The Big 4: The most common challenges in wakepark construction and how to overcome them

Nov 27, 2023

Wakeboarding is an international sport and the customers we work with are just as international. We plan and build wakepark facilities all over the world – and although laws, requirements and regulations differ from country to country, there is one thing we notice: Our clients face certain recurring challenges while planning to build a wakepark, and they can determine whether or not a project can be brought to a successful end.

Among the overarching challenges, the process of project development itself stands out. Location, business concept and financing form the cornerstones in this regard. The business concept must be clearly defined, considering criteria such as feasibility, scalability, target audience orientation and innovation. A good business idea takes into account the competitive situation, sets strategic goals, and recognizes that the success of a project depends not only on the idea but also on its implementation. Financing is another crucial factor for success. The appropriate financing method (equity/debt capital, public funding, partnerships etc.) must be individually assessed. It is essential to be aware of the available financing options, to examine their costs, risks, and conditions, and to ensure that the chosen financing structure aligns with the project’s requirements and goals.

The choice of a suitable location, along with its planning and design, is also crucial for a project’s success. Factors such as accessibility, infrastructure, market demand, political conditions, environmental impacts and other parameters need to be considered. In the past, we have accompanied numerous wakepark projects and observed that our clients often faced similar challenges related to the location and associated permits, which we refer to as our Big 4.

These challenges can be mastered. It makes sense to prepare and inform yourself in advance in the best possible way. That’s why we would like to share our experiences and present them in more detail.

#1 Noise Certificate

One of the major concerns, especially voiced by the relevant authorities regarding the construction of a water ski and wakeboard facility, is the noise generated by the facility itself. There persists a widespread notion that the operation of a wakepark produces a significant amount of noise, potentially causing disturbance to residents, as well as animals living in or near the area. It is true that a wakepark generates noise, but the level is not as high as often assumed. For instance, our electric motors, used to power our cable systems, operate extremely quietly, benefiting the surroundings, visitors and staff. Additionally, noise mitigation measures can be implemented, if necessary. Therefore, noise generation does not have to be a decisive factor.

To address skeptics, you can provide a sound assessment, issued by a recognized institute or company. This document can demonstrate the actual noise levels of the wakepark. As a customer, we can provide you with a current sound assessment for our facility at a reference location. Feel free to reach out to us!


#2 Aquatic Ecological Assessment and Soil Investigation

There is a common misconception that a wakepark facility has negative effects on a water body, leading to pollution and adverse changes in water parameters. With proper information, you can dispel many doubts and refute assumptions through education. Of course, the construction of a wakepark does influence the water body, but not in a detrimental way. We observe that the increased water movements caused by water skiing and wakeboarding lead to oxygen enrichment, reduction in algae formation, and an improvement in water quality. Consequently, a wakepark can even contribute to the revitalization of neglected water bodies and enhance them as habitats.

In some countries, such as Germany, an application for a water permit must be submitted to the relevant authority if a water body and adjacent area are to be used. A hydrogeological assessment (water assessment) may be required for this, unless the construction project does not impact the groundwater. Conducting a hydrogeological assessment can also be beneficial for planning, providing insights into the fluctuation range of the lake level and making predictions for the future.

In construction projects in Germany and some other countries, a soil investigation is also required when buildings such as sanitary facilities, restaurants, bars, storage rooms, etc., are to be erected. There are specialized companies that can assist you in this regard.

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#3 Plant and landscape protection requirements

The construction of a wakepark, like any other building project, is an intervention in nature and landscape. We can certainly understand concerns in this regard. What if trees need to be felled to manage the area? Or if there are rare plant species on the site that need protection? It should be the top priority to proceed in the interest of the environment and be as non-invasive as possible. This includes obtaining information about nature and landscape protection requirements and adhering to them.

There are ways to build a wakepark without harming the plant life. It’s important to note that the construction and operation of a wakepark do not automatically mean that plants will be damaged. On the contrary, with suitable precautions and measures, areas can be created where nature and humans can coexist without disturbing each other.

We recommend obtaining information from the relevant authorities in advance about the requirements for plant and nature protection and any compensation options that may be available. In some countries, clearings may be allowed if there is compensation through appropriate replanting.

For larger construction projects, it may be necessary to conduct an environmental impact assessment to obtain approval for the project.

#4 Animal welfare requirements

In the era of climate change, the loss of biodiversity plays a particularly significant role. This applies not only to the plant world but also to the animal kingdom. Whether it’s about protecting endangered species or maintaining natural habitats – find out about the animal welfare regulations that apply in your country and to your site. Strict regulations don’t have to be a dealbreaker. For example, if there are breeding and protection periods that last several months, adjustments can be made to construction and operating times. With a willingness to cooperate, compromises are always possible.

It’s also helpful to highlight synergies because a wakepark and a functioning ecosystem, which remains a natural habitat for plants and animals, thereby contributing to species conservation, are by no means mutually exclusive but can go hand in hand. Showing positive interactions can help dispel concerns and doubts.

Staying the course pays off!

A wakepark is an exciting and lucrative business with significant social value, making the investment, time, and effort ultimately worthwhile. It’s crucial not to be deterred or discouraged along the way. Yes, there are challenges, but with thorough preparation, reliable information, good references and relevant assessments they can be overcome.

We accompany you on this journey and won’t let you down. Our clients are the best examples of success stories. We provide comprehensive guidance, taking each step together with you until your dream of a wakepark becomes a reality.

If you are planning to build a wakepark, reach out to us. Together, we will develop a strategy and guide your project to a successful completion.

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You plan on building a wakepark? Anne is the expert you want to talk to. Having a strong background in architecture and urban planning, she can quickly walk you through the requirements, the project timeline and any budget question that you might have. Anne handles all Full Size Cable system installations and we are not sure why you are still reading and haven’t picked up the phone yet.

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Anne Eaton

Anne Eaton

Director of Sales and Project Management