If you’re looking to spend a day on Lake Anna this summer, there are a couple of new businesses on the Boardwalk at Lake Anna that can help provide water activities for you and your family.
Mid-Atlantic Water Sports is a pro shop that offers a variety of watersport vehicles and equipment from boats to jet skis to wake boards to fishing gear. Their motto, according to manager Steve Harler, is “to bring the lake together.”
“There’s lots of different types of people in the lake community that keep to themselves,” he said. “Fishermen don’t talk to wakeboarders, wakeboarders don’t really talk to jetskiers ... Our goal is to bring them together whatever [their] love of the lake is.”
Plans for a grand opening event for the store were put on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic and the resulting stay-at-home order. A virtual opening was held through Facebook on April 28, which sparked an “outpouring of support,” according to sales manager Steve O’Britts. Harler says that they are planning to have a formal grand opening event as soon as the stay-at-home order and ban on gatherings of more than 10 people are lifted.
The shop sells boats, including Lund, Centurion and Supreme brand watercraft, and equipment for a wide variety of water sports. They also have a service department to repair and maintain boats and other equipment located on Jefferson Highway in Louisa. The department is run by Austin Newsom, who Harler describes as the “secret sauce” of their operation.
“He’s just an incredible, passionate service person,” he said. “He just cares. He just wants to see people out on the water and enjoying themselves. That’s something I feel like our lake has been missing for a while, that passion in the service world for boats.”
Newsom can also do remote inspections and repairs, going to people’s homes to work on their boats without them having to take them to the shop.
In addition to boat sales and service, Mid-Atlantic Water Sports also offers rentals for people who just want to come spend a day or two on the lake. Currently their fleet is small, consisting of four boats and two jet skis, but Harler hopes that, once stay-at-home order is lifted and the weather gets warmer, he’ll be able to expand.
One of the store’s most popular items has been ZUP boards, which are all-in-one boards which can be used by people of all skill levels for a variety of watersports. Currently, Mid-Atlantic Water Sports has sold out of their inventory.
“People are buying them for their kids, which really shows how water-sports neurtral the lake has become,” Harler said.
The second business providing water-based activities for people to enjoy on Lake Anna is LKA Watersports, owned by Duane and Susan Adams. Their operation is considerably more focused than Mid-Atlantic Water Sports, offering boat and jet ski rentals exclusively. Their fleet currently consists of three pontoon boats and 10 Ski Doo 130 jet skis for rent.
“We don’t want to be all things to all people,” Duane said. “We want to do a couple of things and do them exceptionally well.”
One of their biggest priorities is safety. They require any potential customers to complete safety certifications to operate their boats and/or jet skis and set a minimum operating age at 21.
“We want people to have fun, but we want everyone to be safe,” he explained.
Reminders about the certification requirements are featured prominently on the business’s website, just to make sure people remember to do it.
“Lake Anna is a fun place to be, but you have to be very respectful of it and careful with it,” Duane said. “The more you bring it to people’s attention, the more it stays on the front of their minds.”
Because a certification is required beforehand, they prefer that potential customers reserve equipment in advance to have time to complete the certification if they need to and to ensure that the jet skis and boats are available.
With both businesses located at the boardwalk, it provides a central location to enjoy a day on the lake and a meal, the combination of which puts both businesses a good place for families on vacation to spend a day.
“We want to see people enjoy the lake, come here and enjoy a local business and just have a good time,” Duane said.