A ‘revolutionary’ water-sports park could be coming to York which would “allow both students and locals alike to enjoy heavily discounted water sports”.

The University of York’s wake club YUWake is working with the nationwide university group UniWake and the national governing body British Water Ski and Wakeboard to bring wake-boarding, wake-skating, water-skiing, and wake-surfing to York.


The York Uni Wake Park is proposed for the lake on Campus East of the University of York and would be a “world-class facility” for students and the wider community. Should the project be accepted, wake sports could be coming to York in April 2020.

Cable skiing

Wakeboarding would be one of the sports
The park would include a ‘revolutionary’ 700m long straight line elevated cable across the lake, one of the first of its kind.

A rider attaches to the cable, and is pulled across the lake on their wake-board or water-skis. The rider will be faced with various obstacles, suitable for riders ranging from beginners to experts, and can perform tricks such as the ‘progressive toeside edge’ or the ‘mule kick’.

There would also be a shorter cable with an air bag at the end for practicing skills. Facilities would include changing rooms and seven access points to the lake.


You could even do freestyle skiing and snowboarding in the winter when the lake freezes!

The Wake Park hopes to benefit local businesses and promote Campus East by bringing visitors to the area and providing opportunities for employment as an operator or instructor.

The aim is to be open seven days a week. With the nearest wake centres in Sheffield, Salford, and Welton, the park could prevent long journeys to access these sports.

Wider dream

The lake earmarked for the project
The park is part of a wider dream of a new student community for wake sports in the UK, hoping to promote the sports and improve access to events and competitions. UniWake hopes for the York Uni Wake Park to be the home of student wakeboarding and waterskiing.

The project is confident they will receive over £180,000 from grants, a small loan, and crowdfunding, which will cover all of their costs.

The funding they want would come from Sport England (£10k), YUFund (£40k), and BeFund (£100k). City of York Council supports the project informally.

The catch? The project is waiting on a review, promoted by the vice chancellor of the University of York, into why water sports are currently not allowed to take place on the lake, even if action is taken to be considerate to the environment.

If that results in a positive outcome, and with the agreement of the university estates, the project can go through.

Environment concerns

The sports centre would be open to the public as well as students
Daniel Wyles, the student face behind this project, says they are “poised to begin talks with the university as to how things will be set up and operated”, and that “once we have estates on our side, we have the ability to allow both students and locals alike to enjoy heavily discounted water and snow sports.”

One of the main issues is the affect on the environment.

However, the project claims to have designed the park to be as environmentally friendly as possible.

After careful consultation, the project has various plans in place to protect the environment:

  • using rocks instead of cement to weigh obstacles down
  • using electric motors to avoid pollution
  • building wave barriers to minimise the impact of waves
  • specific access points to the lake to minimise erosion
  • avoiding development on the south bank to protect nesting birds
  • and planting trees to obscure the cable towers.

The wake community aren’t the only ones hoping for access to the lake. Many other university water sports clubs also want the lake opened up for them to use.

To find out how you can get involved, get in touch with YUWake on Facebook.

What are wake sports?

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Water-skiing: a water sport where an individual is pulled behind a boat or cable installation over a body of water, on two skis or one ski.

Wake-boarding: same as water-skiing but on a board.

Wake-surfing: a water sport where the rider trails behind the boat, riding the boat’s wake without being directly pulled by the boat. After getting up on the waves, with the help of a tow rope, the rider lets go and surfs the waves.

Wake-skating: same as wake-boarding but the rider is not attached to the board.