Emerald Pointe is only about an hour and a half from me, so I try to go at least once each year, although I did not go in 2002. I haven't been to a very large selection of water parks, but out of the ones I've been to, I believe Emerald Pointe is my favorite. Apparently Emerald Pointe liked what they saw in the Flying Super Saturator at Carowinds, so in 2001 Emerald Pointe added Hydra Fighter II, Caripro's take on the water-play suspended coaster.
It was about 20 or 30 minutes after the park opened when I arrived at the park, joined by my friend Matthew. The weather forecast had called for thunderstorms starting around lunchtimes, but the skies remained perfectly clear all day long, and it actually got quite hot. Hydra Fighter II can get a long line, so that is where we headed first, only to find that the coaster is doing its Top Thrill Dragster impersonation. Hydra Fighter II had been down for about 6 weeks, and according to the park, the coaster may not open again this summer. This was quite disappointing, since I've only had one ride on it in my two visits there since it opened. I'm not sure what problems the ride is having, but I would guess that it could have something to do with the fact that the park has no experience in maintaining amusement park type rides, especially roller coasters. I'm not sure Hydra Fighter II has ever operated the way it was supposed to, anyway. The press release said the ride would have 20 jumping jets, three small geysers, one big geyser, three overhead showerheads, one turbo shower, one water curtain, one mist tunnel, one tipping bucket, three Gatlin guns. I don't remember any of those things before, except for the mist tunnel. The ride is also supposed to be interactive, which I guess explains the buttons on the cars and stoplights on the track, but none of them do anything. Hopefully Emerald Pointe can get this ride working again.
Since the main reason for this trip report was Hydra Fighter II, rather than giving you a recap of the entire day, I'll just highlight some of the various rides and slides at the park.
Dare Devil Drop
A free fall slide that Emerald Pointe claims to be the highest speed slide between New York and Atlanta. I'm pretty sure it is no longer with the openings of the Pipeline Peaks at Kings Dominion and Carowinds, but it's still a big slide. You've seen em before: Your standard drop you straight down then curve out and slow to a stop.
These are located on the same tower as Dare Devil Drop, although on one of the lower levels. They are essentially smaller versions of Pipeline Peak's speed slides; pitch black enclosed speed slides with a lot of turns. Like Pipeline Peak, they are very fast and very intense. I gave myself a nice bruise when I slapped my head on the side of the tube going down.. no idea how that happened.
Thunder Bay is Emerald Pointe's wave pool, and usually was my favorite thing to do at the park. Instead of constant waves, every minute or so one giant wave is released. What was awesome about this in the past was that one half of the wave pool was for swimmers, and the other half was for swimmers with body boards, provided free. The waves could be rode in with considerable speed, and it was a real blast, but to my sad surprise, the body boards are no longer there. I can only assume this was due to the risk of injury that they provided. Stupid sue-happy Americans. There are also two areas in the pool where the waves hit a corner, creating a great whirlpool effect.
Runaway Raft Ride
A standard water slide where riders sit 1, 2, or 3 to a tube, and travel down a slide, landing in a wave pool. A fun ride, but nothing outstanding.
This is a really fun one. It is a terrain water slide where each person has their own inner tube, and after a slow beginning and a dead stop at one point, the tube really gets some speed up and goes pretty quickly through the rest of the course before landing in a splash pool.
You know... your standard lazy river. Nothing special about this one, although I guess that's the beauty of these rides.
White Water Run, Twister, and Dragon's Tail
Pretty mild and tall body slides that are fairly fun. These are the type of slides you typically think of when you think of a water park.
Two side by side double downs. Seating arrangement is two per inner tube. There is a decent sized drop, a level out, and then a large drop into a straightaway to bring the tubes to a stop. There is considerable air time on the double down, which is noted by the signs that say "Warning: Riders may become airborne."
Double Barrel Blasts
Simply put: Two short barrels that drop off 4 feet above the water. Usually no wait for these, and they really shoot you deep down into the water.
The Cyclone Zone
Matthew laughed at my suggestion that we do this, but then proclaimed it the best ride in the park afterwards. Everyone dons a life jacket and gets into a small circular pool that quickly cyclones riders around and around.
The Blue Streak, The Sidewinder, The 360
Three enclosed body slides, each offering a different experience, and each extremely intense. The Blue Streak is an enclosed double down, which can get a bit scary when you become airborne inside of a small tube.
Although I was disappointed by Hydra Fighter II being closed and the removal of the body slides in the wave pool, Emerald Pointe remains a blast. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys water parks and lives fairly near it, and I'll likely continue to go back each year.
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