NORTH MYRTLE BEACH — Going inland doesn’t have to mean the vacation is over.
Accessible via Highways 17, 31 and 90, the new North Myrtle Beach Park and Sports Complex is planning to add more water sports activities on the 25-acre lake that is part of the complex, which debuted earlier this year.
Since June, Jetpack Adventures has been operating as the first of what is planned as several businesses on the lake.
Cliff Wingerter, the owner of Jetpack Adventures, says his company will soon offer kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding.
“That’s two and we should know more (about the other businesses) within the month,” said Pat Dowling, spokesman for the city of North Myrtle Beach, which operates the sports complex. He declined to give details on what other recreation is in the works for the lake.
“We’re trying to pull businesses that will offer a ‘calm water’ experience –although Jetpack Adventures isn’t really one of those,” Dowling said, adding that he hadn’t yet given the Jetpack ride a whirl and wasn’t sure when –or if -- he would.
Since its debut, most of the focus on the sports complex has been on the park and the fields -- which already have hosted a number of tournaments and events including the International Quidditch World Cup. The $15 million complex has six baseball and softball fields, eight batting cages, an amphitheater, six picnic shelters, three playgrounds, a 10 acre-meadow, walking trails and dog parks.
“We understand that not everyone loves the ocean,” Dowling said, explaining the vision for the 162-acre complex. “We’re open to new ideas.”
The Jetpack-flyboarding craze -- where riders are propelled by a jetpack into the air over the water -- arrived on the Grand Strand last year, with several such businesses now operating here.
“It’s more fun than Jet Skiing,” Wingerter said.
At the North Myrtle Beach park, water pressure propels riders –who must be at least 16 years old— up to 30 feet in the air, and it’s possible to fly, turn, hover or walk on the water.
A jetpack adventure combines a 265 horse powered Seadoo engine with displaced air and 1,000 gallons of water per minute.
Together, riders are sent into the air via two streams of water from both sides of the jetpack –all while strapped into a 5 point harness –the same as NASCAR —and a safety vest.
As for what’s in the future at the sports complex, Dowling said negotiations with potential operators for water sports or recreation continue and details likely will be announced soon.
“Summer is almost in full swing and July is right around the corner,” he said.