Aqua Sports INC. Opens Up Waterways In Wisconsin Dells

Three young men who tried to make a commercial boat rental operation and ski instruction school go in Madison, have found the waters in the Wisconsin Dells area a bit smoother for their adventure.

The three – Michael Peterson, 23; Bruce Ruedig, 24; and Curt Post, 25 – are partners in Aqua Sports, Inc.’ which will operate the waterfront activities at the Holiday Shores Campground and Resort on the Upper Dells of the Wisconsin River.

The three operated a similar business in Madison last year, but met with negative attitudes on the part of city officials and opposition from a neighborhood association in their campaign to rent and renovate the old Hoover Boathouse for their rental and instruction operation.

The hoover Boathouse is a downtown Madison landmark, located in James Madison Park.

The three partners made their decision to move their operation here early this year, after Madison park officials decided that a committee should be set up to study their proposal, with the possibility that the lease would be put out on bid should it be found that there was a need for such an operation on Madison lakes.

By this time, the group had already invested a considerable amount of time and money on the Madison proposal, including $3,000 for a market analysis and feasibility study. The group had obtained endorsements from more than two dozen Madison organizations and businesses, mostly tourist related.

“we got in 18 days from Wisconsin Dells what we couldn’t get from the city of Madison in seven month,” Peterson said. “All the permits, licenses, the final lease – everything was approved her.”

The project in the Wisconsin Dells was not without its obstacles, however. In order to provide a large, safe area for boating, skiing and instruction, Aqua Sports was forced into the stump removal business. They pull and blasted more than 20 stumps – some of them as long as 18 feet – from the bay in front of Holiday Shores. this also opened up the bay for other private boating.

They also hauled in and spread sand in the beach areas, constructed dock facilities and a pro shop. Most of the work was done by the partners, themselves, including the stump blasting, which was done by partner Michael Peterson and local explosive expert Rick Herriot.

Aqua Sports’ rental equipment, all of which is new, includes ski boats, fishing boats, paddle boats, windsurfers, sailboats, canoes, jet skis and a pontoon boat.

Their waterfront instruction school will include Red Cross training, as well as specialized instruction for beginning, intermediate and advanced skiers, and will include slalom, tricks, jumping, barefoot and show skiing, as well as para-sailing.

Instruction at the ski school will be handled by professional skiers from the Tommy Bartlett Water Ski Show. Aqua Sports is open daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and offers rental rates by the hour, half day, day and week. Holiday hours is located five miles north of the Dells, just off Hwy. 13, adjacent to the Winnebago Public Indian Museum.