Darcy Hanks fell in love with cable wakeboarding while on a family vacation in Washington state.
"Wakeboarding is a passion of mine," said Hanks, who works in the telecommunications industry. At a lake in Washington, he was pulled through the water by an overhead cable instead of a boat.
Hanks is turning his passion into a business opportunity and his first foray into developing.
The Salem man recently received site-plan approval from Eagle Mountain to build his Wasatch Wake Park in the northern Utah County city.
The park will feature two artificial lakes and a system of towers and cables that will propel wakeboarders through what Hanks calls "a skatepark on water," where wakeboarders can jump from ramps and perform tricks above and on the water.
Wasatch Wake Park will be south of Pony Express Regional Park, on land leased from the state School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration. The first phase will consist of two 680-foot-long artificial lakes using 3 million gallons of water. Each would have two towers with a cable to pull a rider through the water.
Hanks said the city will provide the first 3 million gallons of water, and after that he will be on his own to keep the lakes topped off.
The second phase will be a larger lake and six towers, allowing up to eight riders at a time.
Hanks said Eagle Mountain is the ideal place for a wakeboarding park. The park is a 30-minute drive from Salt Lake City and from Provo. And he expects the park will spark an interest in the sport since patrons won't need a boat to go wakeboarding.
That is the attraction of cable parks, said Michael Tannehill, business manager at Texas Mastercraft Wake Park in Dallas. Tannehill said a cable park pass there costs between $500 and $1,000 a year, far cheaper than buying a boat to pull a wakeboarder.
"More and more people are getting involved in the sport because of the cable," Tannehill said. "The young kids, teenage kids, rather than have to go out with a family member who has a boat, can get dropped off at the cable park, spend a full day there and get picked up later."
Tannehill said the cable system allows for a greater variety of ramps for wakeboarders to use, since there is no boat to worry about.
Eagle Mountain's Planning Commission granted Hanks a conditional-use permit and recommended the council approve his site plan. Among conditions the commission imposed are having the park entrance on the Lehi-Fairfield Road rather than Pony Express Park Road and submitting to an annual review by the city.
The council approved the site plan on a 4-1 vote at its May 19 meeting, with Councilman John Painter voting against it.
Painter said he had safety concerns about the project. Specifically, he wanted to see a fence around the park to protect children who may not be used to being around water.