WhiteWater’s IAAPA Expo update: regional expansion, synergetic brands, and major projects

By | November 23, 2021

VANCOUVER, Canada — WhiteWater had plenty to update everyone with at the IAAPA Expo 2021 in Orlando, Florida. The world has not stood still during the last 20 months, and WhiteWater outlined developments it has been making to its business, team, and products during that time. Projects have continued, and some notable openings this year and next were highlighted.

Making Magic at 40 with Regional Investments and Sustainable Goals
The WhiteWater booth featured the “Magic” campaign to bring its 40th anniversary celebrations to a close, as the company was unable to kick off the festivities last year due to the cancellation of the trade show. The 10th anniversary of the company’s China office did not go unnoticed, however, with the team growing and moving office commemorated on our WeChat account.

Since IAAPA last congregated in Orlando in 2019, WhiteWater has accelerated investments in its regional offices—Shanghai for Asia, Munich for Europe, Russia, and Africa, and Dubai for Middle East and India, increasingly moving engineers, project managers, after sales, and marketing to these locations. This strategy, together with regional manufacturing, has made Whitewater even more competitive and responsive to clients in every region, complemented by a keen understanding of cultural and commercial norms in different languages. This level of service has been a key differentiator for WhiteWater, especially during the pandemic, where travel and logistics are still a challenge.

For everyone, turning 40 is a reflection point. As the leading water park supplier in the world, WhiteWater has a lot to celebrate as well as contemplate about the future for all of us. The company used this anniversary to make important commitments. Going forward, creating fun with attractions must not cost the future, so WhiteWater announced a corporate-wide initiative called, “Sustainability Scorecard,” with clear direction and measures, including ambitious goals to halve its waste by 2030 and becoming net-zero by 2040. The effort looks at the issue holistically and encompasses helping suppliers and clients achieve their environmental goals.

Industry Veterans Take on Key Roles
WhiteWater maintains its success based on “having the right people on the bus in the right seats.” Naturally, this means recruiting some more established industry experts into the team and enabling internal moves for others, including:

  • Franceen Gonzales, Chief Experience Officer
  • Doug Smith, Global Head of Sales
  • David Bogdonov, Regional Vice President, APAC
  • Travis Kline, Regional Director of Operations, Middle East
  • Domingo Vergoossen, Vice President, Global Business Development, Water Rides
  • Frank Good, Vice President, Business Development, Vantage
  • Baptiste Caulonque, Chief Commercial Officer, Endless Surf

These personnel moves signify WhiteWater’s continued investment in its brand portfolio, especially the newer ventures, Endless Surf and Vantage, in response to the growth both areas are seeing.

Building the Brand Portfolio
New Developments in Water Rides
WhiteWater’s Water Ride division has recently shipped 14 Super Flume vehicles to Warner Bros. Movie World in Queensland to upgrade the much-loved fleet of one of the park’s most popular rides, the “Wild West Falls Adventure Ride,” which will re-open by Christmas. While the boats look similar to the old ones, they have new innovative features, such as individual hydraulic lap bars to improve guest comfort and removable floorboards to make maintenance easier.

“We are pleased to be able to give this classic ride an upgrade during our off-peak season,” said Village Roadshow Theme Parks COO, Bikash Randhawa. “As this attraction is a guest favourite, we wanted to ensure we continued with both our high safety standards along with high durability of the boats to withstand operations, and the quality of engineering and materials from WhiteWater has impressed us,” he said.

This project is a good example of the technical and safety improvements WhiteWater’s boat refurbishment work can provide, in addition to the ability to supply a new water ride from the ground up.

New Developments in Surf
FlowRider has developed three exciting new models of the iconic stationary surf simulator:

  • FlowRider Edge — A perfect addition to under-utilized pools, it enables a fun wipeout off the back, into the pool, and uses the same filtration system for additional savings.
  • FlowCurl — Combines the classic FlowRider double with a curved barrel section for more expert tricks.
  • FlowSurf — A river surfing experience on full-sized surf boards instead of flowboards. The smooth, glassy, deeper-water continuous wave expands FlowRider’s offering into surf, giving venues broader board sport experiences and appeal.

All these new products come with the safety, quality, and service that have made FlowRider’s name synonymous with stationary surf and all help venues respond to the increasing popularity of the sport.

The demand for inland surf is reflected in the number of surf park destinations currently in development across the globe—over one hundred in various forms, such as public, private, resort, and standalone. WhiteWater’s surf pool division, Endless Surf, is working on a significant number of opportunities, bringing the company into the world of sports. New projects announced in the past year include Gold Coast and Port Douglas in Australia and SURFTOWN in Munich, Germany. Endless Surf utilizes advanced pneumatic wave technology and includes “Surf Concierge,” a booking engine that provides session management and waves tailored to the guests’ skill levels.

New Developments with Vantage
Surf Concierge is powered by Vantage, WhiteWater’s software arm. Vantage’s key innovation lies in integrating disparate systems to digitize the guest journey and provide a seamless guest experience, thereby streamlining venue management and revealing revenue opportunities.

This past summer, Atlantis Dubai chose Vantage to provide a single guest experience platform. Starting with Aquaventure, the resort’s water park, guests will each be given a wearable, which they will link to an app and in-park kiosks to enable admissions, purchases, locker access, loyalty points, and more. The platform will provide Atlantis Dubai with actionable insights for their operations team as well as for sales and marketing.

As location-based entertainment venues are now looking to digitally transform, Vantage has considerably expanded its team in the past year, adding many software developers.

For WhiteWater, these brands in adjacent attraction spaces create natural synergies. For the client, this broad portfolio creates a one-stop shop that comes with the valuable know-how across different disciplines. For example, for surf parks, WhiteWater is not only able to provide a surf pool but also park design, in addition to water slides and water play to keep the entire family happy and extend the length of stay.

Brass Ring Award for New Racing Water Slide
At this year’s IAAPA Expo, WhiteWater was pleased to receive a Brass Ring Award for its new competition water slide, Parallel Pursuit, in the category of Best New Product—Water Park Ride/Attraction. This recognition adds to the Leading Edge Award that the product received this year from the World Waterpark Association. Parallel Pursuit offers a true side-by-side racing experience through low separating walls that allow rivals to see and hear each other, on straightaways and turns and in open and in enclosed sections, through speeds of up to 19 mph/32 kph. This interactivity encourages repeat ridership and dwell time, as demonstrated at Nocatee Spray Park in Florida, see video here.

Available either as a mat racer or a body slide, so headfirst or feet first, Parallel Pursuit is highly configurable with varying thrill levels. It has no height limitations and can fit into a tight footprint—all with an affordable price tag.

Project Highlights in Water Parks in 2021

Even in challenging times, WhiteWater was able to complete some spectacular projects around the world, including for:

  • Hurricane Harbor Chicago at Six Flags Great America, Gurnee, Illinois, USA
  • Aqua Nick at Nickelodeon Hotel and Resort, Cancun, Mexico
  • LEGOLAND® Water Park at Gardaland, Castelnuovo del Garda, Italy
  • Studio City Water Park, Macau SAR, China
  • Ocean Park Water World, Hong Kong SAR, China
  • Kaisa Water World, Shenzhen, China
  • Shankus Water Park & Resort, Gujarat, India
  • Jungle Bay Waterpark, Dubai, UAE
  • Desert Falls Water & Adventure Park, Abu Samra, Qatar

Anticipation Is Building for 2022 Openings
New Project Announcement for Kalahari Resorts
During theIAAPA Expo, WhiteWater and Kalahari Resorts announced an expansion of the water park at their resort in Round Rock, Texas. Inspired by the “Bugs Burrow” water play area in their resort in Ohio, WhiteWater will provide seven kids’ slides featuring specially themed veiling to ignite children’s imagination.

Other high-profile projects currently in progress include for:

  • Wet’n’Wild Gold Coast, Australia (to open end of 2021) – Australia’s tallest water slide tower, including a body Parallel Pursuit and Master Blaster + Tailspin fusion slides
  • Center Parcs – Domaine des Landes de Gascogne, France – Themed to fit the resort branding and natural surroundings, including AquaPlay and a Constrictor + Rattler Fusion.
  • Soaky Mountain Waterpark, Sevierville, Tennessee, USA – Featuring dueling Blasterangos, or two Master Blaster + Boomerango fusion water coasters
  • Mt. Olympus Water & Theme Park, Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin, USA – With North America’s first SlideWheel
  • Studio City Water Park Phase 2, Macau SAR, China – One of the biggest indoor water parks in Asia
  • Qetaifan Island North, Qatar – Featuring a record-breaking tower and an Abyss that is three times larger than standard.

Each of these designs has special highlights, and we look forward to sharing as they open during 2022.

A Record-Breaking Engineering Feat
At Qetaifan Island North, WhiteWater is working on what will be the tallest tower of its kind in the world when completed, with the highest water slide in the world at 80 meters. The Icon Tower will stand 85 meters/260 feet tall and will be served by two pedestrian elevators. With two slides at each of the six levels, it will also break the record for the most water slides on a single tower—12. The water park will feature a total of 36 water slides, displaying engineering prowess and providing unparalleled experience in time for World Cup 2022 in Qatar. See this incredible feat of engineering and project management rise up in the timelapse video here.

“In our four decades, WhiteWater has seen the industry grow and slow and continue to innovate. As we turned 40 almost a year ago, we weren’t able to reflect on that and celebrate with the industry partners and clients that we have shared this journey with. Now that we are back together, it is good to see a dynamic industry investing, like us, in the future of attractions. We’ve kept pushing forward during the last year and a half, as all these announcements show,” said WhiteWater President and CCO, Paul Chutter.

“As a major player in the attractions industry, we realize now more than ever the importance of what we do, that is, allowing families to create magical, joyful memories together. To be able to continue doing this in the next 40 years, we must ensure that we work together toward sustainable goals,” he added.