The Birth of OWC

The Orlando Watersports Complex opened in the spring of 1999, before wakeboarding really knew what to do with a wake park. Fast-forward 17 years, and it's become clear just how big of an impact OWC has made on the sport as a whole.

Orlando Watersports Complex
The Birth of OWCWakeboarding Magazine

Brian Grubb

"OWC really changed the wake scene in Orlando. It gave local riders and pros a place to ride ­together and progress wakeboarding and wakeskating on the cable and on the boat. Some of those parties they had out there in the early days were legendary. Watching Parks go above the cable on the Indian line was so insane. It’s hard to ­believe OWC has been open for 17 years, but in that time it’s helped launch my career and many others along the way."

Orlando Watersports Complex
The Birth of OWCWakeboarding Magazine

Shaun Murray

"This was right around the time when we started experimenting with rails and kickers at home, and we started bringing them out to OWC on trailers. ­Gerry Nunn and I would bring my PWC, put on barefoot suits, and do ­crazy stunts on the big cable. It really allowed me to expand my switch riding and brought a whole new aspect of fun to the sport. The biggest thing for me was getting tricks and awareness consistent because of repetition. Not much can compare to the economics of time at the cable."

Orlando Watersports Complex
The Birth of OWCWakeboarding Magazine

Parks Bonifay

"I was beyond pumped for OWC to be built in Orlando, and even with no rails or kickers, I would do countless laps. Surf Expo would throw a huge party out there on Thursday nights and I would do the Indian line. I remember 3,000 people stacked along the shore, yelling at me to keep boosting. A couple of times I remember looking up and seeing the cable slightly below me. So much fun! But no matter how high I went at those parties, Jeff Heer was ­always on the start dock telling me to go bigger. Good times!"