Crafting the World’s Largest Water Slide Tower: The Icon Tower Installation Team

Introducing the experts behind your cherished water slides and the ones you’re eagerly anticipating – WhiteWater proudly spotlights the installation team responsible for erecting one of the world’s most groundbreaking water slide structures: the Icon Tower at Meryal in Qatar.

A remarkable achievement, as one-third of WhiteWater’s installation advisory team, comprising 14 individuals, played a pivotal role in bringing the Icon Tower to fruition on Qetaifan Island. Enduring temperatures surpassing 50 degrees Celsius, these dedicated professionals toiled tirelessly through the night, transforming this colossal water slide tower into a reality. This feat required a collective blend of expertise ranging from organizational planning to electrical proficiency, making it fitting to showcase their combined efforts in this team spotlight. Read on to discover their insights into the work they do and the value they bring to the forefront.

What does it take to become a good installer?

While the role of a water slide installer may seem glamorous due to the international travel involved, it demands substantial effort to realize these projects. Success in this role hinges on possessing a technical background, essential for interpreting drawings and specifications to understand the precise placement of each piece of fiberglass. This also requires a keen sense of visualization and organizational skills to effectively lay out various sections and discern the intricate connections between components. And of course, a fearlessness of heights is crucial given the elevation of some of the attractions (in the case of the Icon Tower, we’re talking 85 meters!).

The complexity of the site, with numerous moving parts, underscores the importance of teamwork and adaptability. A good installer must collaborate seamlessly with members of the WhiteWater team and/or external installation teams, adjusting to diverse cultures based on the project’s requirements. Beyond technical prowess, a key motivating factor for installers is the pride derived from witnessing the results of their efforts. Being able to look at the completed attractions at the end of the day and acknowledge their pivotal role in assembling these structures is a source of immense satisfaction.

Overview of a large water park at the sea

What were some of the custom features that went into the creation of the Icon Tower?

The construction of the Icon Tower incorporated several distinctive features aimed at providing an unparalleled water slide experience. One notable feature is the inclusion of two water-filled stainless steel transition tubs, facilitating a seamless transfer for riders between different sets of slides. This design promotes a “choose your own adventure” experience to the tower, allowing riders to leisurely cruise around a 90-degree corner, enjoying panoramic views of the surroundings, before smoothly floating onto conveyors and be dispatched into the next set of water slides. To heighten the overall ride experience, special sound and light packages were also integrated into the design of the Icon Tower. These enhancements serve to create an immersive and dynamic atmosphere, complementing the twists and turns of the slides.

How did the installation team collaborate with head office to bring the tower to life?

The team on site worked closely with engineering in Vancouver to conduct a rigorous computational fluid dynamics (CFD) analysis to assess the assembly of the water slides. Given the unique geometrical layout, which was not covered by readily available design standards, the analysis model comprised an impressive 120 million elements. This in-depth evaluation included the assessment of steady-state wind-induced effects from 36 different directions (10° increments around the tower). The focus was on examining local spike pressures, wind-induced vortex-shedding behaviour, and potential undesired vibrations, with a meticulous comparison of the absolute maximum stresses against fiberglass allowables to ensure a structurally sound and safe design.


Cassidy Newman