawn chairs, food, and coolers filled with your favorite beverages - no glass containers - and set up in the pavilion to watch the wakeboarders or head over to the Lazy River and Royal Flush and take advantage of the picnic tables around the Royal Flush Lake. At the cable park there is also a large hot tub overlooking the lake, sand volleyball court, and a beach and swimming area. .
We visited BSR on a hot summer day with my daughters and their 4 kids (5 to 10 years old) and after signing waivers the two youngest kids jumped in the lake and started building sand castles on the beach. After watching some wakeboards fly around the lake, I decided it was best to build up some courage with lunch and a couple margaritas before I gave it a try. In my prime (which was a long time ago, just after the dinosaurs were extinguished) I was a pretty accomplished slalom skier, but I've never wakeboarded. So I sat on the upper deck, had a few drinks, and studied the wakeboarders techniques. Looks simple enough. Let's do it.
So I called the two oldest grandkids who were eager to give it a try and we got fitted with a helmet, life jacket, and wakeboard. They started heading over to the main cable but I called them back and said "since you're new to this, lets try the Lil' Bro first." Which was obviously for my benefit not theirs - turns out they had both been to a wakeboarding camp. I tried not to let them see my shaking knees and told them to go ahead and go first. Of course they made it look easy. I'd been observing closely, listening to the coach, and was ready to go. And to my surprise I made it to the end of the lake where the cable stops, turned around, grabbed the handle and made it back to the start - which got me a round of applause from the family. Piece of cake - I'm ready to try the big cable.
As we watched several boarders take off in front of us, I noticed the main cable went a lot faster, and pulled you rather abruptly off a carpeted ramp - not gently lifted you on the board like at Lil' Bro. And some of the better wakeboarders got air! Hmmmm!. And then I noticed that if I survived the start I would need to figure out how to turn right to go around the oval lake! I send the grandkids first and they nailed it and circled the lake three or four times before trying to get fancy and fell. My turn - I figured it might be harder with shaking knees and trembling hands and a very dry mouth that couldn't respond to "are you ready." I nodded my head, grabbed the handle, flew offer the carpet, and landed face first in lake 3 feet in front of where I started. I wanted to go back to Lil' Bro.
I got out of the lake and back on the platform with a red face and I listened closely to what the coach told me I was doing wrong - which was just about everything. I was ready to head back to the bar but the grandkids and daughters kept yelling "you can do it" - I think the wife was whispering "head to the bar." I tried again, went plop face first in lake. Now I'm mad so I tried it again, got up to a big round of applause, went flying down the lake and suddenly realized I didn't know how to turn! Plop again and then I walked straight to the bar!
If you're a thrill seeker you'll love the Royal flush! The Royal Flush, which is very appropriately named, is the tallest of four side-by-side water slides. I've heard that the slides go 35 miles and hour and it's 120 feet to the bottom and into the lake. Two of the other slides are just about as tall and fast, but the ramp at the end isn't quite as steep - but all three will give you significant lift. It's a blast to sit on the shore, drink a beer and watch the riders do some combination of: flips, belly or back fops, feet first or head first dives, cannon balls, twists and turns, triple flips, or in most cases just something that verifies they are completely out of control. The smallest of the slides is suitable for the younger or first time sliders - it's not quite as steep and the bottom has a smaller ramp and shallow pool of water on the slide that slows your descent into the lake.
Looks fun and exciting from the picnic tables but climb to top and look down and your heart will start pumping the first time! I put on one of the provided life jackets, climbed the 50 feet to top and as soon as I stopped huffing and puffing I started shaking when I looked down and I wondered if my life insurance was up to date? I immediately got in line for the easiest slide and left the other two for my daughters and the shorter one for the granddaughter. Being the heaviest, when I stopped shaking and got rid of my dry mouth, with much faked bravado I bet them I would beat them to the bottom. I wished them luck, sat down, and then waited for the starter to tell us to hit it! The sharp drop off put my heart in my throat - I don't think I screamed but I'm not sure. But I am sure that I did a pretty good belly flop, created a huge splash, and heard several people around the lake laughing! The wife and 3 other grandkids asked me why my feet were flying all over the place and my arms were windmilling and my face looked terrified! I ignored them and headed back up to see if I could perfect my form and land in lake like an olympic diver - never did happen but I sure had fun sliding down the Royal Flush.
Check out this video of the Royal Flush to see what I mean. Today riders must wear a life jacket.
Lazy River at BSR Cable Park
After several trips climbing the stairs and belly flopping into the water, I was ready to relax and sip a cold beer in a tube on the lazy river. You can pick a single tube, a tube with a bottom, or a double tube and there are special tubes for ice chest. The just under a mile long and 3 feet deep lazy river will take you slowly in a circle under the trees and back to where you started. It's a little slow but cool and relaxing!
Between the Royal Flush and the Lazy River is a smaller lake for swimming or just cooling off that the grandkids loved.
Cabins at BSR Cable Park
We wanted to stay in one of the cabins overnight so I could perfect my wakeboarding and sliding techniques but they were booked. There are 7 cabins, 5 of which sleep 4 to 5 people and two that sleep 12 to 16. The cabins are new, clean, and well appointed - for example, VIP Cabin #6 will sleep 12 to 14 in two bedrooms and a loft and it has:
- a fully stocked kitchen with oven, stove microwave, refrigerator dishwasher, and coffee maker.
- washer and dryer
- bathroom with a toilet, sink, and glass enclosed tiled shower
- a large hot tub (shared with one other cabin) overlooking the cable park
- living area with couch, table and 4 chairs, and more
The cabins face the wakeboard lake which means you can sit on the deck of the cabin and watch the wakeboarders and it's an easy walk to the bar and grill and the Royal Flush.
Speaking of the bar and grill, it's fantastic. The food (a variety of sandwiches, burgers, and appetizers) was very good and there is a full bar - excellent Bloody Marys and Margaritas. The bar is on the second floor and it's patio is a great place to sip a drink, munch on some food, and watch the wakeboards. Get tired of that and head back inside for a game of pool or shuffleboard or to catch a game.
We had a great time but before I come back I'm going to sneak in some lessons so I don't embarrass myself! In September 2016 I learned another reason to return to BSR - they will be building a wave machine, what a great way to embarrass myself again! Here's the press release quote: "AWM is teaming up with BSR to create a 2 acre surf lake incorporating PerfectSwell Infinite Ocean design and surf generating technology. With PerfectSwell contract fulfillment already underway in Russia and New Jersey this will be the largest system produced by AWM to date. Plans include the addition of big cabins for accommodations, a full service surf shop, and BSR's signature bar and restaurant."