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 How Pumps Make Waterpark Fun Possible

As host of the podcast "Consumer Review Report," I'm always excited to talk and write about different kinds of products such as this.


Ever wonder when you're enjoying time at the waterpark or being thrilled by an amusement park water ride, where all of that water comes from?

Well, the water doesn't really come from anywhere. It is merely recycled, sanitized, and moved from place to place using pumps, tubes and channels, valves, strainers, and filters.

Let's take a look at the different water rides and attractions made possible by pump technology.


Shoot the Chutes

This is quite an old water ride concept, dating back to 1884 when the first of this ride was constructed in Rock Island, Illinois at Watchtower Park. This ride had a boat that traveled down a 500-foot greased wooden plank placed on the side of the hill. At the bottom was a lake in which the boat splashed onto.

Modern pump technology has since made this ride more exciting as they create many more water features throughout the ride than just a lake.

In this water ride, flow generating, low-head submersible propeller pumps are installed either where the passengers get into the boat or along the course pathway. Because these are propeller pumps, which propel water by pushing against it, these pumps create the current to push the boat along the water channels or in a lower pond area.

This type of water ride also employs the use of centrifugal pumps. Centrifugal pumps use impellers to create a suction to transport and recycle water uphill. Additional submersible, centrifugal pumps are installed to create effects, such as waterfalls, while you are shooting the chutes.


Surfing Attractions

Now, you may think that this attraction is a new idea but it actually isn't. This attraction was developed in the 1980s and was the idea of Tom Lochtefeldt and his company, WaveLoch, Inc.

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According to Pumps&Systems,

"The attraction employs horizontally mounted electric submersible propeller pumps mounted in a patented tube and nozzle system that delivers a 3-inch thick sheet flow of water that travels at approximately 30 miles per hour along a safe, upward sloping trampoline-like riding surface."

To make this attraction more exciting, Bruce McFarland's American Wave Machine creates a full surfing barrel wave. This is created by using electric submersible pumps to create a mass flow into a channel.


Whitewater Kayak Facilities

Two man-made white water kayak courses exist in the United States, one in North Carolina and one in Maryland.

The concept for this type of attraction came about in 1992 for the Olympic Games in Barcelona, Spain. Since then, the Olympic Games held in Australia, Greece, China, and England have constructed man-made white water kayak courses.

To provide the course flow, large, electric submersible axial-flow propeller pumps are used. Axial-flow propeller pumps are actually centrifugal pumps but with an impeller shaft that is parallel to the direct flow of the water, rather than perpendicular. This directs the water in a relatively straight direction.

Adding or subtracting the number of pumps used determines the class of rapids, Class A through Class VI, on a competition course.


Water Coasters

Water slides are fun but how about water coasters. Water slides are mostly gravity-driven, what goes up must eventually come down. But with pump technology and placement design, water coasters are born.

These water coasters will push you uphill or carry you around corners and in a complete circle. According to HowStuffWorks,

"In these rides, the pump system drives high-pressure water to several points along the slide".

So, the next time you're out and about in a water park or amusement park with water rides, think about those pumps working for your enjoyment.

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