The Beachcomber

Rainbow Rapids Racer Slide Newest Reason to Visit Thundering Surf

Jul 13, 2018

Thundering Surf Water Park in Beach Haven has debuted its newest addition: the Rainbow Rapids Racer Slide. Comprised of four separate but adjoining slides, with two big drops, the ride has been an instant hit with the park’s patrons. The name “Rainbow Rapids” was chosen with the public’s help, via a contest that allowed individuals to submit potential names.

According to park owner Chris Mesanko, the slide has had a “great reception” – a statement supported by Robert Lassonde, 7, of Surf City, who rode the slide on Wednesday, July 4. Despite the occasionally long line, the ride was “really fun” and worth riding multiple times. Following his July 4th trip, Robert declared the Rainbow Rapids Racer his new favorite ride.

Rainbow Rapids is said to be one of Long Beach Island’s tallest recreational structures, after Barnegat Lighthouse and Fantasy Island’s Giant Wheel. Other attractions that draw visitors to the park include the Lazy River, the children’s play area and a variety of water slides. The Rainbow Rapids is framed by the water park itself and the adjacent Adventure Golf mini golf course, which was awarded “Best Golf in NJ” honors by the Asbury Park Press, Atlantic City Press and NJ Monthly Magazine.

Since opening in 1977, Thundering Surf has striven to provide fresh, innovative attractions every summer for visitors to Long Beach Island.

For Mesanko, the key to a successful entertainment venue is variety. It is essential to “constantly improve,” he said. “You always want the new things.” Engineered by Ron Sprague, the slide took one year to design and another two years to install in order to ensure a perfect fit. The majority of work was done over the winter to avoid interruptions during the summer season. Nestled among the park’s preexisting tube slides and other attractions, it is clear why such specification was necessary. Mesanko compared the process of installation to “10 people in a telephone booth.” A unique “engineering marvel,” the slides were designed specifically for, and to fit, Thundering Surf without clogging walkways or interrupting the other rides.

Prior to the unveiling of Rainbow Rapids Racer, the most recent development within the park was Cowabunga Beach in 2016, an extensive collection of slides, waterfalls and other miniature features.

Although there are no set plans in store for next summer, Mesanko guarantees Thundering Surf will “never stop” developing new attractions. This approach has kept Thundering Surf relevant and exciting for the past four decades.

The park is open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. For additional information, call 609-492-0869.

— Morgan Turner

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