A plunge for thrill seekers

2014-11-29 00:00

A plunge for thrill seekers

Online video helps reveal the exciting dive at Wild Waves Water Park

AMANDA KHOZA

AN online adventure video with over two million views on YouTube has brought life to a hidden gem at a South Coast water park.

South African Brian Ortner took viewers on a wild journey when he strapped a Go-Pro on his head and recorded himself going down the adrenalin pumping water ride at the Wild Waves Water Park at the Wild Coast Sun in the Eastern Cape.

Ortner’s video shows him going down the Aqua Loop, a 12-metre ride.

He uploaded the video on YouTube last year and it reportedly caught the attention of an American radio station, which uploaded it on Facebook and asked the listeners to guess where the ride was located. Listeners reportedly guessed several places around the world like the U.S. states of Wisconsin and Tennessee and even Brazil, but not South Africa.

Weekend Witness visited the park this week to find out more about the popular ride.

Brandon Snowgrass, the assistant manager at the Wild Waves Water Park, said the park had many rides including the Superbowl and Boomerango, but the Aqua Loop was by far the most popular. All rides in the park are imported from Canada and manufactured by a company called White Water, said Snowgrass.

Listing the steps, the website said a person enters the launch capsule, which is controlled by a trap door. Faced forward and arms and feet crossed there is a countdown before the floor drops and the rider accelerates into a 10-foot vertical free fall drop going into the loop and exiting at the bottom of the ride.

“The body travels at 60 km/h in a 15-metre drop down the slide. The loop is lubricated with water … to prevent friction,” said Snowgrass.

“This ride is for thrill seekers; some people are shocked and others are surprised. Some people shed tears of joy.”

Snowgrass said the ride works on a weight ratio and people weighing less than 45 kg or over 135 kg are not allowed on the loop.

He said the park had never recorded an accident, but there have been people who got stuck in the loop because of heavy swimming material like cotton and shirts and baggy clothes. “We have two lifeguards to assist at escape patches, one on top and the other at the bottom.”

The entrance fee differs in and out of season. Out of season people shorter than 1,2 m pay R65 and taller than 1,2 m pay R130. In season it’s R75 and R150 respectively.

• amanda.khoza@witness.co.za

Amanda’s Experience

The Weekend Witness visited the Wild Waves Water Park at the Wild Coast Sun after viewing an online adventure video that has scored over two million views on YouTube.

PHOTO: kyle venktess

Wild Waves Water Park assistant manager Brandon Snowgrass gave Weekend Witness reporter Amanda Khoza strict safety instructions moments before she took the plunge. Senior lifeguard Thobile Stoffels kept a close eye on tourists who went on the Aqua Loop.

Amanda Khoza takes the plunge.

I AM not one to back down from a challenge.

So when my colleagues challenged me to take the plunge, I hesitantly agreed.

So with the long road ahead of us, colleague Kyle Venktess and I set off to the Wild Waves Water Park at the Wild Coast Sun in the Eastern Cape.

After my interview with the park manager, the moment we had been waiting for arrived.

Walking towards the ride, I could feel my heart beating faster and faster.

On our way to the top I could see tourists going down the tube with ease and thought this would be a breeze.

When I reached the top, we got to experience the view of the South Coast, the picturesque scenes of the waves crashing on the rocks at the beach — that’s how high we were.

Then it was my turn to go and I wanted to renege on my promise. I couldn’t bring myself to go into the tube, but thanks to Kyle’s support and words of encouragement, I went right in.

Kyle insisted it wouldn’t be that bad and said I would be crazy not to enjoy the ride.

After five minutes of hesitating, I eventually got into the capsule and felt absolutely petrified, but it was too late to get out because the door was beginning to shut.

Breathing heavily, I could feel the cold water running down my back and then I heard my cue.

Three. Two. One. The floor dropped and I remember closing my eyes and my body shooting down the tube at 60 km/h. The entire time going down the tube my eyes were closed and I was screaming because I was so scared.

Inside the tube water sprays you and it goes into your nose – at some point I felt like I was drowning.

Before you know it the ride expels you out the bottom.

Afterwards I had mixed emotions, I wanted to cry, laugh and scream all at the same time.

This is an experience that every daredevil needs to experience — you won’t regret it.

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