Innovative technology produces a new wave of water ride attractions
by Jessica Mahoney, ADG
ABOVE: Cowabunga Beach at Water World
The continued evolution of the waterpark industry includes a growing variety of new water ride attractions. Park owners today have many alternatives to the traditional “add a slide” approach when it comes time to increase their offerings or update their property.
Thanks to recent developments in wave system configurations and technologies, ADG offers several new wave-based attractions – water rides created to get people off lines and into the water. These attractions are designed with several objectives in mind: Create a point of differentiation; enhance overall guest experience; significantly increase rider throughput and capacity. And, finally, deliver it all in a similar footprint to that of a slide complex.
New surf wave options
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 an even more dramatic guest experience. The WaveOz® from ADG and the makers of FlowRider, is a unique 180-degree surf experience. With a fully inflatable surface, it is soft and easy on riders and provides the ultimate surf experience with no ocean required. Parks can choose to operate the ride with dividers for maximum capacity that allows for multiple riders at a time, or run it as a full 180 for exhibitions and skills clinics.
New boogie boarding twist
Another twist in the surfing arena is the introduction of the first Boogie Boarding Surf Ride, dubbed Breaker Beach™. Developed by ADG, these ideally 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.
Breaker Beach has been honored with the World Waterpark Association (WWA) Leading Edge Award for Innovation, and 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.
Next generation of wave pools
Recent advancements in wave pool geometry have led to groundbreaking twists on the shape, size and usage of the traditional wave pool. New Dual Beach/Dual Entry Wave Pools from ADG are as novel to look at as they are to experience, with a shallow depth and diamond wave pattern that allow 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 Tides wave pool opened this summer at the new H2OBX water park in 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 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.
The river can be expanded into a multifaceted attraction. 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 River™ ride is one such example of innovative wave geometry that utilizes one wave system to create two experiences within the same attraction. This example of the “line is the ride” concept enables guests to be immediately drawn into the ride experience with no negative downtime.
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 our youngest guests.
Not to be forgotten, however, are the accompanying adults. Attractions such as the Mini Harbour™ by ADG 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 thoughout the attraction, the more comfortable setting encourages families to stay and play longer, thereby enhancing the overall experience and time on premises.
Innovation and the park experience
These new trends in wave-based water ride attractions all share one critical component – the capacity to expand. Each of these water rides is designed to facilitate future expansion into a complete destination experience for guests, easily augmented with ample deck space, shade areas, landscaping and rental cabanas. That’s something quite different than the area left over around the base of a slide complex – rather, it’s a family-friendly oasis that promotes longer guest stays and greater per-cap spend.
These new water rides have the potential to 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 the water with food and drink – something they can’t do while waiting in a slide line. • • •