Everybody knows that the greater Miami area is a hotbed for fun outdoor activities. With the city’s insanely diverse culture that’s big on being active in the sun, a watersports complex fits like a glove. In fact, a facility like the Miami Watersports Complex probably should have existed years ago. Like anything, though, doing it right and getting the best people involved took time, and that’s exactly how Miami Watersports Complex has been built up and presented to the now-frothing community. Once a pipe dream of local riders, Miami Watersports Complex now sits as one of the best facilities in the country to ride, learn and experience every facet of wakeboarding. We had the chance to sit down with David and Nacho Hernandez, who co-manage the park and coach together.
Whose vision was the Miami Watersports Complex?
Mike and Paula Fay had the vision, along with Kim and Henrik Laursen from Miami Nautique and Juan Pablo Cappello. These three are the reason Miami Watersports Complex is on the map.
How did it come together?
Michael, Henrik, Kim and Juan are all members of the Greater Miami Ski Club, and it all snowballed from there. Mike, Henrik and Kim have been skiing since they were kids, and Juan picked up wakeboarding about 15 years ago. What’s cool is that all the owners are riders. Mike wakeskates, wakesurfs and wakeboards. Juan skates and surfs, and Kim and Henrik were competitive skiers for many years. Before we started building the cable, Aktion Parks and Correct Craft came in and partnered up with the original owners. And fun fact: Henrik from Miami Nautique discussed the merger with Bill Yeargin, CEO of Correct Craft, on a plane ride together.
What’s the central mission for the park?
To introduce wakeboarding, wakeskating and wakesurfing to Miami. Wakeboarding is an expensive sport, as we all know, so to have two full-size cables and a two-tower system here in Miami is great. It gives people who cannot afford a boat the chance to get out on the water and rip it up at a low cost, and eventually we can start spitting out some pros from Miami. At the end of the day, it’s about family, friends, smiles and fun in the sun. The experience is everything!
How many cable systems are there in total?
Two full-size Rixen cables and a two-tower system. The beginner cable is a six-tower and the advanced cable is a five-tower.
What kind of rails do you guys offer?
All Unit Parktech features. We have two medium kickers, a funbox and a small kicker on the beginner cable. On advanced cable, we have a large kicker, an XL kicker, a pipe rail, the Henshaw signature rail, a rooftop, a double-kink transfer, a cheese wedge and a coffin box.
What community projects is the park involved in?
We’re involved with Above the Wake [an autism awareness program], and we’re working on after-school programs with Miami-Dade County public and private schools. We’re also working on charity events with the Miami Heat and other professional teams and organizations.
What events does the park play host to?
We had the Monster Energy Triple Crown last year, and we hosted the nationals as well. We also have our Points Chase Tournament, host corporate team-building, and we’re working on rail jam, kicker and double-up competitions.
Do you offer coaching?
Yep, we offer coaching on our G23 as well as in the park. We have some of the best boat and cable coaches in South Florida. We [David and Nacho] have been coaching boat for more than 20 years, and we’re both fluent in English and Spanish, which is very helpful in such a diverse community. All lessons are by reservation only. Since we have a partnership with Correct Craft, we have team riders come down all the time for clinics. Shaun Murray, Shawn Watson and Jimmy LaRiche are just some who have coached here.
What’s the plan for Miami Watersports Complex in the near future?
We are looking into getting a pool gap and a floating island in the middle of our advanced side as a wave breaker, hopefully within the year.
What about long-term?
Well, we did sign a 30-year lease with Miami-Dade County, so we are going to be around for a bit. We want to make this the number one cable park in the world. I see us getting another two-tower, more features, and at the rate we’re going, we might need a third cable! We are also looking into building a restaurant as well.
Who are some of the key people to thank for this amazing place?
Where do I begin? Miami-Dade County, for starters. Without their approval, this wouldn’t have been possible. Next would be Mike and Paula Fay, Kim and Henrik Laursen, Juan Pablo Cappello, Bill Yeargin, Sean Marrero, Ryan Malone, Jeff Trudeau, Aktion Parks, Correct Craft, Hyperlite and Byerly Boards.