ABOVE: ADG’s TwinTides pool at the H2OBX waterpark provides two entry points into the wave pool for increased capacity Photo courtesy ADG
Today, the waterpark industry has new, exciting and innovative alternatives to the waterslide to help bring guests in and keep them coming back. Advances in sheet wave technology, wave pool geometry, propulsion technology and other areas have enabled our team at Aquatic Development Group to introduce new options for re-energizing standard offerings such as wave pools and lazy rivers, and creating new, wave-based attractions that help get more people – of all ages and skill levels – off the lines and into the water.
This evolution has the potential to provide operators with significantly increased rider throughput and capacity in similar footprints to slide complexes. These new types of rides represent the kind of investment that can increase length of stay and per cap spending, by helping to make a waterpark into more of a full-on leisure destination.
Over the past decade, sheet wave technology has been enthusiastically adopted within the waterpark industry. This technology offers a thrilling, real-world surfing experience that can be provided to guests anywhere in the world, allowing riders to enjoy the challenge of body boarding and surfing with no ocean required! A skillbased, surf rider attraction such as ADG’s FlowRider® provides a platform for guests to learn the basics, then return time and again to hone their skills and compete, building park loyalty and repeat visitation.
ADG and FlowRider recently introduced a new option, the LatiTube™, that provides a gentler, easier platform for first-time wanna-be surfers, and non-surfers – including absolute beginners as well as those who simply want the thrills without having to develop the skills.
The LatiTube™ allows for the wave angle and speed to be manually controlled and fine-tuned in order to match the rider’s skill. With minimal instruction, guests of all ages can start anywhere from a lying-down to standing position 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 whatever their actual level of surfing ability.
ADG created and recently introduced another twist in the surfing arena – a Boogie Boarding surf ride, dubbed Breaker Beach®. With large, repeatable, precisely timed, breaking waves this attraction allows guests to launch and ride a boogie board the entire length of the pool, similar to the experience of catching waves out in the ocean and riding them in to shore. This is a skill-based attraction that supplies a different experience each time the guest rides it. Guests can ride repeatedly to perfect their skills. The industry saw the first of this type of ride installed at Water World just outside of Denver, CO in 2016. Water World adopted the ride as an opportunity to differentiate their waterpark from the competition, and, at the same time, revitalize an existing, traditional wave pool that was being under-utilized.
“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, Cowabunga Beach’s Communications Director.
A unique, peninsula-style dispatching port means multiple riders can launch at the same time, doubling throughput and lessening time spent on-line. The timing and pacing of the waves allows for multiple people to be in the water at the same time, making this a sharable ride experience with increased overall capacity. The surrounding deck space, a suitable compliment to this type of pool-based water ride, easily expands overall park capacity, generating incidental revenue from cabana sales and food-and-beverage (F&B).
Recent advancements in wave pool geometry and wave technology have led to ground-breaking twists on the shape, size and usage of the traditional wave pool. ADG’s new Dual Beach/Dual Entry Wave Pools are as unique in appearance as they are to experience. The shallower design and customized wave flow pattern allow guests of all ages to use the entire pool, traversing one end to the other. This effectively doubles the capacity over that of a traditional wave pool, with no “dead space,” resulting in twice the usable area. And with the capability to be designed into a smaller footprint, this attraction is a good option for parks where space is at a premium.
“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 Tides® wave pool opened in summer 2017 at the new H2OBX waterpark in the Outer Banks region of North Carolina. “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 CoOwner of H2OBX. Additional Twin Tides pools are also in the works for 2019 and 2020 openings.
With the latest wave and propulsion technology, the lazy river is lazy no more. With increased speed, exciting wave action, waterfalls, creative theming and grottos, action rivers are taking center stage and transforming the typical river ride experience into a fast, fun and thrilling attraction that will motivate guests to ride again.
Adding to the uniqueness and fun of the river itself we are starting to see more and more uniquely designed ports of entry and exit – features that utilize a river’s wave action to create a wave pool, virtually eliminating the need for any lines. ADG’s Tidal River® ride is one such example of innovative wave geometry that utilizes one system to create two experiences within the same attraction.
The first Tidal River ride by ADG debuted recently as part of a summer “sneak peek” day for friends and family, this past season at Canobie Lake Park (NH). The focal point of their new waterpark expansion, the Tidal River was a tremendous success, creating not only an exciting ride option, but an entire destination setting.
“Canobie Lake Park’s Tidal River has been a passion project for our staff,” said Chris Nicoli, Brand Manager of Canobie Lake Park. “ADG’s vision of how the Tidal River ride and Castaway Island expansion would come together was second to none. We couldn’t be happier with our new ride and can’t wait for our guests to experience it.”
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 the next generation of waterpark guests. Incorporating wave action alongside the traditional spray-and-play components and creative theming, these mini wave attractions are designed specifically with the youngest guests in mind.
Not to be forgotten, however, are the accompanying adults. ADG’s Mini Harbour® takes things a step forward with extras such as side walls with built-in seating areas that extend throughout the length of the attraction. This provides an easy and comfortable setting for being near the children at multiple points thoughout the attraction, encouraging families to stay and play longer, with great potential to enhance the overall experience and time spent on premises. Current examples of this ride – with each installation featuring its own unique twist to fit the operator’s specific needs – can be found at H2OBX Waterpark, Water World, and Holiday World.
As parks look to the future, the question they must continually ask and answer is, “What type of attraction will generate crowd appeal and continue to bring in a new generation of guests to my park?”
We believe the answer has gone far beyond dropping in a traditional slide complex. Park owners must address the growing desire of consumers who place a priority on the overall park experience alongside the latest thrill ride. Water attractions in the future will need to effectively offer a solution to both of these concerns, providing not only the thrill factor while in the water, but creating a setting for optimal guest experience beyond the borders of the ride. When packaged together these integrated attractions can generate strong market appeal and set a park apart from its competition.
As we examine this new trend 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 be enhanced to stand as a cohesive destination in its own right. By integrating and building out the ride with features such as ample deck space, shade areas, landscaping and rental cabanas, the park encourages guests to spend more time on the property, with greater per-cap spend.
This kind of integrated development approach means that 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 waterpark – their thrill factor cannot be denied – wave-based rides create the perfect complement and offer virtually no wait, so guests enjoy more time in the water or relaxing nearby with food and drinks, rather than standing in a line. The park does much more than purchase another ride, but rather invests in a family-friendly oasis and themed experience. • • •
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