Get your bikini or board shorts packed for the ride of your life – because every one of the slides in this list is going to blow your mind. Since the first waterpark appeared back in the late 1940s, designers have been pushing the boundaries to make slides higher, faster, longer and scarier. There are speed slides and spiralling vortexes and new rides only recently made possible by modern technology – including the first water coaster; a fully rotating slide-wheel; a Virtual Reality slide and a vertical loop.
Others in the past have been so extreme they’ve had to be closed down due to injuries and, well, deaths – but all these picks, at least at the time of writing, are still going strong.
1. Kilimanjaro, Brazil
Unique factor: It’s the world’s tallest slide.
At 49.9m high – 12m higher than the city’s Christ the Redeemer statue – this is not only the world’s tallest slide, it’s also reportedly the world’s fastest, with a record speed of 57mph. It takes 234 steps to reach the top, where the view is so perilous that one in 20 riders back out and walk straight back down. It briefly lost its title for two years when a similar but bigger slide called Verruckt (meaning Insane) opened in the USA but that was closed by a fatality in 2016.
2. Slide-wheel, China
Unique factor: The world’s first rotating waterslide.
This insanely disorientating slide feeds riders into a zero gravity spin in a ‘hamster wheel’ then spits them out the other side. It has to be seen to be believed – and even then it’s still hard to believe. Designed by Wiegand Maezler and opened in 2018, it releases four-person rafts into a dizzying one-and-a-half minute washing machine ride every 30 seconds and is perhaps the most spectacular waterslide ever made.
3. X-Treme Faser
Unique factor: It’s only for men and ‘not suited’ to women. This 67m-long ride, which reaches speeds of 45mph, is so ferocious that women have been banned since 2012 after several incidents caused female riders to be hospitalised by injuries to their private parts. It’s one of several extreme rides in the park – there’s also Kamikaze, with its 60-degree freefall, and High Fly, which starts 32m high and throws riders through the air onto a second slide.
4. MASSIV Monster Blaster, USA
Unique factor: It goes UP as well as down. This 21m-high slide is the world’s tallest ‘water coaster’ and it’s such a wild ride that it goes UP four times as well as down. The coaster twists, turns, drops and splashes for almost 300m and ends with a triple-drop.
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