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Action Park – Most Dangerous Water Park of All Time

HBO’s documentary Class Action Park highlights what was the most dangerous water park in America.

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I recently watched Class Action Park, which is a retrospective look back at one of the most infamous waterparks of all time. The film was a time capsule that brought me back to my days growing up in Brooklyn, NY.

No summer was ever complete without a trip to Vernon, New Jersey for a day at Action Park. Years later, I realize that each visit was always a crap shoot to see who would come out unscathed. Would someone end up with a bloodied nose after getting on one of the rides? Who would get scraped up on the Alpine Slide, a notorious no-brakes wheeled ride down a concrete-and-fiberglass track that invited calamity at every turn?

What Made Action Park So Dangerous

I could count the number of times I almost drowned in their massive freshwater pool that featured waves so high, lifeguards were required to save more than two dozen people each day.

Over the years, Action Park, had developed many nicknames. Locals referred to it as “Traction Park. It was without a single doubt the most dangerous water park that ever existed.

Action Park was one of the first modern water parks in the United States, opening in Vernon, New Jersey in 1978. Gene Mulvihill, the company’s founder and CEO, believed that amusement park guests should have control over their experience. He imagined the type of theme park where customers could control the rides, including how fast and high they went. Nothing unsafe about that at all, right?

Without a doubt, the craziest non-water ride in the entire park was the Alpine Slide. This was basically a huge track devised to rip people’s flesh off that was disguised as a kid’s ride. I have vivid recollections of riding down this incredibly long, cement-and-fiberglass-filled track in a wheeled cart to my impending doom.

Alpine Slide - Action Park - Vernon, NJ

Theoretically each rider was in charge of their own speed but the ride would constantly malfunction. Some carts didn’t have brakes, so you couldn’t slow down as you sped down this precarious concrete slope. Others carts had brakes which were locked, causing riders behind to inevitably slam into the ones in front of them. That ride, would ultimately become responsible for the park’s first fatality. According to New Jersey statistics, the Alpine Slide was responsible for at least 26 catastrophic head injuries and 14 fractures.

Some of the rides were more original than others. One “ride” consisted of a pair of diving cliffs, while another called Tarzan’s Swing involved swinging off a platform with a rope into the middle of a lake. The water however was so cold that lifeguards frequently had to save people from drowning. One park visitor had a heart attack after experiencing the swing.

Another one of the ill-devised attractions was the Tidal Wave Pool. This quickly became one of the park’s most infamous attractions. It was one of the first ones of its kind to open in the United States and rapidly developed a reputation for being the park’s scariest “ride”. It was dubbed “The Grave Pool” because it was filled with fresh water rather than sea water, which made patrons far less buoyant and put swimmers on expert mode trying to survive waves that reached 40 inches at full blast. On busy weekends, the dozen or so lifeguards on duty rescued an average of 30 people a day.

Tidal Pool in Action Park - Vernon, NJ

For me though, the one ride at the park that was most likely to take you out was Cannonball Falls. This ride was an enclosed water slide that ended with a 10 foot drop into the middle of a huge pool. I can remember once landing flat on my back and hearing every visitor watching say “Ohhhhhhh” at the same exact time when I hit the water.

The state of New Jersey would ultimately wind up shutting down that ride for good in 2014 after a spate of injuries drew the attention of park regulators. But that in itself was not nearly the scariest ride in the park. That title would have to go to it’s cousin Cannonball Loop, which I never rode on but is steeped in urban myth because this insane water slide was only open a month before it too was shut down.

The Cannonball Loop, was an enclosed water slide with a complete vertical loop. According to one urban legend I heard, they used a dummy for a test run of the ride and it came back without a head.

Gene Mulvihill offered park staff $100 to try out new rides, including the Cannonball Loop, and despite employees getting bloody noses and bruises, he went ahead and opened the attraction anyway. One person actually got stuck at the top of the loop, prompting the park to construct a hatch to facilitate future rescues.

The Advisory Board on Carnival Amusement Ride Safety shut it down just a month after it opened, after numerous injuries were reported. Mulvihill’s son confesses that they “never completely perfected that one”.

At the end of the day what made Action Park so successful was it’s “anything goes” mentality that made the water park so popular. I remember people drinking freely and kids running around the park without any adult supervision. In reality, many of the numerous injuries reported came from visitors who were inebriated.

Shut Down & Rebirth

In 1996, Action Park was shut down. But by that time, the park had been responsible for six deaths, including three drownings in the Tidal Wave Pool and the electrocution of a 27-year-old man on the Kayak Experience when his kayak fell over and he came into contact with water that had a loose wire contacting it.

Mulvihill headed a committee to reclaim the park in 2010. Mountain Creek Waterpark, which reopened in 2014 under it’s new name, now advertising a trained lifeguard team and stringent, up-to-date safety measures.

Class Action Park

Recently HBO made a documentary called Class Action Park which brought back a lot of memories. I thoroughly enjoyed the trip down memory lane but haven’t been back to the park since it reopened. Nothing will ever be able to match the crazy thrills we got on a hot summer day at Action Park. Those memories will endure for everyone that grew up during that generation.

4.6/5 - (74 votes)

Editor in Chief of Pool Magazine - Joe Trusty is also CEO of PoolMarketing.com, the leading digital agency for the pool industry. An internet entrepreneur, software developer, author, and marketing professional with a long history in the pool industry. Joe oversees the writing and creative staff at Pool Magazine. To contact Joe Trusty email info@poolmagazine.com or call (916) 467-9118 during normal business hours. For submissions, please send your message to submissions@poolmagazine.com

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Canal-Style Pool in China Goes Viral

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Baodun Lake Hushan Hot Spring Resort - A Series of Villas with a Connected Canal Style Pool have gone viral on social media.

As an avid observer of interesting pools and spas, we’re keen to point out interesting projects that are going viral. One huge canal-style pool that is actually a shared pool experience connecting a series of villas at a resort in China, has captured the imagination of viewers on social media and is being shared all over the internet.

Travel the globe and you’re bound to see some incredible sights. This is especially true when traveling to China. A visit to Yingde, a historical city in the Guangdong Province of China will bring you to a picturesque locale better well known for its world-famous black tea than its resorts. Located approximately 10 miles from Yingde Railway Station sits an incredible sight to behold and one of the more interesting footnotes on any traveler’s log.

Yingde China - Guandong Province of China

Baodun Lake also known as “the water city of Venice in Guangdong”, is where you’ll find the Baodun Lake Hushan Hot Spring Resort. One of the more remarkable features is the gigantic canal-style pool which encircles the entire property of this charming family resort.

Baodun Lake Hushan Hot Spring Resort - Canal Style Pool
Photo Credit: Trip.com

The swimming lane which stretches from the backyard of each building in the resort is 4.2 meters wide (13.7 feet), 1.2 meters deep (3.9 feet) and 1.3 kilometers long (0.8 miles).

Aerial drone footage of Baodun Lake Hushan Hot Spring Resort.
Photo Credit: YouTube

There has been plenty of footage taken of both the resort and the pool, however one of the more popular videos that we’ve seen lately is the aerial drone footage that is being shared on YouTube.

While resorts with these types of pools are becoming incredibly popular in places like Southeast Asia, they still have yet to really catch on in the west. Perhaps because of the fact that our ideal of the over-water bungalow experience is more in line with places like Fiji.

Have you visited any resorts like this? What was the experience like? How much do you think a pool like this costs to maintain? Tell us in the comments below.

5/5 - (1 vote)
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Flying Pool on Superyacht Will Take Your Breath Away

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Superyacht Flying Pool Concept Will Take Your Breath Away

The Apache is a luxury superyacht concept with a flying pool concept that is taking social media by storm. The incredible yacht design was officially unveiled at this year’s Monaco Yacht Show. It’s larger than it’s predecessor Olokun at 250 feet. This vessel is equally as remarkable, owing to the skill of designer Alberto Mancini.

Apache luxury yacht
Apache Superyacht features 3 different pools

Flying Pool on Superyacht is Remarkable

Unquestionably the most striking feature of the Apache aside from its superstructure inspired by modern architecture is its fascinating flying pool design. The floating pool, which is 31 feet long, is suspended between the upper and main decks. It features a glass bottom, which creates an incredible floating effect. The glass pool floor allows natural light to enter the gym and lounge below the pool. Since the master suite has direct access to the pool deck, the Apache might just be the first megayacht to include this feature.

Luxury Superyacht design

Giuseppe Mazza, Tankoa’s sales and marketing manager called the “flying pool” a “visionary idea.” Of course, a luxury superyacht with just one pool is so passe. Aside from its floating pool, the Apache has two additional pools located in the aft section of the ship. The vessel in the Beach Club is a floodable infinity pool with glass walls and folding side terraces.

Luxury Pool on board the Apache Superyacht

A Superyacht Designed For Outdoor Living

When describing this feature of the yacht, designer Alberto Mancini said “I wanted to avoid the typical cave dark effect that today we see in many beach clubs. Indeed, Apache’s beach club design is not just an area for accessing the sea. It is not only to be enjoyed only when anchored during the day. Its fully integrated with the main deck salon. It can be used day or night as an extension of the outdoor living space.”

Apache Superyacht flying pool

The flying pool is a standout feature in this outstanding vessel. Swimming in the elegantly suspended pool is like flying over water. The designers equate it to swimming through the yacht. The flying pool is located just above the bow gym atrium. Consequently, they’ve created a tastefully appointed space for owners and guests to work out or relax while taking in the view.

Without a doubt, luxury pools and superyachts are now intrinsically tied together. It should be noted that a second luxury yacht with a unique hole design is also making the rounds on social media.

Shape luxury superyacht pool

Lazzarini Design Studio’s aptly named Shape superyacht features its own glass-bottom infinity pool. The design features a distinctive hollow-shaped sun deck where swimmers can be observed from below. Shape runs on hydrogen propulsion technology making it a 100% clean energy-powered vessel.

View of superyacht pool from below

4.8/5 - (36 votes)
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Pool Cleaning Videos Popular on TikTok & Instagram

Experts say Pool Cleaning videos trigger A.S.M.R.

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Pool Cleaning ASMR Videos Get Hundres of Millions of Views - Miles Laflin is a TikTok Star

Pool cleaning companies are creating a huge following on social media. Researchers say they’re getting millions of views on their pool cleaning videos because these kinds of short films satisfy a deeper element within our human nature.

Sociologist and City University senior lecturer Stephanie Alice Baker told the New York Times that pool cleaning videos have a well-established trick of the trade that simply make for really compelling videos. She says that the shock factor of witnessing the complete transformation of a dirty pool into a clean one is something that is very satisfying to viewers on an emotional level.

One popular pool cleaning professional Miles Laflin, also known as The Pool Guy is located in the U.K. and has racked up hundreds of thousands of subscribers and followers along with over 69 million video views on YouTube alone. He’s equally if not more popular on Instagram and TikTok.

“It’s long been known in the fitness industry that one of the most successful ways to build an audience is a before-and-after post,” Dr. Baker said.

She also mentioned that one of the videos’ most appealing aspects was the way it affected the audience’s feelings.

When a pool company is able to revitalize a filthy pool, folks watching may feel some sort of sense of accomplishment, according to Dr. Baker. Baker suggested that viewers may get a sense of success, order, and mastery while watching these types of videos.

It’s nothing new for pools to take the spotlight on social media. We’ve written time and again about videos involving pools that set social media on fire. The fact that there may be some type of therapeutic benefit from watching them is pretty new information though.

@thep00lguy The transformation though! @poolboyb4nners #thep00lguy #hollayaboy #123PandoraME #fyp #satisfying ♬ original sound – thepoolguyml

This new short-form video emphasis that TikTok focuses on has helped propel this particular video genre to new heights with a younger demographic. More than 45 billion people have watched videos with the hashtag #oddlysatisfying on TikTok.

Researchers like Dr. Richard believe that for our ancestors, witnessing someone work with their hands taught them a skill. Richard believes watching films of individuals working activates a region of our brain that, according to him, keeps us captivated.

Dr. Richard thinks that we are hard-wired to look at people’s hands when they are teaching us or explaining something because subconsciously we believe that doing so will help us survive.

Richard said watching pool service videos and the action of someone working with their hands while providing professional advice, coupled with a soothing voice and the sound of flowing water triggers an autonomous sensory meridian response. A.S.M.R videos are said to provide a relaxing, even sedative sensation. Viewers claim the feeling begins on the scalp and moves down the body.

Miles Laflin - @thep00lguy has become an overnight celebrity with his pool cleaning videos.
Miles Laflin – @thep00lguy has become an overnight celebrity with his pool cleaning videos.

While we can’t vouch for the tingly feelings, we can say without a doubt that some of these pool cleaning videos are absolutely mesmerizing to watch. Today Miles Laflin has gone from a run-of-the-mill pool guy to being approached on the street daily for autographs and selfies by followers. Despite the fame his videos get, he’s not a rock star or a famous athlete. All Miles had to do to get famous was to start cleaning pools.

Photo Credits: ThePoolGuy.uk

4.8/5 - (15 votes)
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