I’m standing on a platform in the sea 300 metres off Playa Levante beach in Benidorm. Looking over the railings I can see a launch platform below me where a series of ropes are constantly arriving on a conveyor belt pulley and being passed to the waiting wave-riders.
There’s a, ahem, rather large woman slowly shuffling her ski-clad feet towards the edge of the platform, hanging onto the sides for balance. When the sides run out, the woman falls backwards on her skis and can’t get back up again. It doesn’t bode well. Beside her, looking like a snowboarder who took a wrong turn somewhere outside Vienna, is a girl wearing boots attached to a single, wide, flat board – a wakeboard.
Operating from the extreme southeast edge of Playa Levante, the Cable-Ski is a fun and inexpensive way to try your hand at water skiing and wakeboarding in Alicante‘s purpose built holiday paradise of Benidorm. A series of pulleys operates a rope system which glides over the waves in a large square beyond the shallow shores off the beach. From a launch slope under the platform, you’re given a handle as the ropes comes by and then you’re pulled along the circuit for as much distance as you can manage. Once you fall, you swim to your nearest ‘iceberg’ and wait for the boat to collect and return you to the platform.
As the pulleys turn, the woman on the skis is being gently held upright and pushed forward by the assistant. The rope takes effect and she’s propelled forward. Her skis hit the water and for a second, it looks as if she’s going to make it. But then her arms extend and over she goes, her skis flying in separate directions as she hits the water. Laughing, she retrieves her skis and swims back towards the platform.
The next rope swings into action and the wakeboarder glides gracefully from the platform, elbows tucked into sides, board raised slightly against the oncoming waves. With a wiggle and a scythe of surf, she’s off, making the whole process look as easy as falling backwards on your skis.
The next morning I’m boarding the Aquario II from the pretty marina that divides Playa Levante from Playa de Malpas. Heading upstairs to the open deck, I watch the mini-Manhattan skyline of Benidorm grow smaller as we speed over the waves towards Benidorm Island. There’s a legend in the town that the island was formed when a giant took a piece out of Montaña Puig Campara and threw it into the sea. The evidence is clear – there’s a gap in the top of the mountain that appears to exactly fit the shape of Benidorm Island – case proven.
Just off shore of our destination, we climb below decks to the observatory windows and watch the sun dappled sea life with its silver shoals of fish and its groups of divers whose giddy bubble streams are catching the sunlight as they rise to the surface. On shore we take the hot walk to the summit from where the skyscrapers of Benidorm are shimmering in the heat haze, no longer giants, but dwarfed by the magnificent backdrop of the mountains.
20 euros for one hour (12 euros children), or four starts for 12 euros.
Adults 12.50 euros, children 10 euros
Photo Copyright: John O’Nolan, Andrea Montgomery
Posted : Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011 at 11:00
Andy Montgomery is a travel writer and blogger currently living amongst banana plantations in the north of Tenerife. If she’s not sipping mojitos in a Cuban bar or clinging to some vertigo-inducing outcrop by her fingernails, she’s working on her Buzztrips travel website.