I thought I’d share my favourite thing I’ve done in Dublin, Ireland! If you’re after something that doesn’t involve alcohol or museums but is something a bit more active and challenging, yes, right in the city centre, I think I’ve found it! Located at the Dublin Grand Canal Dock (roughly a 25 minute walk from the main centre) is Wakedock, a cable wakeboarding park! What is wakeboarding? Think snowboarding, mixed with water skiing and you’re not far off! I first learnt to wakeboard behind a speed boat, cable parks eliminate the boat. The tow rope is attached to a cable that runs above the dock and uses a control box to stop, start and control it’s speed.
Dublin isn’t always the warmest of places, I half thought I was crazy for wanting to then jump into the river but it really wasn’t that bad. Wakedock provided a full length wetsuit so the cold was never an issue.
Is cable wakeboarding suitable for learners?
Absolutely! You check in to a time slot on the hour, lasting for an hour, however individual sets only last around 15 minutes as there could be up to 3 other riders booked into the slot. 15 minutes is plenty of time, it’s tough going! The group consisted of people of all abilities. I had previous ‘boat’ experience but hadn’t been for a couple of years (and not an expert by no means), there were 2 people that had never been wakeboarding before and one girl that was a regular to Wakedock. Everyone was standing up by the end of the session. Compared to wake boarding behind a boat, cable is SO much easier. Because of the height of the system, it automatically pulls you into a standing position, whereas behind a boat it takes a bit more effort!
Another great thing about the cable system is that being a learner, you’re bound to lose balance and fall down (I still struggle with tight corners!). Rather than waiting for a boat to spin round and then be lassoed by the driver trying to throw the rope at you, the guy on the dock can simply ‘drive’ the handle back directly above your head so all you need to do it reach up, grab it and carry on.
I find wakeboarding really satisfying, it’s almost like when you surf and you finally stand up and catch a wave, it makes you feel like you’ve accomplished something! My goal whenever I’ve been wakeboarding is to do a complete circuit (including the corners), when you can finally do it, it makes you feel good!
Other Wakedock Info
There are several different wakeboarding packages that Wakedock offer. Obviously some people go with all their own equipment so can then just pay for the 15 minute ‘set’, but if you’re travelling, you can pay more to hire a board and a wetsuit. Everyone has to wear a helmet. There are obstacles and jumps in the water, even if you’re not advanced enough to use them, there’s a chance that if you lose control you might smash into them…ok so it’s not quite that dramatic!
There are shared changing facilities, a toilet (if you wanted somewhere a little more private to change) and a small equipment shop on site.
If there are 4 people in the set, it WILL last an hour. The group goes over to a floating pontoon in the middle of the dock by boat and then you wait for everyone to complete their set before heading back to dry land. There are chairs to sit down on, but no toilets on the pontoon.
My visit to Dublin, happened to co-inside with Wakedock’s special Ladies Day event. Women got discounted package prices (which was really handy for the budget!), special women only slots and then each group of 4 were entered into a raffle to win on the spot prizes. I won a really cool vest top, which I LOVE and has since become my go to top when travelling to beach destinations, it’s a light weight material, pretty colours and really fast drying! So all in all my afternoon at Wakedock was awesome!
Visit the Wakedock website for more information!
Other Things To Do At The Dublin Grand Canal Dock
If wakeboarding is a little bit too extreme, Surfdock (also located at the Grand Canal Dock) do stand up paddling boarding! On Saturdays mornings they offer a SUP Yoga class! I’ve taken part in a SUP yoga class in the USA and really enjoyed it. It’s actually a lot easier to balance than expected and they use weights to stop the boards from floating away.
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