If the slide at your local swimming pool gives you vertigo, then look away now. The tallest waterslide in the world has opened in the US. The Verrückt at Schlitterbahn Kansas City Waterpark is 168.6 ft (51.4 m) tall, making it taller than than Niagara Falls. Read on for a video of the first ride down by waterpark designer Jeff Henry and ride engineer John Schooley.
The Verrückt, meaning "insane" in German, was developed by "Waterpark innovator" Jeff Henry whose family owns and runs four Schlitterbahn parks in the US. According to Schlitterbahn, "Henry holds numerous patents for ride innovations and has brought inland water surfing, uphill water coasters and endless tube rides to the industry."
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The design and development process for The Verrückt took over a year and its record height was verified by Guinness World Records at the end of April. It's a raft slide, with each raft accommodating four riders. The ride length is 601 ft (183 m) and incorporates an initial 17 story drop followed by a five story climb and another, final drop. Schlitterbahn says the combined drops are over 200 ft (61 m) in total and that riders hit 40-50 mph (64-80 km/h).
"When you design something this big and this groundbreaking in the industry – most big drops in waterslides are feet first raft rides and big drops in roller coasters use a track – it gets very, very challenging," Winter Prosapio of Schlitterbahn tells Gizmag.
Prosapio explains that creating a ride on the scale of The Verrückt requires attention to the tiniest of details. Every aspect of the slide must be precisely engineered, such as the design of the blaster nozzles that are used to propel the rafts over the incline section of the ride. It is these details that produce the required speeds and g-forces to ensure the ride is both exciting and safe. Advanced sensor technology and a conveyor system are also used.
The Verrückt is open to the public now with limited hours of operation.
Join Henry and Schooley for the first thrilling run down The Verrückt in the video below.