Swirling and twirling high in the sky like a giant beach ball, Colossal Curl is on its way to being the next big thing on the water park scene. The bright blue and yellow-striped water slide is the first thing guests will see as they enter Water Country USA this summer.
Colossal Curl combines funnel and wave elements, 45-degree angles, zero gravity and waterfalls to keep riders soaked and stoked from start to finish. The much-anticipated family-style thrill slide is the first of its kind in North America. Thanks to the park’s recent Media Hard Hat Tour, I was able to find out a bit more about it, as well as spend some time on an active construction site. Let me just say, those yellow construction hats are certainly stylish!
Representatives from both Busch Gardens and Water Country USA greeted members of the media and spoke a bit about the planning stages and what went into creating the one-of-a-kind slide.
Carl Lum, park president at Busch Gardens and Water Country USA, spoke about the planning process and the research trips involved in creating a new ride. He commented that the park not only wanted to attract more guests, but wanted them to stay longer, not just at the park but the Williamsburg area as a whole. Lum went on to say that the average guest spends about three days visiting attractions such as Water Country USA, Busch Gardens and Colonial Williamsburg and bringing business to hotels, restaurants and other area businesses and attractions.
Water Country USA vice-president Jeff Thomas mentioned how the park has more than 18 great attractions that include wave pools, lazy rivers and high-speed water slides. They sat down and started thinking about what they were missing, which was a family thrill ride. Colossal Curl seats four people and can be enjoyed as a group.
“Colossal Curl is Water Country USA’s first family thrill water ride. With its funnel and wave elements, I am confident Colossal Curl will be a pinnacle attraction for guests visiting the Williamsburg area,” said Jeff Thomas, Water Country USA’s vice president.
Suzy Cheely, director of design and engineering, served as the project manager for Colossal Curl as well as several other attractions at Water Country and Busch Gardens. She spoke about the construction and design aspects of the Colossal Curl project. Some of the foundations go down 20 to 30 feet. As fiberglass and slide pieces started showing up, the slide was pre-assembled in the parking lot and then lifted into place. At this point in time, the slide is fully assembled from top to bottom. There will, of course, be several testing periods before Colossal Curl is officially open.
Take-Off on Colossal Curl
Up to four passengers in a cloverleaf-shaped raft will take off into a funnel (otherwise known as a “tantrum” in water slide lingo) element, which will swish and swirl them back and forth before sending them through the slide’s enclosed translucent tubes, which are full of fun water elements. At this point, they make their way up the face of a wave that will have them hanging ten like seasoned surfers.
Thanks to thoughtful engineering, three rafts will be able to be loaded at once, as opposed to similar rides that only load two at a time. This will cut down on line wait times, and that is always a positive thing.
Colossal Curl will fit right in with the ‘60s surfer theme of Water Country USA. May 23 is the official opening date of Colossal Curl. Water Country USA opens on Saturday, May 17.
Colossal Curl Facts
- Length of slide: 552.5 feet
- Size of funnel element: 1,400 square feet
- Height of wave element: 40 feet
- Number of riders: Four, with a minimum of two
- Weight limit per raft: 700 lbs. (riders will be weighed before riding)
- Height requirement: 48 inches
- Length of ride: 55 seconds
- Manufacturer: Proslide Technology, Ottawa, Canada
Disclaimer: The author attended the Media Hard Hat Tour as part of Busch Gardens’ Ambassador Blogger/Thrill Chaser program. All opinions are strictly those of the author.
Colossal Curl construction site
The Colossal Curl media hard hat tour recently took place. The slide is pretty much fully assembled, but it is still an active construction site. Some of the bottom steps on the platform weren't finished yet, and we had to be extra careful with the footsteps.
Colossal Curl raft
The four person cloverleaf rafts will swish riders through Colossal Curl's funnel, or "tantrum," and wave elements. The raft requires at least two riders.
Colossal Curl water slide
Water Country USA's Colossal Curl soars high above the park in bright blue and yellow stripes. It can be seen from the parking lot and is just to the left of the main gates. At the top left is the funnel, or "tantrum" in water slide lingo, that will swish riders back and forth before sending them through translucent tubes with waterfall effects.
Colossal Curl funnel element
Colossal Curl's wave element. As rafts careen out of the funnel and through the tubes, they will soar up the face of the wave and "surf" back and forth several times before coming to a stop at the bottom. A conveyor belt brings the rafts back up to the top.
Colossal Curl wave element
The view from the top platform. The platform will have an awning for shade. It is actually not too terribly high. Colossal Curl's wave element will allow riders to hang ten as they careen across the wave.
Colossal Curl at Water Country USA
The bright blue and yellow stripes make Colossal Curl visible to all guests entering the park. The brand new family thrill slide is located right at the main entrance to the park, beside the picnic area.
Colossal Curl model
A model of the brand new thrill slide Colossal Curl at Water Country USA. It even had little tiny people in it. This exciting new slide will be open on May 23, 2014.