Action Park was New Jersey's deadliest theme park. At least six people died from ride mishaps. So, of course it was the location of one of the most elusive water slides in existence: the loopty-loop water slide. This slide is so controversial, so ridiculously cool that it was only open for ONE MONTH in the summer of 1985. Imagine all the neon bathing suits and hairspray that went down that slide. It was called the Canonball Loop. It was ridiculously-cool and insanely-dangerous.
The one ride that has come to symbolize Action Park and its extreme thrillseeking was almost never used. In the mid-1980s GAR built an enclosed water slide, not unusual for that time, and indeed the park already had several. But for this one they decided to build, at the end, a complete vertical loop of the kind more commonly associated with roller coasters. Employees have reported they were offered hundred-dollar bills to test it. Tom Fergus, who was "one of the idiots", said "$100 did not buy enough booze to drown out that memory."
It was opened for one month in summer 1985 before it was closed at the order of the state's Advisory Board on Carnival Amusement Ride Safety, a highly unusual move at the time. One worker told a local newspaper that "there were too many bloody noses and back injuries" from riders, and it was widely rumored, and reported in Weird NJ, that some of the test dummies sent down before it opened had been dismembered. A rider also reportedly got stuck at the top of the loop due to insufficient water pressure, and a hatch had to be built at the bottom of the slope to allow for future extractions. The ride supposedly reopened a few more times over the years. In summer 1995 it opened for several days before a few more injuries forced another shutdown. Those who rode it have said that more safety measures were taken than was otherwise common at the park. Riders were weighed and hosed down with cold water, required to remove jewelry, and then carefully instructed in how they had to position their bodies to complete the ride. For the remainder of the park's existence, it remained visible near the entrance of Waterworld. It was dismantled shortly after the park closed and has never been rebuilt.
According to the most commonly cited reports (Action Park history traffics in folk memories, not hard facts), it was open, for all of one month in the Summer of 1985, before mounting injuries saw it shut down by the New Jersey Carnival Amusement Ride Safety Advisory Board. (It also appears to have been open for brief periods before that.) There has not been, to my knowledge, any actual video of the slide in action. Until now.
Here are some crazy testimonials via io9:
"I remember one person getting stuck in the tube because instread of riding down with her feet crossed and arms folded across her chest she put them out and braked then didn't have the speed to get around. That is why they built the hatch at the bottom of the slope."
"A few people did similar things or for some other reason did not get sufficient speed and they landed face first on the inside of the top of the loop. One person injured his two upper front teeth when he did this and had them dig into the soft lining (it was like wrestling mat material). The biggest problem is that sand and dirt and such would collect at the bottom of the loop and the people would start coming out with abrasions over their entire backs. Then they would have to close it down and clean it out."
"I was one of the idiots that accepted you-know-who's crisp $100 bill to test run it. That was my last ride. $100 did not buy enough booze to drown out that memory."
"I vividly remember the sensation of my feet going up as I realized "Here comes the loop!" I remember being ecstatic when I had cleared the pinnacle of the loop, however the worst was yet to come. Apparently my sub 100 lbs. body was not heavy enough for the ride and rather the sticking to the slide on the back end of the loop, I actually fell to the bottom of the loop. I smacked the back of my head on the slide and was nearly knocked unconscious. It was then I saw light as I sputtered out of the exit of the tube [...] I was able to orient myself enough to get to my feet and smile with pride as the stunned crowd cheered for the little kid who just went down the most dangerous water slide of all time. It was closed again within minutes and although I went to the park a dozen times after that day I never saw that slide opened again."
What say you? Was this the world's most insane water slide? Leave your comments in the...um, comments.