This past Saturday, WhiteWater took the stage with some of the best-known names in our 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 proud achievement for WhiteWater, as it is rare for a waterpark manufacturer to be recognised 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, our game-changing Slideboarding ride has distinguished us for its pioneering technology.
WhiteWater’s formula for innovation
These recognitions can be attributed to two factors: WhiteWater’s continuous mission 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 able to solve problems and create new applications to make Slideboarding a truly personalised guest experience. WhiteWater’s greatest assets are the talented people who live and breathe our industry and have for decades; experts with vision and passion to bring complex projects like this to market.
The second factor that has contributed to these acknowledgements is our 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. Fischbach continued, “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 our industry:
- 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.
- 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…
- Slideboarding can be a retrofit to refresh an older slide at a fraction of the cost of installing a new one.
- A brand new ride vehicle, making the ride more comfortable and appealing to the entire family group, so Mom and Grandma can join in on some friendly family competition.
- This is the first time a waterslide has been able to recognise the rider and customize the guest experience for them to make it different every time.
It is these features which led to Slideboarding being awarded the Thea Award for Outstanding Achievement – Technology at the TEA Thea Gala on April 22, 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”.