The Second portion of our look at the Shoot the Chute water ride.

O.D. Hopkins

In 1986, Six Flags purchased the first two O.D. Hopkins Shoot the Chutes. Standing 50 feet tall, the ride was similar boat wise to Intamin, but active lap bars were retained for all installations. The drop was simpler: 45 feet tall at 35 degrees angle. Oval layouts are standard and roller coaster style chain lifts are used to take boats up the lift hill. Hopkins offered at the time the option to parks to either have steel or wooden  supports.

Splashwater Falls

Splashwater Falls 3

Splashwater Falls 2

The top 3 pictures show Splashwater Falls at Six Flags Over Georgia (Austell, GA). It was one of the initial 1986 installation and this one use the chain lift and steel supports.


One of the boat on the Tidal Wave at Six Flags Saint-Louis (Eureka, MO) starting to drop.sfatl-7-26-2012-tidal-wave-3

The Hopkins boat. Both pictures appear courtesy of

Boston Tea Party

One of the boat on the Boston Tea Party at Canobie Lake Park (Salem, NH) stored next to the lift hill. The elevated winch system is used to transfer boats in and out.

Boston Tea Party 7

Boston Tea Party has a wooden lift structure.

Boston Tea Party 5

To get the ride approved by the city of Salem, the park had to cover the drop with a clear tunnel. This was to make sure the ride screams did not carry across the lake.

Boston Tea Party 2

The ride large run out lake.

Boston Tea Party 8

Boston Tea Party 6

The preceding pictures show the huge wave generated by the boat. It reach even further than the turnaround into the station and soak the souvenir building next to the ride.

Splash Six Flags Mexico

The large wave created by the Splash at Six Flags Mexico (Mexico City, Mexico)

There are however three exceptions: From 1987 to 1989, O.D. Hopkins designed three Shoot the Chutes that used an Intamin style lift hill to take the boats up. The first one opened in 1987 as Splashwater Falls at Six Flags Great Adventure (Jackson, NJ), in 1988 at Carowinds (Charlotte, NC) under the name Whitewater Falls and in 1989 at Canada’s Wonderland (Vaughan, ON) as Timberwolf Falls.

Canadas wonderland timberwolf falls 2

Canada’s Wonderland provided this picture of Timberwolf Falls.

ASFGA SWF 80007 ND copy provided this picture of the lift hill on the Splashwater Falls/Movie Town Water Effects at Six Flags Great Adventure. It opened in 1987 and closed 20 years later in 2007.

In 1992, Miyaki Park in Misaki, Japan opened Tidal Wave, a standard 50 feet tall Shoot the Chutes. What make it unique? The fact it was the first Shoot the Chutes ride to have a covered boat.


The covered boat on Tidal Wave. Picture appears courtesy of

In 1994, a new line of Shoot the Chutes was introduced. It featured either an 82.5 or 100 feet lift hill and a figure 8 layout. The boat would go down the steep drop under the lift hill and create such a large wave of water that the spot on the bridge in front of the drop at Hersheypark (Hershey, PA) was altered with a clear wall. Tidal Force wave is so powerful that there were incidents where people crossing the bridge were swept off their feet. Having those walls mean that people on the bridge only receive the water that crested and fall down behind.

Nagashima Shoot the Chute (4)

This is one of the three boats on the Shoot the Chute at Nagashima Spaland (Kuwana, Japan).

Nagashima Shoot the Chute (5)

You can see the figure 8 100 feet tall structure of the ride.

Nagashima Shoot the Chute

The ride huge splash down lake and runoff.

Nagashima Shoot the Chute (2)

Clear walls were installed on the bridge to absorb the direct impact of the wave.Nagashima Shoot the Chute (3)

The wave generated by the wave.


A boat climbing the lift hill on the Hersheypark Tidal Force.


Notice the figure 8 layout on the Hersheypark Tidal Force.


The giant wave created by the Tidal Force.


Notice the long runout required by the speed of the boats.

In 2000, a custom 85 feet tall Shoot the Chutes with an oval layout opened at Thorpe Park (Surrey, UK). In order to minimize the supports needed and to fit the site, a christmas tree like structure is used to support the elevated trough. The ride loading station is a half submerged cannery, as it is located into the hapless city of Amity Cove. The cannery, a church and various other buildings have been flooded by the Tidal Wave. Amity Cove (spray painted to CALAmity Cove on a collapsed highway sign) also included various other effects such as a ruptured gas tank that would shoot fire every 10 minutes.

Photography taken at Thorpe Park by Daniel Lewis +44(0)7813 987475

The boat coming down the drop.

Photography taken at Thorpe Park by Daniel Lewis +44(0)7813 987475

You can see the tree like structure for the elevated portion.

Following the 85 feet drop, the boat reach 45 mph as it hit the water, creating a huge 40-45 feet tall wall of water.

Photography taken at Thorpe Park by Daniel Lewis +44(0)7813 987475

Photography taken at Thorpe Park by Daniel Lewis +44(0)7813 987475

Photography taken at Thorpe Park by Daniel Lewis +44(0)7813 987475

Photography taken at Thorpe Park by Daniel Lewis +44(0)7813 987475

Photography taken at Thorpe Park by Daniel Lewis +44(0)7813 987475

Photography taken at Thorpe Park by Daniel Lewis +44(0)7813 987475

All the pictures from Tidal Wave appear courtesy of the park.

In 2002, Playland Park (Rye, NY) opened the Playland Plunge, a new Shoot the Chutes ride. Like at Thorpe Park, a Christmas tree like structure is used for the elevated portion, except this ride is 50 feet tall and use smaller boats. They have 4 rows of 3 passengers.

In 2002, after undergoing bankruptcy protection, the company was split off. Hopkins Rides was sold to Reverchon Industries from France and the sky ride/ropeway division spun off as “SkyTrans Manufacturing”. Most of the original technical staff remained with Sky Trans and Reverchon acquired the patents, ride designs and a few staff members transferred there. That division was later sold to Martin & Vleminckx and then again to the current owner, WhiteWater West Industries Ltd. WhiteWater has been pushing that division under their WhiteWater Attractions division and sold a 25 feet tall Shoot the Chutes to Legoland California (Carlsbad, CA) in 2012.


Pirate Reef at Legoland California. Picture appears courtesy of the park.

SkyTrans Manufacturing sold in 2011 a brand new Shoot the Chutes to Alabama Adventure (Bessemer, AL). Standing 50 feet tall, Buzzsaw Falls was very similar to the old Hopkins version and was offered at a very competitive price. Currently, Skytrans partnered with Zamperla rides to design water rides that will then be marketed and manufactured by Zamperla to parks around the world. So far, no Shoot the Chutes have come out of that partnership.



The two above pictures show Buzzsaw Falls. They appear courtesy of

Interlink LG:

In 1995, Interlink designed and manufactured the Niagara at Bellewaerde Park (Ieper, Belgium). Standing 66 feet tall, it was the tallest Shoot the Chute in Europe at the time. It was delivered with 4 boats and like on some of the Japanese Shoot The Chutes, one of them originally had a clear fiberglass cover to operate during colder weather. A chain lift hill is used to take the boats up and those boats have a futuristic shape and 5 rows of 4 passengers. Interlink also offer configurations of 10, 12 and 25 passengers for Shoot the Chute installation.



Those two pictures show the Niagara at Bellewaerde. The pictures appears courtesy of


As previously discussed here, , Interlink did the hydraulic and water flow calculations for Vekoma. Vekoma then designed the ride system for Universal Creative and delivered three such “Jurassic Park” attractions between 1996 and 2001. The prototype one had space constraints and thus, the Universal Studios Hollywood installation originally soaked its riders. Since it was impossible to make the run out area bigger, they modified the boats with roller coaster car braking fins and installed adjustable magnetic brakes. Thus, they could lower the water level and can control the amount of wetness. In the summer season, they installed water bombs in the run out lake and those shoot water 100 feet in the air and soak riders and onlookers.

Jurassic Park the Ride USH (4)

The current splash on Jurassic Park: The Ride at Universal Studios Hollywood.

Jurassic Park the Ride USH (2)

Notice how high the boat sit above the water.

Jurassic Park the Ride USH (3)

You can see the eddy-current magnetic brakes in the water. Pusher tires are installed at the end of the run out to give the boat a push in case it was trimmed too much.

For the Universal Studios Japan (Osaka, Japan) and the Islands of Adventure (Orlando, FL) version installations, those were brand new parks and the run out area is larger and they don’t require the magnetic eddy-current brakes.

Jurassic Park River Adventure IOA

This is the first scene on the River Adventure at Islands of Adventure.

Arrow Dynamics:

In 1984, Arrow-Huss designed their own version of the Shoot The Chutes, the first of the modern era. The prototype model was the Shoot The Chute at the 1984 World Fair in New Orleans, LA. It stood 55 feet tall and was the headlining ride at the World’s Fair… A roller coaster chain lift is used to take boats up the lift hill. It had an oval layout and there were a few unique things about it that made the Arrow version stand out. For example, it used a fiberglass trough similar to a log flume and it floated among the elevated portion. Meanwhile, the standard Hopkins, Interlink and Intamin rides roll in a steel trough on gravity and a small amount of water is used which then goes down the drop.

Then, before the large drop, you had rubber belts that took the boat up a bit and thus, in case of a problem at the bottom, the boat can be stopped before dropping. The boats had a shape that pushed more water in front of them in a large wave.

Due to the World’s Fair bankrupcy, Arrow-Huss reorganised back into two companies with Arrow becoming Arrow Dynamics and Huss becoming Huss Maschinenfabrik. Shoot The Chute was eventually sold to Six Flags which then relocated it in 1986 at Six Flags Astroworld (Houston, TX) as the Tidal Wave.

In 1989, Busch Gardens Tampa (Tampa, FL) transformed the African Queen boat ride into the Tanganyika Tidal Wave. It retained most of the scenery of the previous Jungle Cruise like experience and then added a large 55 feet tall elevated trough at the end. It then leads to the double down drop that creates a powerful wave.

Tidal Wave BGT 1

The following pictures show the Tanganyika Tidal Wave at Busch Gardens Tampa (Tampa, FL). Notice how high the fiberglass walls are on the trough compared to the models.

Tidal Wave BGT 7

55 feet double down drop.

Tidal Wave BGT 4

The boat going down the drop.

Tidal Wave BGT 3

The ride giant wave.

Tidal Wave BGT 2

A tight S curve bring the boats back to the station.

Tidal Wave BGT 5

The boat returning to the station.

Tidal Wave BGT 6

The ride 20 passenger boats.

Tidal Wave BGT 8

Riders are restrained with a sliding lap bar per row.

In 1993, Dorney Park (Allentown, PA) opened the White Water Landing and Cedar Point (Sandusky, OH) the Snake River Falls. Both are Arrow Shoot the Chutes attractions that featured a then record breaking 82 feet tall lift hill with a figure 8 layout. Then, the boat floats around a covered tunnel at the top before dropping 80 feet at a 50 degrees angle.


White Water Landing at Dorney Park.


Before the boat reach the drop, it creates a larger wall of water on the drop as can be seen here.


The wave created by the boat dropping into the water.


A boat returning to the station.


The freefloating Arrow boat.


Cedar Fair at the time themed and enclosed the top of the attraction. Arrow and Vekoma were the only ones to free float the boats in the elevated sections in all their Shoot the Chutes.


Another view of the attraction upper trough.



A boat was stored next to the station and you can see the bars and seats.

In 1994, the Circus Circus Hotel-Casino in Las Vegas, NV opened the Grand Slam Canyon indoor theme park. Built around a large artificial mountain under a pink dome, one of the park’s flagship attraction was the Rim Runner. Rim Runner was built on the mountain and featured a 65 feet climb followed by a float past an animatronic tipping rock. It then went up a small double conveyor belt and then dived down the 60 feet tall double down drop.

Golden Horse:

In 2006, for the Happy Valley Beijing (Beijing, China) theme park, Chinese ride manufacturer Golden Horse designed a new ride called the Chute Rides. It is a large Shoot the Chute style water ride that use roller coaster chain lifts to take the boats up the first hill and the boats generate the largest waves available right now. 12 or 20 passengers boats are offered and a ratcheting lap bar per row is used to restrain the riders.

Victory Kingdom Golden Horse Splash Flex

This is a Chute Rides JL-15F present at Victory Kingdom in Wuquing, Tianjin, China. The gravity section is where the mountain is.

It is a very flexible ride system, as at least two installations feature uphill segments, thus turning them into water roller coasters. It is available with heights of either 55 or 101 feet and Golden Horse will customize the layout to fit the site.

Golden Horse 1

This is Flume Ride at EDA Theme Park in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. It features two lift hills and a 31 meters drop at the end. It is a JL-30B Chute Rides.

Golden Horse 2

You can see the first of two downhill gravity sections.


You can see the two lifts cross each others in this picture.


The chain lift tension assembly at the bottom of the first lift.


The first lift.


The station and gravity block section use large rubber tires connected to motors to stop and move the boats.



The 20 seats boat features a large lap bar per row.

Chimelong Paradise (Guangzhou, China) features two Golden Horse water rides: a Shoot the Chute and a River Rapids. The River Rapids will be presented in a further article and their Shoot the Chute is a Golden Horse JL-15B due to its 15 meters (49 feet) drop height. It has a fairly standard layout and has two boats.

Chimelong Golden Horse Shoot The Chute (1)

The whole layout.

Chimelong Golden Horse Shoot The Chute (2)

The loading station. One boat was in use during our visit.

Chimelong Golden Horse Shoot The Chute (3)

The upper trough is dry and the boat coast on gravity toward the drop. The water is only present on the drop.

Chimelong Golden Horse Shoot The Chute (4)

The boat coming down the drop.

Chimelong Golden Horse Shoot The Chute (5)

For a 49 feet tall Shoot the Chute, the resulting wave is huge.

Chimelong Golden Horse Shoot The Chute (12)

View of the boat arriving in the water from the bridge.

Chimelong Golden Horse Shoot The Chute (13)

The wave from the bridge.

Chimelong Golden Horse Shoot The Chute (11)

The chain lift start in the water.

Chimelong Golden Horse Shoot The Chute (10)

The lift chain and notice the wooden guide boards. The total ride height is 54 feet with the trough reaching 52 feet high.

Chimelong Golden Horse Shoot The Chute (7)

The second boat of the attraction. The chain dog is on the right on the bottom and the double anti roll backs on the left from our vantage point.

Chimelong Golden Horse Shoot The Chute (9)

The lap bars here do not have the extra padding present on the EDA Theme Park model.

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