The Dream: Radar Lake

Radar Lake. The name itself ­implies a lot of things in wakeboarding lore. What it implies most though might be envy, because anybody who knows anything about epic places to ride has dreamed about riding at Radar Lake.

wakeboarding lakes
Built in 1972 by Herb O’Brien, Radar Lake has become one of the most iconic riding spots in the world. What it has done for watersports over the years can’t be defined. Tim Pelletier

Nestled atop a hill overlooking the Carnation Valley region of Washington state, Radar Lake was one of the first private, man-made ski lakes in the world. The land was ­originally bought and developed by Herb O’Brien in 1972, and since then, the legend (and envy) has only grown exponentially. Because Radar Lake is most often described as indescribable, we figured it would be best to hear about it from the lucky guys who have been able to visit it over the years. Oh, and if you’d like to ride there one day, you’re probably going to have to keep dreaming …

“There is this special feeling when you’re at Radar that’s unlike anywhere else I’ve been in the world. Once you go through those gates and you’re on the grounds, it’s like time stops and nothing else matters. Whatever you had going on in the real world doesn’t become a concern anymore; you’re just at this magical lake, taking advantage of everything it has to offer. Of course, you can’t say enough about everything that’s gone down there: the video sections, the photos, the progression. But for me, Radar is about that feeling.” — Parks Bonifay


“Radar Lake is a magical place with a lot of nostalgia. It has had a profound impact on all of towed watersports, not just wakeboarding. I consider myself really lucky to have been able to go there as much as I have over the years. My favorite memories are usually just the vibes that come with being there with the boys, but one that really stands out is when I won Trick of the Year in 2011 with the step-up gap we built. Herb was there watching all of us ride, and he was really in tune with what was going on. After any of us hit it, he would talk to us about how it felt and what we were thinking. That was really special to me.” — Erik Ruck

“When I first went to Radar Lake, it was nothing like I expected. Photos don’t even do it justice because of how unique it is. The trees, the views … it’s unreal. ­Radar Lake is really Herb’s dream lake that he created out of nothing. Its story is really almost unbelievable. Knowing the history of Radar and what it has done for watersports over the years, it’s really special for me to have been a small part of that. We’ve done a lot there to push wakeboarding — all the crazy rails, gaps, stunts and stuff — that is really cool to look back on.” — Danny Harf


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