- Parks Marina
- 24457 178th Street - Okoboji
- Iowa 51355 - United States
The Iowa Great Lakes has always been popular with those who love water sports. These are wonderful lakes for water-skiing, windsurfing and boating. The latest activity to venture onto the scene lets you see West Lake Okoboji from a different point of view‹from the air. It's parasailing at Extreme Watersports, and it's now available on the waterfront at Arnolds Park Amusement Park.
Sailing has been a tradition at the Iowa Great Lakes for many years, and the Okoboji Yacht Club (OYC) is one of the reasons why the sport has endured. The OYC conducts races on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays, and organizes several regattas throughout the season. Instruction is also available. Don't miss the beautiful and exciting C Scow National Championship Regatta held June 19th to 21st. Youngsters ages 5 to 15 get their turn for sailing competition at the No Tears Regatta on July 27th.
Take in the breathtaking view of the lakes area on horseback. The folks at Camp Foster YMCA will saddle up a steed perfect for each member of your group.
Explore the area lakes, rivers and streams in a canoe or kayak from Recreational Outfitters. Rent or buy an Old Town canoe or kayak, or experience a guided nature tour. Try a new sport by taking a sculling lesson with a USRA Level 1 rowing coach. Boats and acces-sories are available at the Old Town Hall in Arnolds Park.
Ride the waves, wind and snow on Polaris personal watercraft, ATV's and snowmobiles, all available at Wymer Motors, Auto and Sports Center, in Spirit Lake. Wymer's is also the exclusive area dealer for the all new Victory motor-cycles. Outfit yourself in colorful and warm Polaris sportswear so you can keep having fun, no matter what the weather. Wymer's is west of downtown Spirit Lake and across Hwy. 71 from Outdoor Technologies Group.
One of nature's perfect gifts is good, clear water from Okoboji to quench your thirst. Now you can get Okoboji Pure water in conveniently sized plastic bottles. Okoboji Pure makes a perfect souvenir. Available at stores around the lakes area.
When one thinks of Iowa, regatta sailing seldom comes to mind. And yet, the steady winds and beautiful water of West Okoboji and Spirit Lake have been providing the setting for competitive sailing for more than 100 years.
Sailing predates the steamboat era as a means of transportation around the Iowa Great Lakes. Folks would arrive by horse or train, then passenger sailboats often delivered them to their destination, such as one of the many fine inns of the era. Of course, the fastest sailboat around the lakes usually got the most business.
The competition has changed over the years. The heavy, bulky passenger boats have given way to the light and fast 'scow' type sailboats which still dominate the majority of lake sailing fleets. The scow is a flat bottom sailboat which ranges in size from 16 to 38 feet in length. The smaller boats (MC) can be sailed single-handed, while the largest scow takes a crew of seven. The scow is now a very high-tech sailboat, but is still raced by amateurs who enjoy the friendly rivalries.
Each year the Okoboji Yacht Club (O.Y.C.) sponsors weekly club races and also hosts a major regatta. The sailing proves to be one of the most colorful spectator events in the lakes region. The O.Y.C. was formed in 1933 and started the regatta tradition soon after.
The Inland Lakes Yachting Association championship has been hosted by the O.Y.C. three times in the last 11 years. This event draws some of the best sailors in the world, including Olympic medal winners, world champions and America's Cup participants.
In 1997, the Inter Lakes regatta came to Okoboji with 127 boats, six different classes and eight yacht clubs from three states. The Inter Lakes is a Midwestern regatta and is unique because of its team-oriented approach with lakes competing against other lakes. Children under 16 years of age compete in the X class and adults mix it up in the M, MC, C, J-18 and E classes.
Okoboji sailors fared well with the M class team taking first, the E team second and the C team third. One of the O.Y.C.'s greatest sailors is Jerry Huse, a life-long summer resident from Norfolk, Nebraska. At 70 years of age and in his 55th consecutive year racing a C scow, Huse put together a great regatta and finished 4th overall in a field of 41 boats.
The tradition continues during the summer of 1998 when Okoboji hosts the C National regatta. With more than 60 boats on a single starting line this will be an event not to miss. See you on the water!