LAKE GEORGE, N.Y. (NEWS10) — This summer, there will be a new way to enjoy the waters of Lake George. While surfing is usually reserved for oceans, a new method is bringing the sport lakeside.
Adirondack eFoil is a new attraction coming to the east side of the lake in 2022. The word “eFoil” is a term used to refer to electric-power surfboards, that use an underwater wing to give the rider a lift over whatever body of water they splash down in. It’s a new sport to Lake George, and soon, you can learn how to take it up yourself.
Adirondack eFoil was approved by the Lake George Park Commission back in November. The company is planning to set up shop up the lake, a ways from the village itself. It will operate in Harris Bay, off the southern side of the hamlet of Cleverdale.
“For us, it was more of an action of, ‘Where can these things operate on Lake George?'” Said commission Executive Director David Wick on Monday. “The commissioners took a look at it and said, ‘Is this going to be impactful upon the local residents or causing public safety challenges?'”
A long parcel of land at 52 Boathouse Road in Cleverdale will become the home of Adirondack eFoil, in an agreement between owner and operator Aiden Switzer and property owner Ted Arnstein. Matching the size of the small lake peninsula, a single employee will staff the site, teaching just two or three customers at a time. Lessons are already posted online, priced at $250 for one person, $400 for two, or a $175 option for return customers looking to skip the beginner stuff and get out on the water.
The upper end of Harris Bay is located just outside the 5 mph speed limit zone for boats on the lake, which extends south to the village. The bay is home to Harris Bay Yacht Club, which operates 271 boat slips. Cleverdale residents have voiced concerns with the potential for congestion or accidents in the bay, with the addition of the new business. That’s why Adirondack eFoil’s debut year is coming in the form of a 1-year pilot program, to see how safe it is in action.
“There is a concern that if these craft operate too closely to shore, they could have some impact on swimmers. If they operate too far out, these are new purveyors of the craft, and they may be falling off the craft 100 feet from shore,” Wick said. “Those are some things that the commissioners had some discussion on and some concerns with, but it didn’t rise to the level of concern that they would be willing to deny the application.”
After being approved, the project was approved for a second time last Tuesday, Jan. 25. The park commission was presented with a packet of information that included area maps, property and water surveys, and half a dozen letters from some concerned residents.
“That section of the lake is already a congestion point for boats coming and going from the two current marinas,” write Joan Smith, owner of two properties in Cleverdale. “Adding another commercial marina would only increase congestion and create more of a safety issue to boaters, swimmers, and electric surfboarders. It would also create heavier auto traffic on Boathouse Road, endangering the many people who walk on that road.”
That said, those issues could be much worse if the program was operating further south. The village of Lake George is the lake’s highest congestion point for boat and swimming traffic during the summer, between Million Dollar Beach and other beaches, boat launches around the village, and the vessels of the Lake George Steamboat Company.
The process leading up to the pilot took a while because, as for Lake George, so everywhere: eFoil surfboards are pretty new. They didn’t exist when the Lake George Park Commission was founded in the 1980s, meaning that commissioners had to study how other communities, and state law, handle the new element on the water.
Adirondack eFoil is being created by Devil Ray Water Sports. Instructors are trained and approved to teach by the eFoil Association. There is no opening day listed, as Lake George will have to thaw and warm up first, but lessons can be booked online.