Wakeboarding a welcome change to cabin fever – Timmins Press

Strong start to the season for wake park

Brooke-lynne McGinn, 12, makes a splash landing coming off the jump at the Timmins Wake Park on Tuesday evening. The wake park has benefited from residents who have been holed in up virtual quarantine for the last few months and who are eager to play outdoors. RICHA BHOSALE/The Daily Press jpg, TD

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Many seasonal or recreational businesses have sunk due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

That, however, doesn’t seem to be the case for Timmins Wake Park.

With residents holed up in their homes for several months, many people are eager to finally get outdoors and enjoy the summer weather without worrying about physical distancing.

“Actually the pandemic is affecting probably in a positive way,” said wake park operator Jonathan Bonney. “We conduct all our business outdoors and the activity itself is basically one individual at a time, so it’s very easy for us to incorporate social distancing measures and other protocols.

“And now with kids being out of school and there’s basically a holding pattern with organized team sports like soccer, hockey and baseball.

“Basically we’re one of the only activities in the city that are providing an outlet for some of these kids and obviously their parents as well and people of all ages to be able to come out and try some wakeboarding and get some fresh air and do it safely.

“So, we’re anticipating the same if not more business this summer as the weather continues to get nicer.”

The wake park, located on the east side of Gillies Lake, is open seven days of the week from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m.

He encourages newcomers to take advantage of their seasonal or single session passes and try some wakeboarding.

“The way it works is, we allocate the riding session in 10-minute blocks. When someone purchases the season’s pass, basically, that allows them to come every day for up to three rides a day.”

One pre-requisite is the rider needs to know how to swim. Bonney said they don’t allow non-swimmers to ride.

“We definitely need to be comfortable in the water. Swimming is definitely a very important part of it because although you’re in the water with a life jacket, you still need to be comfortable in the water because at some point you could be out there alone on the court.”

Bonney added, before the session, certified coaches train riders how to swim with the wakeboards on their feet.

“Often people know how to swim but they never swam with the wakeboard on their feet. So we just go over a few basics with them on how to manage in the water with the wakeboard on their feet. And at that point we’ll be able to make a final judgment call as to whether or not the person is comfortable enough to continue and proceed.”

Bonney said since they’ve opened up, they’ve been doing well on sales. They get a lot of walk-ins. But he’s just waiting for weather to get little nicer and people to participate in their summer camp also.

“This year will be our sixth summer camp. We’re going to do a little different by bringing in a guest coach to run the camps. In our first week in July we’re bringing in Kelsey Chiappa. She’s a national wakeboard team member and the national champion as well. She will be leading the lesson plans, basically they’re half a day.  They go from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday to Thursday.”

He feels the camp is just a way to have fun on water, make new friends in summer and improving the wakeboarding skills.

“We just want to have a positive introduction to the sport and hopefully they will want to continue after camping. But we’re really excited to have Kelsey at our wake park,” said Bonney.

Brooke-lynne McGinn, 12, takes flight off the jump at the Timmins Wake Park on Tuesday evening as the facility is now open for another summer.RICHA BHOSALE/The Daily Press jpg, TD