Case Study: World’s Tallest Water Coaster, Tsunami Surge

More Than Added Value for New Stand-Alone Water Park, Six Flags Hurricane Harbor Chicago

For the 2021 season, a major change took place at Hurricane Harbor Chicago. First opened in 2005, it now operates as a stand-alone water park, with a separate entrance from Six Flags Great America. Guests now have the convenience and flexibility to purchase a day pass and visit only the water park.

To complement this change, and to provide guests with the best value and experience for their money, the park unveiled the world’s tallest water coaster, Tsunami Surge. No stranger to record breakers, Six Flags came to WhiteWater and Ramaker with the ambition of creating the world’s tallest water coaster. With WhiteWater’s Master Blaster™, the park was able to achieve this goal.

World’s Tallest Water Coaster, Tsunami Surge, Creates Seismic Experience

Tsunami Surge is the only water slide in Hurricane Harbor Chicago to propel riders uphill. Utilizing low velocity but high flow rate water jets, Tsunami Surge begins with a heart-pumping mega drop into the slide’s first of five major descents, plummeting riders 32 feet (10 meters) before the water jets thrust them back uphill with top speeds of up to 28 miles per hour (45 kilometers per hour). When combined with the slide’s visual effects of AquaLucent rings and lasers, the overall ride experience is a mix of sensations spanning the ride’s 950-foot length.

Here are the highlights of what riders will experience:

  • A world record-breaking height of 86 ft (26 m)
  • An incredible 950 ft (290 m) in length and more than 8 stories high
  • A top speed of 28 mph (45 km/h) through the twists and turns
  • Three gravity-defying uphill blasts using water jets to propel riders over the course of enclosed tunnels and open flumes
  • Five winding hairpin turns
  • Five breathtaking drops
  • A unique ride experience with AquaLucent effects
  • Man and woman sliding down water coaster

Visually Imposing on the Outside, Mind-Blowing on the Inside

Placed near the entrance of the new Hurricane Harbor Chicago’s entrance gate, Tsunami Surge is in a prime location to showcase its stature as the world’s tallest water coaster. It is also strategically placed next to Six Flags’ Maxx Force, North America’s fastest launching roller coaster.

The uphill features of the water coaster are unusual in a water park and juxtaposes nicely with the roller coaster. Tsunami Surge’s eye-catching lime green and turquoise fiberglass stands out in the water park with its pop of colors, while mimicking the undulating crests and valleys of the nearby roller coaster.

The visual impact of Tsunami Surge extends from its exterior into the interior. On the inside of the water slide, AquaLucent rings and lasers have been artfully placed to complement the Master Blaster’s features. Adding unexpected bursts of light, the addition of AquaLucent creates visual movement within the slide as riders race their way through the flume, resulting in a heightened sense of suspense as guests are left guessing about what drops, twists, and turns are ahead.

Children in water slide tube with AquaLucent rings
Blue green Tsunami Surge water coaster at Six Flags Hurricane Harbor

Defying Gravity Safely and Efficiently

Towering over the rest of the slides, Tsunami Surge draws guests from the gate who are eager to learn more about the slide with uphill sections.

This gravity-defying attraction is on brand for Six Flags, who is known for its amazing thrills and fast rides. At eight stories tall, this Master Blaster gives an exhilarating mix of sensations, from the feeling of near weightlessness at its peaks to maximum g-forces in its valleys.

While the ride adds value to the new stand-alone park, it was built with energy efficiency in mind. Master Blaster uses advanced water jets and control systems to streamline its operations and improve safety.

Start view looking down at Tsunami Surge water coaster
Looking up at outer view of Tsunami Surge water coaster with roller coaster

From the start, Master Blaster’s zone control launch conveyors with safety sensors ensure that riders have cleared a section of flume before launching another raft. Its high-flow water jets all flow in line with the tubes’ motion, requiring fewer of them to maintain, which also results in fewer leaks. When combined with the slide’s variable frequency drives, Tsunami Surge requires less energy and uses less water than rides of similar size and construction.

Thrilling riders while achieving this level of energy efficiency calls for significant engineering efforts. More than 30 pipes run to and from Tsunami Surge’s dedicated equipment building, which also houses eight pumps with 600 horsepower—because challenging gravity is no small task. Although all this technology is out of sight, it powers the innovative water coaster’s flow rate of over 10,000 gallons per minute and enables exhilarating guest experiences.

Client Testimonial

“The new Tsunami Surge water coaster is unlike anything our guests have ever experienced, defying gravity to blast riders uphill through 950 feet of exhilarating drops, twists and turns. This exciting, new addition is the perfect complement to Hurricane Harbor Chicago’s debut season as a stand-alone water park.” – Hank Salemi, President, Six Flags Great America Park

Harmony Liau Mueller