Myself and Dave 'Flare' Fraser left NYC around 8:45 and pulled into the Clementon Lake parking lot around 10:30am. We hooked up with the Nicolaysens and waited at the front gates as the park slowly woke up. Around 10:45 the ticket booth opened and we all slowly worked our way through and headed to the entrance of Tsunami.
Having only been to Clementon once before (4 years ago), I have to say the park looked better than I remembered it although I still feel it's a shadow of it's former self in terms of all the classic flat rides it once had. Tsunami is located in the very back of the park and circles the picnic groves. When we arrived they were testing one train and then slooowly moved the second train from the transfer track onto the circuit. After several test runs of both trains, they opened the queue around 10 minutes after 11. And we were on the train (back seat) within 2 trains.
Before I go into the rest of the park, operations, etc - let me discuss the ride itself. It, as the autospiel warns twice, is a 'SEVERELY AGGRESSIVE" ride - and they are not joking. Upon leaving the station, there is a small dip to the lift hill, and the lift itself is quite fast. The first drop was glass smooth in all the seats I rode. In the back there is really nice floater all the way down in - in the front , the view is mind boggling and gives CI Cyclone a very good run for the money (it's steep). Everything changes upon cresting the top of the second hill - just looking at the hill from a far you can tell that it will. The forces are very hard to describe, but as Flare put it - it seemed very much like something Cobb would think of. It's sort of a combination of violent ejector meets lateral air two times at the crest - once as you near the top of the hill and then immediately as you start going down the drop. The second drop is swooping and is met by an airtime parabolic hill into a very highly banked high turnaround from which it then dives into the helix. The dive in the helix has really strange ejector air in the front and very violent yank in the back. The Helix - omg! - this is truly one of the most disorienting helixes I've been on, let alone a disorienting coaster element - I really don't know to say about it - it seems never-ending and you really loose all perspective of where you are. In the back it is very rough and aggressive (but a good rough to me); in the front it was definitely smoother but still as disorienting. After leaving the helix there are 2 or 3 bunny hop hills offering good airtime leading back home to the brake run. The ride is relentless in speed and seemed to get better with every hour that we were there. Considering how short the ride is - it definitely feels bigger than it actually is - once again proving that good things can come in small packages. We got 6 rides in - 3 in the back seat, 1 front seat, 1 - 1.2, 1 - 4.2. All rides except 1.2 were in the blue train.
I was really glad that they were running 2 trains, but dispatches average 3-4 minutes as all seatbelts are checked and tightened twice (by two separate ride ops) and then all lap bars are checked and pushed down twice (again by two separate ride ops). They had no less than 6 ops in the station at any time. 4 checking restraints, one at the controls, and one at the entrance to station letting people in. If you wanted to wait for a seat they seemed to be more than obliging and there was usually a manager in the station as well. I was never once uncomfortable with the snugness of the restraints and actually found that the lap bar would fall at least another click in the helix (especially in the back) - I've been stapled before (Knotts) and I've seen Dead & Restless turn bright purple from a Racer ride PKI so I know what an uncomfortable restraint position can be like so I really can't complain other than for the amount of time it takes to do the four checks. It's a new coaster to a park that has never had a ride like this and I'm not exactly sure if they expected a ride with this veracity so I am going to take a wait and see how things develop next year. It is definitely not a ride I would feel comfortable with a 2 click ride on anyways. I've had the luck to ride Boulderdash and Cornball in the inaugural years and they definitely did not ride anything with the power that this does straight out of the bat. I can only imagine what night rides are going to be like.
The rest of the park: we hit the flume (dirty water) which was good - gives a great view of Tsunami's first drop. Dave did the Turtle-Whirl and got some very good whirling. We also rode the train which gives the only really good views of the sadly SBNO Jack Rabbit and some nice view of Tsunami as well. I have to say that everyone that worked at the park was extremely pleasant and they all seemed very happy and relieved to finally have Tsunami open. As the day quickly drew on the picnic crowds that keep this park alive quickly grew and the park became definitively more crowded, but not unmanageable (as my previous visit had been). Clementon is a VERY small park, so even a minor crowd can feel big. We took our last ride on Tsunami around 3 before heading back to the city - it was in 1.2 in the red train and was by far the most powerful ride I had that day (even though I preferred the back overall). I truly hope that Clementon can keep this ride in good shape as it's aggressiveness makes me think what has happened to Hurricane and Cheetah (although Gerstauler may have a lot to do with that too).
All in all, I'm very impressed with Tsunami and hope that this means good
things for this small out of the way park!
Jim 'jimvid' McDonnell
Agreed with the "agressiveness" of Hurricane having alot to with those "plasitc" Gerstauler trains... though I have to admit that I don't think Cheetah is that bad. Hopefully the heavy PTC's on Tsunami will help. Maintenance over the next few years will be critical though. Right now it is an "Agressive" coaster... if it is not well maintained, it could rival the now departed Hercules for the most rough and painful coaster.
Not sure, but I may have run into you two guys there yesterday. While in line there was a mob of people who came to the queue at the same time. There were two "ACE'ers" that got separated by a few people. One of them was kind of a tall man with black hair and a black moustache and wearing a blue ACE jacket soaked after a log flume ride. The other was not as tall, wearing a base ball cap and glasses and at one point commented to the other about the length of times for dispatch. One of them (I forget which one) was wearing a button that said "Coastin' Dave" or was it "Coaster Dave". That was sometime between 2 and 4 pm.
Clementon needs to have a sign explaining this to people. I wonder how many people cringe at the thought of getting splashed by the "toilet water" on the flume.
Anyway, excellent report, sounds like another relatively unknown park has put itself on the map.
I worry though, if this coaster is really appropriate for the park's demographic...
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