Since the advent of water parks in the 1970's, new innovations in waterslide design and technology have come each year. As the industry has matured, water park operators have tried to introduce new attractions to keep the crowds coming back summer after summer.
|In 2011 a new player in the waterslide design and manufacturing business came to North America as the Turkish company Polin introduced their products at IAAPA, the most striking of which was the King Cobra design. The King Cobra in essence was a simple, small, dual-lane slide which offered a unique look with a striking snake design. The shape of a cobra lent itself to the shape of a waterslide, with the long tubes forming the body and the outspread hood forming the run out area.
|Click the image to view:
A promo video from
ride manufacturer Polin
|<-- Click the image to view:
A promo video from
Six Flags Great Adventure
|For the 2012 season,
Six Flags Hurricane Harbor announced a new attraction which was
originally slated to be an enhancement of the existing Falls body slide
complex. The slides were going to be fitted with "drop boxes", adding a
new thrill with riders having the floor drop out beneath them as they
plunged toward the ground. After the announcement was made, a sudden
change of plans occurred and a new announcement was made that instead an
entirely new slide was being added.
On February 13, 2012 the new King Cobra water slide was announced, bringing the first of its kind Polin waterslide to North America. The late change in plans meant that the construction would begin late and the slide would be open mid summer.
|In May of 2012 the
parts for the King Cobra started arriving on site as construction began.
Site preparation on part of the beach volleyball court area was in full
swing with the excavation for footings and setting of the concrete
forms. Construction continued as Hurricane Harbor opened for the season.
|With the footings in place, assembly of the waterslide pieces began. The hundreds of fiberglass panels had to be fastened together as well as the steel support columns.
The steel support structure went vertical in early June, with the columns painted to look like green bamboo being assembled quickly. All of the fiberglass sections of the slide were laid out in order so they could quickly be assembled once the support structure was complete.
|The unique dual tube
design came together section by section as the massive snake took shape.
As the slide came together the structure below was completed along with
the stair tower.
|The staircase was assembled piece by piece with the leaf design decorative panels being fastened to the supports. The crews building the stairs moved up and up as the slide sections continued assembly towards the top of the tower.
|With the slide itself nearing completion, work began on the area at the base of the structure. The exit stairs were assembled and the concrete walkways to and from the ride were poured. The rides water pumps were installed and a decorative structure was built around them, built in the same tropical style as the rest of the Hurricane Harbor buildings.
|The final touches came as the rope and pole queue area was constructed and the final slide parts were placed.
|The final step before the slide was ready to open was adding landscaping around it. Things were nearly complete and ride testing was ready to commence.
|When the ride was completed and testing began a snag came up as the rides design standards were found to be inadequate for the two-person tubes. While there was never any danger, this meant that only single rider tubes would be allowed, reducing capacity.
|The media event for King Cobra came on July 24th as the ride was finally ready to make its public debut. As usual, the parks menagerie of animals was a part of the event, with a couple of the parks snakes making appearances (along with their handlers) in the crowd. The ride's opening was sponsored by Kia Motors, and two of the company's vehicles were featured alongside the stage for the opening ceremony.
|As the first of its kind in North America, King Cobra made a visual splash. The snake form really was a perfect fit for a waterslide. The cobra's head and hood looked quite intimidating from the ground and even more so from the top of the slide. The snakes fangs spraying water down the run out area further enhanced the snake theme.
|The King Cobra slide offered the most unique theme experience in Hurricane Harbor, with all of the ride components painted to match the tropical theme. Even the tubes used for the ride featured the snake scale pattern of the fiberglass slide panels. Even the bases of the support columns had fiberglass shrouds which were designed to hide the bolts, though they sat at the base of the ride uninstalled throughout the 2012 season.
|Despite the growing pains of the
new King Cobra slide the ride was a hit with park guests. The King Cobra
will continue to be a unique feature of Hurricane Harbor and delight
guests on hot summer days.