The 41st WWA Annual Symposium & Trade Show, held October 19-22, 2021 in San Antonio, Texas, welcomed close to 1,400 owners, operators, developers and suppliers who spent quality time together learning and checked out new products and services. Within this number were more than 325 first-time show attendees, many of whom were coming off their first or second season working in a waterpark environment.
“There’s nothing like the energy that is generated when our group meets up at our annual show, but it was even more powerful to see everyone face to face again — in workshops and sessions, on the show floor and at the Annual Reunion Party,’” said Rick Root, WWA President. “We saw a strong turnout from both park and supplier attendees who were looking to reconnect with each other in meaningful ways throughout the whole show experience.”
WWA’s Education Program Reenergizes Attendees For 2022
The WWA Show offers educational events and this year’s program allowed attendees to listen to more than 120 speakers share their latest best practices on the things that matter most, including: operational safety, hiring and recruitment, maintenance, revenue generation and much more.
Other timely topics covered at this year’s show include: restarting your group sales plan, building an effective lifeguard team, emergency preparedness and response planning, addressing guest behavioral issues and hiring new team members.
“This show was a great opportunity to learn from other parks about the struggles they had with employee hiring and reduction in hours and operating days in 2021,” said Bob Martin, General Manager, Island Waterpark. “Hearing them speak about what plans they are making for the 2022 season if staffing issues continue was so important. This issue is our biggest concern for the upcoming season and attending the show presented our park with new options.”
This year’s Best Speaker award went to Ashley Wolfe, ALIVE Solutions Inc.
Keynote Speaker Shared Inspiring “Stories In Leadership”
In addition to the wide variety of breakout sessions and workshops, this year’s WWA show offered attendees the chance to hear “Stories In Leaderships,” shared by Mark Rucker, a 30+ year industry veteran who has spent decades leading some of the world’s top leisure brands, including Walt Disney Parks and Resorts and Great Wolf Resorts.
Rucker shared both difficult and rewarding stories that span from his early career to those during his time as an executive. He covered a wide range of key topics and leadership imperatives throughout his engaging address.
“Leadership isn’t a title or position. It’s the demonstration of key attributes at a specific time regardless of title or position,” said Rucker. “And for people with the title or position of leadership, it’s the demonstration of key attributes over a period-of-time that defines them as a true leader.”
WWA Exhibit Hall Displays Hundreds Of Waterpark Products
The 2021 WWA Trade Show featured 100,000-square-feet of exhibit space with more than 200 companies showcasing new products and services in more than 315 booths.
The following companies were awarded for their creative and impactful exhibits at the show:
- Best One-Booth Category: Life Floor, Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.A.
- Best Two-Booth Category: Sub Sea Systems, Diamond Springs, California, U.S.A.
- Best Four-Booth Category: Daldorado, Naples, Florida, U.S.A.
- Best Large Booth Category: Jandy, Carlsbad, California, U.S.A.
- Best of Show: ProSlide Technology, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
WWA Board Presents Industry Awards & the 2021 Hall of Fame Inductees
An annual highlight of the WWA Show is the recognition of industry leaders, innovators and pioneers by WWA’s Board of Directors, with the ceremony being held during the Opening General Session on October 20, 2021. Each year the Board recognizes member contributions in a variety of areas significant to the industry’s success such as: dedication to guest and employee safety; excellence in leadership; innovation and creativity in designing new themes and attractions.
“Having this opportunity to shine a light on individuals and companies that are making a difference each and every day is a privilege that we take seriously as members of the WWA Board,” said Damien Latham, Chair of the WWA’s Board of Directors. “There was so much amazing innovative work to recognize that we had a record number of Leading Edge Awards in 2021 with nine projects honored!”
WWA Hall of Fame:
This year, the WWA inducted two new individuals into the WWA Hall of Fame and celebrated two inductees selected in 2020. The Hall of Fame honors the water leisure industry’s most important and visionary pioneers and innovators. This year’s honorees were:
- Jim Basala, Deep River Waterpark (2020)
- Richard “RAC” Carroll, Ellis & Associates (2021)
- Jim Dunn, Aquatic Development Group (2020)
- Randy Neuman, Neuman Pools Inc & Neuman Group (2021)
Board of Directors’ Awards:
The WWA Board of Directors recognized the exceptional accomplishments of 36 recipients in 2021 including:
Al Turner Memorial Commitment to Excellence Award: Tina Hatcher, 3i Advertising, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, U.S.A.
Executive Board Award: Wet’n’Wild Hawaii for their Solar Panel Installation, Kapolei, Hawaii, U.S.A.
Kelly Ogle Memorial Safety Award: Bob Bradley, Aquatic Consulting & Educational Services, LLC, Raleigh, North Carolina, U.S.A.
Leading Edge Award:
- Atlantis – Aquaventure and Murphys Waves Ltd, ProSlide Technology Inc, Riverflow Pumps by Current Systems and Water Technology, Inc. for their work on the Aquaventure Waterpark expansion
- The City of Garden City, Kansas and Confluence, Splashtacular and Water Technology, Inc. for their work on Garden Rapids at the Big Pool
- Europa-Park GmbH & Co Mack KG, Mack NeXT GmbH & Co KG, Mack Solutions, PGAV Destinations, ProSlide Technology Inc and Rulantica GmbH & Co Mack KG for their work on the Rulantica Waterpark outdoor expansion
- Polin Waterparks for their development of UTEXTURE technology
- Six Flags Hurricane Harbor Chicago and Ramaker & Associates and WhiteWater for their work on “Tsunami Surge”
- Studio City Water Park and Water Technology, Inc. and WhiteWater for their work on Studio City Water Park
- Tolomato Community Development District-Nocatee and WET Engineering, Inc. and WhiteWater for their work on “Parallel Pursuit”
- Triple Five Group and American Wave Machines, ProSlide Technology Inc, Water Technology, Inc. / Neuman Group and Weber Group for their work on DreamWorks Water Park
- VinWonders Phu Quoc and Polin Waterparks for their work on Typhoon World at VinWonders Phu Quoc.
Also celebrated during the Opening General Session was this year’s recipient of the Chris Stuart Emerging Leaders Scholarship program.
The WWA launched the Chris Stuart Emerging Leaders Scholarship program nine years ago to give individuals who were in the beginning of their water leisure careers the opportunity to attend the WWA show. This year’s recipient was Lindsay Hope with Ocean City Waterpark, Ocean City, New Jersey, U.S.A.
#WWAShow42 Goes Back To Vegas!
The World Waterpark Association’s 42th annual show will take attendees back to the “entertainment capital of the world,” Las Vegas, Nevada. Next year’s show is set for October 4-7, 2022, with the trade show occurring on October 5 & 6.
The show will be headquartered at Caesars Forum Conference Center and Harrah’s Las Vegas, both of which are centrally located in the heart of the Las Vegas Strip. Attendees will be steps away from The LINQ Promenade, an open-air retail, dining and entertainment district, anchored by the world’s tallest observation wheel, known as the High Roller.