Wow! You kids are bringing back old memories of Action Park....aka Traction Park!
Well, the looping waterslide is VERY REAL! The reason I know this is because I rode it several times! I used to live right down the street on Rt. 565 in Vernon. I worked there for years. The last couple of Summers were spent working on the Bungee Tower and the original Sling Shots (using huge Bungee cords!) I believe that in the Summer of 92 or 93, the looping slide opened for maybe about 7 days. (Not in a row, just a day here and there) At Action Park, I seemed to be the Guinea Pig....I would sign up to do anything. So as soon as I found out that they were going to open the looping slide, I took an extra long break and ran down the boardwalk and over to the slide.
The following is the story of the looping waterslide and me! So you walk across the grass, since there was no walkway over to the slide, and completely strip down. The rules were basically you must wear the most basic pair of shorts....and nothing else.....no shorts with metal rivets, no zippers, no bikini's, no sweatpant shorts (yes, it was the early 90's), no cut offs....just plain ole bathing suits! No jewelry of any kind! After you completely stripped down, you stepped on the scale (no digital, just a scale you found at the nurses office in elementary school). I believe you had to weigh over 125 and less then 180 or 200. But dont quote me on the weight limits.
After you got the ok, you walked up the stairs, where you could feel your heart pounding. Im getting anxious just writing this. My old supervisor Brian was at the top waiting to wet you down with the freezing cold spring water from the hose. Once you were completely frozen and terrified, it got worse......you looked down the pitch black hole! There was a tiny little area where you could sit before launching into the deep abyss. It all seemed to go silent as you looked down the tube where you could see is the water spraying from the top of the tube and running down into nothing.
Here is where you take a breath, stiffen up, and go for it! You are not sure if you give yourself a boost and pull yourself down the beginning or just sit back and just crawl over the ledge. So just to be safe, I pulled myself down, crossed my ankles, supported my head (trying to keep my head off the semi-soft foam that lined the tube) I got super nervous as I darted off into the darkness. The speed was terrifying and I had no idea as to when I was going to hit the bottom. Well my speed kept on increasing then......WHAM! I HIT BOTTOM! Yup, you definately know when you are about to go thru the loop, because your head becomes the tail end of a whip and smashes into bottom of the loop. Your speed is soo great that you have no problem making it up the front side of the loop. Here is where things get weird, as if they havent seemed screwed up already. Your body is completely upside down, pressed against the wall, then Uh-oh, your speed starts to slow down, but it is still enough to keep your body barely riding along the top of the loop. The tension starts to fade, as you know that you made it to the top. As the water is just enough to keep the walls slick, you start to pick up speed once again as you make it down the backside of the loop.
LIGHT!!! As you start to pull out, your eyes closed, the sun starts to peek thru you eyelids.....You made it.....Your body is then flung into a pool of water maybe about 3 feet deep. You lay there for a minute saying to yourself....Holy Crap.....I have the worst headache in the world, but Holy Crap, I just went thru a loop on a waterslide!!! Hell yeah!! As you pull yourself out of the pool, which had no ladder or steps, you look up the hill as everyone is watching in disbelief that someone would actually do the most terrifying waterslide in the world. But as I made my way up the grass covered ski slope, I found myself walking back over to the steps to do it all over again!!!
Not all people would make it thru as easy as I did though.....If you were standing at the top of the slide, you would here people start screaming that they cant do it as they were already sliding down the tunnel. They would start out OK, but when the speed starts to pick up, the person would stick their hands out to slow themselves down...BAD MOVE!! You need as much speed as possible. Once you stick your hands out, the person would make it up most of the loop, then bang onto the top (or bottom, depending on how you look at it) of the loop. Then, depending on how much speed the person had, you would either make it all the way around (banging onto the outer part of the slide as you made it to the bottom outside wall) or you would fall back head first towards the bottom of the hill...aka...valley in the tube.... If that happened, there was a latch at the bottom of the loop for the unfortunate.
It was very funny to hear the people not make it all the way around from the top. When the person started out, you would hear the normal wooshing noise, then BAM...Owwww....then silence..........then a bang..as their body would hit the top part of the loop...a groan....then another bang, if they were making it around.....Oh the good ole days! Super Fun.
As for the name...there wasnt any....except the generic title "Looping Cannonball"
I was just glad I was one of the few that ever got to ride this slide! I dont believe there will be anything of this caliber ever again. And if you knew Action Park, you know the owners were pretty tapped.
Action Park was home to many other great rides such as the Alpine Slide (some of the best), the tallest speed slides, a flying machine (aerodium), the Colorado River (in its original year, the slide was concrete....ummm...not so smart)After a couple of broken bones, they tamed it down and added foam thru out the entire ride. Other rides: Bungee jump (which was my home base) the sling shot, lola cars (in motor world) the tarzan swing...the list could go on forever....wow...thanks for bringing back such great memories. I truly loved Action Park! and completely miss it!
Hope you enjoyed this as much as I did!
If any one has any crazy stories about Action Park, I would love to discuss.