Saturday, April 20, 2024

WhiteWater’s Interactive Slideboarding Receives Thea Award from TEA

This past Saturday, WhiteWater took the stage with some of the best known names in the attractions industry at the Themed Entertainment Association’s Thea Awards Gala to celebrate the most ground-breaking projects and innovative technologies in themed entertainment.

This is a notable achievement for WhiteWater, as it is rare for a waterpark manufacturer to be recognized with a Thea Award once, let alone twice. The first Thea Award WhiteWater received was in 2001 for Parc Asterix’ Spinning Rapids Ride named L’Oxygenarium. This time, the game-changing Slideboarding ride has distinguished the company for its pioneering technology.

WhiteWater’s formula for innovation

These recognitions can be attributed to two factors. The first is that WhiteWater’s greatest assets are the talented people who live and breathe the industry and have for decades; experts with vision and passion to bring complex projects like this to market. WhiteWater’s continuous mission is to bring together the best talent within the industry. Rick Briggs, the father of the tipping bucket, who leads the Creative Development department at WhiteWater, along with inventor Denise Weston, created this brand new sliding experience. Aaron Mendelson, the Slideboarding Product Manager, is the technical expert who was able to solve problems and create new applications to make Slideboarding a truly personalized guest experience.

The second factor that has contributed to these acknowledgements is WhiteWater’s ability to build long-term relationships with the most forward-looking parks. Launched two years ago, Slideboarding is already in over a dozen parks with notable early adopters being Wet‘n’Wild Las Vegas and Hyland Hills’ Water World in Denver.

“Slideboarding is unique. It works on every level, our guests keep coming back to pass each game level while our park collects hugely valuable operational data and marketing insights,” says Yvonne Fischbach, Executive Director, Hyland Hills Park and Recreation District.  “We’ve partnered with WhiteWater during the product development process to bring the world this market first, they have been with us every step of the way.”

Bringing innovations like Slideboarding to market has required clients who were prepared to embrace new technology while working through prototypes and testing. The reward for their patience and diligence was the chance to be the first parks to bring these new experiences to the public. Their vision has contributed to the success of Slideboarding today and their part in the development of the product has helped WhiteWater obtain the Thea.

A brand new sliding experience that has changed the industry

Slideboarding signals new directions and opportunities for waterparks in a number of ways which will change the industry:

  1. Client engagement in and outside the park via a game app, which has proven to be a huge driver of social media and traditional PR.
  2. The ride data which can make operations more efficient and give valuable insight into performance and guests. Big data is coming to our industry too.
  3. Slideboarding can be a retrofit to refresh an older slide at a fraction of the cost of installing a new one.
  4. A brand new ride vehicle, making the ride more comfortable and appealing across the whole family group, so Mom and Grandma join in some friendly family competition too.
  5. This is the first time a waterslide has been able to recognize the rider and customize the guest experience for them to make it different every time.

It is these factors which led to Slideboarding being awarded the ‘Technology’ Outstanding Achievement Thea Award at the TEA Gala (April 22nd 2017).

A new way to approach guest interaction

“Guest expectations continue to grow for what a waterslide, an amusement ride, or a museum can be—the Thea recipients demonstrate that as an industry we anticipate and respond by pushing forward and challenging ourselves to turn the huge scale of our imaginations into reality. TEA plays a central role in bringing the best and most creative of the industry together and WhiteWater is very proud to be a part of this group of innovators,” commented Geoff Chutter, WhiteWater’s President and CEO.

Chutter continued, “WhiteWater has been focused on creating the most innovative and fun guest experiences for our clients’ parks for nearly 40 years, it’s always nice and very humbling to be recognized by your peers for such work.”

Joe Kleiman
Joe Kleiman
Raised in San Diego on theme parks, zoos, and IMAX films, InPark's Senior Correspondent Joe Kleiman would expand his childhood loves into two decades as a projectionist and theater director within the giant screen industry. In addition to his work in commercial and museum operations, Joe has volunteered his time to animal husbandry at leading facilities in California and Texas and has played a leading management role for a number of performing arts companies. Joe previously served as News Editor and has remained a contributing author to InPark Magazine since 2011. HIs writing has also appeared in Sound & Communications, LF Examiner, Jim Hill Media, The Planetarian, Behind the Thrills, and MiceChat His blog, takes an unconventional look at the attractions industry. Follow on twitter @ThemesRenewed Joe lives in Sacramento, California with his wife, dog, and a ghost.

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