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If you’re looking for the best lakes in Florida for wakeboarding, are you ever in luck. Florida is rich in a multitude of natural resources and lakes happen to be one of them.
While many people think of the long sandy beaches that line Florida both along the Atlantic-facing side of the state and the equally notable beaches lining the state’s Gulf-facing view, the state is considered by many the wakeboarding paradise in all the world because of the many lakes this state boasts that are perfect for wakeboarding.
In this article, we’ll highlight five of the top lakes in Florida for wakeboarders and offer a few safety tips for enjoying this popular sport safely.
Wakeboarding in Flordia safety considerations
Florida is often described as the water sports capital of the world and this definitely extends to towed waters sports thanks to Florida’s many pristine lakes.
The fact that the climate is wakeboard friendly all year long helps, too.
Nearly nineteen percent of the state of Florida is covered in waterways earning the state the third highest ranking for square miles of inland water.
Because of the vast availability of water habitats, Florida is home to diverse ecosystems. And if you’re wakeboarding in Florida, alligators are a serious safety consideration.
Alligator mississippiensis, the largest species of Reptiles found in North America, happens to be a keystone species crucial to the vitality of Florida’s ecosystems.
More commonly known as the American alligator, this apex predator is crucial to maintaining the natural balance and order of the teeming life found in Florida lakes.
Unlike their cousins, the crocodiles, Alligators do not look at humans as prey, preferring birds, fish, insects, and small mammals instead.
That doesn’t mean the nearly two million American alligators living in Florida don’t pose a risk for wakeboarders.
Alligators are nocturnal hunters, explaining Florida’s water sports regulations that only allow towed water sports such as wakeboarding 30 minutes before sunrise until 30 minutes after sunrise.
Adhering to these regulations reduces the likelihood that you’ll be in the water when hungry alligators are most likely to be on the prowl for their next meal.
There have only been 401 documented alligator bites in Florida since 1948 and of those only 23 were fatal attacks.
The chances of being attacked by an alligator while wakeboarding in Florida aren’t as high as the chances of benign struck by lightning while behind the boat but taking a few precautions is still essential for ensuring everyone in your party has a good – and safe! – time.
To wakeboard in Florida lakes amidst the alligators safely, always take the following precautions:
- Observe regulations and wakeboard only between sun up and sun down to avoid alligators when they are most likely to be hunting.
- Never feed alligators – this diminishes their natural fear of humans and makes them more aggressive.
- If people are eating or fishing on the boat you’re wakeboarding behind, make sure everyone disposes of food and fish scraps in a garbage receptacle and never throw these scraps in the water.
Other wakeboarders and boaters
The popularity of wakeboarding continues to enjoy rapid expansion, but so do nearly every towed water sport. This popularity translates into crowded lakes and potential dangers for riders and drivers alike.
If you’re planning to wakeboard on a Florida lake, you’ll definitely need to work with a team to ensure everyone’s safety.
In addition to a sober driver, the safest way to wakeboard on Florida lakes is with a dedicated spotter, too – someone whose job it is to look out for others in the water and help the driver of the boat avoid potential accidents.
Spotters are also important for promoting wakeboarder safety, often splitting their attention between scanning the water for other boaters, kayakers, tubers, and swimmers while also keeping watch over the wakeboarder for any signs of distress.
Some areas in Florida that are popular for wakeboarding are also home to delicate ecosystems. When planning your wakeboarding trip, research the area’s regulations pertaining to wildlife to ensure you enjoy wakeboarding without leaving a lasting negative impact on the local environment.
Some areas have instituted wake limits or speed limits to protect local habitats, so keep an eye out for signage and adhere to all regulations.
Which part of Florida is the best for Wakeboarding?
For freshwaters sports like wakeboarding, central Florida is the place to be. Orlando, described by Florda travel website VisitFlorida.com, is referred to as the mecca for wakeboarders because it boasts a wakeboard-friendly climate year round with plenty of lakes.
As you move south of Orlando, the number of wakeboard-worthy lakes quickly diminishes.
When you’re planning your wakeboarding pilgrimage to Florida, you’ll want to keep in mind a few criteria to help you choose the best lakes to visit.
Location and accessibility are key, with ramp availability and parking chief concerns for easily getting into and out of the water to get the most out of the legal time allowed for sports like wakeboarding.
Lake depth, size, and natural barriers that protect against wind are also key considerations.
Best Lakes in Florida for Wakeboarding
With more than 30,000 lakes, Florida is the obvious choice if you’re planning a wakeboarding holiday.
Top pros from all over the world make their way to Florida lakes all year round and this is definitely the state to move to if you want to pursue wakeboarding competitively.
The toughest part of wakeboarding in Florida is definitely choosing which beautiful expanse of lake to enjoy behind the boat.
Here are just a few good options if you’re looking for a great lake to wakeboard in Florida.
Wakeboarding on Lake Connely
Located in Orlando, Lake Conway is one of the largest lakes in the area. Pro riders such as Gunner Daft, Steel Laffterty, adn Tony Laconi have all been known to shred on Lake Conway.
This lake is open year round to the public and tends to be a “party lake” every weekend during the summer.
Though boat traffic can get thick on the weekends, the lake boasts multiple shorelines and natural barriers ensure wind is rarely ever an issue for wakeboarders.
If you can sneak away for a weekday afternoon behind the boat, Lake Connely is a great option for wakeboarders who want wide open expanse for long, cruisey rides.
Lake Jessamine can safely make the impressive claim that it houses more high-level wake pros than any other lake on earth.
The small town of Jessamine is home to pros like Meagan Ethell and Mike Dowdy, who prefer Jessamine for its unique shape and tree-line shores that ensure optimal wakeboarding conditions no matter how windy it is elsewhere.
This is a smaller lake and a public boat launch means it can get crowded from time to time. It is also home to some large reptiles, to keep those alligator safety tips in mind on Lake Jessamine.
Clewiston earned its nickname of “Florida’s Sweetest Town” from the area’s sugar production success.
The town is now better known as the home to Florida’s largest lake and the second largest lake in the US, Lake Okeechobee.
The locals call Lake Okeechobee “The Big O” and take pride in this lake’s 448,000 acres.
Ironically, the city of Clewiston is one of the smallest wakeboarding paradises in terms of city population with only 7,500 residents.
Though small, the town offers a marina for launching or renting your boat, airboat tours, chartered fishing trips, as well as plenty of historical, cultural, and just plain fun things to do off the water.
The Clermont Chain of Lakes
The Clermont Chain of Lakes is a collection of eleven lakes that range in size from the largest Lake Luisa, boasting 3,574 acres, to the smallest, Lake Cook, with only 21 acres of lake coverage.
The picturesque town of Clermont lies between two of the largest lakes in the chain, Lake Minneola and Lake Minnehaha, and provides plenty of amenities and perks such as a history main street, ample access options, and cute places to stay.
Though the vast majority of Florida’s best wakeboarding lakes are located in the central part of the state.
The Hollywood Lakes, located halfway between Fort Lauderdale and Miami in the town of Hollywood, Florida, boasts two lakes just off the Intercoastal Waterway (ICW).
The North Lake and South Lake are nearly identical. The outer edges of the lake are best for wakeboarding, offering enough open space that your boat driver can comfortably tow in large circles.
If you head south under the bridge from the Hollywood ramp, you’ll find a speed zone that’s a secret sweet spot for local wakeboarders and tubers.
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