ShareThis Page
World’s tallest water slide opens |

World’s tallest water slide opens

The Associated Press
| Friday, July 11, 2014 12:01 a.m
The Verrückt (German for insane) waterslide in Schlitterbahn Waterpark in Kansas City draws intrepid riders from miles around. Its 168 feet, 7 inch height makes it the world’s tallest waterslide according to the Guinness World Records. (Reuters photo)

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — The world’s tallest water slide opened on Thursday to the shrieks of riders who traveled in some cases hundreds of miles to plunge at as fast as 70 miles per hour down what the Schlitterbahn Waterpark calls “Verrückt,” the German word for insane.

“Awesome, it felt like we were in the air the whole time,” Nick Reeves, 14, the front-seat passenger for the public’s first ride on the slide, said after taking the plunge.

Reeves said he, his twin brother, Chris, and father, Troy Reeves, made the trek from Arizona to take the ride.

Verrückt stands 168 feet, 7 inches high, towering over the park and rivaling the height of Niagara Falls. Taller than the Statue of Liberty, from toe to torch, the climb to the top is 264 steps.

Riders are strapped into a raft that has room for three people and dives 17 stories in a near vertical descent before getting propelled back up five stories by rushing water and plunging a second time to its end.

The descent takes 15 to 20 seconds.

“It was breathtaking,” said Paige Rife, 17, of Olathe, Kan. “It was actually steeper than I thought. I screamed all the way down.”

The slide is nearly 5 feet taller than the previous record holder, a slide in Rio de Janeiro called Mount Kilimanjaro, the Guinness Book of World Records said on its website.

Operators postponed the opening of the Kansas City, Kan., slide three times to ensure safety.

Several riders said the raft felt like it traveled above the rushing water. Ride designer John Schooley said, however, the raft touches water the entire trip down the Fiberglas slide.

Riders must be at least 54 inches tall to take the plunge and are weighed to make sure rafts are run with a combined weight of 400 pounds to 550 pounds.

A net surrounds the slide on its descent, not out of concern that riders could fly out, but so they won’t try to climb out if the raft stops for some reason, Schooley said.

A sign warns people they should ride Verrückt only if they are in good physical and mental condition. Riders said it felt safe, if a bit scary.

“Insane is a good name for it,” said Mike VanElsen of Kansas City.

Kansas City Mayor Mark Holland, who rode in the second raft of the morning, insisted his screams on the way down the slide were of joy, not fear.

“It’s ridiculous,” Holland said moments after his run. “You gotta think, why are you doing this? But then you cast common sense aside.”

Categories: News
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.