An evolution is occurring in the industry, and as evidenced in the growing variety of new water ride attractions appearing throughout the market, it is making park owners think twice before they revert to the old “add-a-slide” mentality when it comes time to increase their offerings or update their property.
Thanks to recent developments in wave system configurations and technologies, new wave-based attractions – water rides created to get people off lines and into the water – are being designed with several objectives in mind: Create a point of differentiation; Enhance overall guest experience; and Significantly increase rider throughput and capacity. And deliver it all in a similar footprint to that of a slide complex.
EVOLUTION in SURF WAVE APPLICATIONS
Over the past decade, sheet wave technology has taken the waterpark industry by storm with skill-based surfing simulators like the FlowRider® that allow parks to bring a real-world surfing experience to guests anywhere in the world. Now another new option has come to market that provides a gentler, easier platform for first time “wanna-be” surfer who wants the thrill of the ride, without having to put in the time to develop the skill.
A radical new design innovation from FlowRider® and Aquatic Development Group (ADG), known as the The LatiTubeTM, allows for the wave angle and speed to be manually controlled and fine-tuned in order to perfectly match the rider’s ability. With minimal instruction guests of all ages start on a low, gentle wave that gradually increases in size and shape until the rider is fully ensconced in a “tube”, allowing them to experience the thrill of ocean surfing without having to put in the work.
BOOGIE BOARDING TAKES CENTER STAGE
Another twist in the surfing arena is the introduction of the first Boogie Boarding Surf Ride, dubbed Breaker Beach. Developed by ADG, these perfectly sized and timed breaking waves allow guests to launch two-at-a-time from a unique center peninsula and ride a boogie board the entire length of the pool, similar to catching waves out in the ocean and riding them onto shore. As a skill based attraction, each ride offers a different experience as guests can ride again and again to improve their technique.
Winning the Leading Edge award for innovation, the industry saw the first Boogie Boarding ride installed in 2016 at Water World just outside of Denver, CO. “Having a boogie boarding beach in a land-locked state has brought a unique experience to our guests, and they are loving it!” says Joann Cortez, of Water World.
The Next Generation in Wave Pools
Recent advancements in wave pool geometry have led to ground-breaking twists on the shape, size and usage of the traditional wave pool. New Dual Beach/Dual Entry Wave Pools are as unique looking as they are to experience, with a shallow depth and diamond wave pattern that allows guests to use the entire pool, traversing all the way from one end to the other. And with no “dead space”, twice the usable area, and twice the beach, capacity is virtually double that of a traditional wave pool.
“Guest Response to our Twin Tides wave pool is astronomical,” says David Allacher, Aquatic Supervisor for Splash Cove in Shawnee, KS who built the first Twin Tides wave pool in North America designed by ADG. “They love this wave pool! They walk-in, see the waves rolling and they are ready to go!”
A second Twin TidesTM wave pool opened this summer at the new H2OBX water park in NC. “We chose this wave pool because of its uniqueness and marketability, as well as its ability to deliver us much more capacity in less space than the traditional wave pool,” says Ken Ellis, Developer and Co-Owner of H2OBX.
Lazy River No More
Utilizing the latest in wave and propulsion technology, action rivers are taking center stage and transforming the typical river ride experience into a fast, fun and thrilling attraction that will keep guests riding over and over again. Combine this with advanced theming and branded elements, and your typical park river just turned into an adventure.
Then take it up another notch! Adding to the uniqueness and fun of the river itself, are the addition of uniquely designed ports of entry and exit that utilize the river’s wave action to create a wave pool, virtually eliminating the need for any lines. ADG’s Tidal RiverTM ride is one such example of innovative wave geometry that utilizes one wave system to create two experiences within the same attraction. This immersion of the idea that the “line is the ride,” enables guests to be immediately drawn into the ride experience with no negative down time.
Toddler SIZED WAVES Take Center Stage.
Even the youngest guests can now enjoy their own wave powered water ride. Mini wave pools, specifically designed for toddlers and the younger crowd, provide a fun yet gentle wave experience for our next generation of waterpark guests. Incorporating wave action alongside the traditional spray-and-play components, these mini wave attractions cater to the specific desires of our youngest guests.
Not to be forgotten, however, is the accompanying adults. The most forward thinking of these types of attractions, such as the Mini HarbourTM by ADG, take it a step forward and include extras such as side walls with built-in seating areas that extend throughout the length of the attraction. Not only does this provide easier accessibility to children at multiple points though out the attraction, the more comfortable setting encourages families to stay and play longer, thereby enhancing the overall experience and time on premise.
INNOVATION & THE PARK EXPERIENCE
As we examine these new trends in wave-based water ride attractions, one critical component that they all have in common comes to the forefront. Each of these water rides can easily be expanded to create a complete destination experience for guests, easily augmented with ample deck space, shade areas, landscaping and rental cabanas, providing park owners the ability to create a family friendly oasis that lends to increased time on property and greater per-cap spend.
Unlike the area you get surrounding the base of a slide complex, these new water rides become home-base destination areas for families to comfortably spend their “day at the park”. And while slides are an essential component of any water park – their thrill factor cannot be denied – wave based water rides create the perfect complement and offer virtually no wait, so guests enjoy more time in the water, or relaxing by it with food and drinks. Something they can’t do while waiting on a slide line.
Jessica Mahoney is the Marketing Manager for Aquatic Development Group. For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.aquaticgroup.com.