Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Rob Bliss Water Slide

So this weekend urban events coordinator extraorindaire Rob Bliss unvieled his 500 foot water slide on the Lyon St. hill in Grand Rapids, MI. Billed as the longest inflatable water slide on record, and weighing in at 1.5 football fields long, it has ceated quite a stir. Despite a slight opening delay yesterday due to rain, tens of thousands are expected downtown to take part in the watery action. Great care was taken by the city and it's emergency crews, Bliss's event staff, the slide manufacturers and sponsors to make sure the slide was constructed as user-safe as possible.

However early public sentiment on the slide is mixed. I have yet to get downtown to see the slide, but early accounts have line-wait-time estimates of 3-5 hours. This despite two lanes to slide, and two lines on either side. Other early returns have it billed as "glitchy". People have been reported to just be stopped early going down the slide due to too much friction, and subsequently have been forced to exit the slide right where they stop. Other accounts tell that the slide does not let you get up any decent amount of exciting speed, certainly nothing worth a 3-5 hour wait. I refuse to wait in line 3-5 hours at cedar point, let alone this.

As the POV (point of view) video shows, the user does not gain a lot of speed at all, it's more like a slow, lazy slide. Yes they want safety, but a water slide is supposed to be exciting.

Next year Bliss is planning a 1000 foot water slide on the same hill. My suggestions for the crew would be to find a way to increase rider capacity, reduce wait times, and for goodness sake make it exciting.

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