There are many reasons to come out to Lake Ray Hubbard in Rockwall on a beautiful summer day. You can sail on it. You can ski on it. And now you can fly over it. Recently, Planet Rockwall had an opportunity to do just that. With the opening of Parasailing the Harbor, the lake offers one of the most heart-stoppingly fun summer activities to be found anywhere in North Texas.
If youve never been parasailing before (which we hadnt), the basic principle is simple. Take a boat, preferably a powerful one, a parachute, and a long rope. Attach parachute and rope to a person, the other end of the rope to the boat, and make the boat go fast enough to lift parachute and person as high as the rope will allow. Thats the principle, anyway. But, principle is one thing, actual practice is quite another.
The reality is, this is definitely a dont-try-this-at-home proposition. There are many details involved in making this a safe and fun sport. It is not something one can safely do behind the average ski boat, nor is it inexpensive to start up. The company spent over a year obtaining the necessary (top-of-the-line) equipment, inspections, insurance, permits and certifications to make sure it is all done in accordance with marine safety regulations and best practices.
On learning this, any trepidation we may have had quickly evaporated. The sport was developed over 25 years ago, providing ample time to refine equipment. Participants are launched from a platform on the back of the boat and brought back onboard via an ingenious winch and harness system, allowing for a gentle, dry ride. On hot summer days, however, most flyers opt for a “dunk” mid flight, in which the boat slows down to allow for a slow float down for a splash before speeding up again for a quick ascent.
The equipment used at Parasailing the Harbor is state of the art, built specifically for the sport and incorporates redundant safety features. Owner/operator Rance Rudy is a Coast Guard Certified Master Captain with over 20 years of boating experience. This summer he is working with Matt Murphy, a veteran with over 18 years in the sport who has towed parasailers all over the world, from Japan to the Caribbean. We felt secure and in good hands as the winch played out, ultimately lifting us hundreds of feet above Lake Ray Hubbard for incomparable views of the area. Once aloft, the sound of the boat engine fades away until the wind is the only thing you hear. The ride lasts approximately 12 minutes, and ends with a slow winch back for a standup landing on the boat.
The word “fun” just does not adequately describe the experience of silently flying above the lake with nothing but air and water beneath your feet. Its a breathtaking experience, which until now, you had to drive or fly for hours to enjoy. Now its right in our back yard.
You can find Parasailing the Harbor at the lighthouse at the end of the breakwater in the Rockwall Harbor District. On Tuesday, August 7, they will be featured on WFAA, channel 8 at 5:30 AM on News 8 Daybreak. Be sure to set your TiVo box if you cant get up that early, as you may get to see some of our city officials in flight!
View the PHOTOS in our Facebook Album.