About Subscribe Submit news Get in touch
 
Home Opinion In depth Video LIVE news Interviews Company Profiles Events diary Jobs
‘A first of its kind experience’: SeaWorld’s Jonathan Smith on operator’s upcoming Pipeline surf coaster | Planet Attractions
     

In depth

‘A first of its kind experience’: SeaWorld’s Jonathan Smith on operator’s upcoming Pipeline surf coaster

The highly-anticipated Pipeline surf coaster is coming to SeaWorld Orlando this spring. SeaWorld’s vice president of rides and engineering, Jonathan Smith, spoke to Planet Attractions about the project






One of Orlando’s most anticipated new attractions is set to open in the spring, with ‘Pipeline: The Surf Coaster’ coming to SeaWorld in 2023.

Reaching speeds of up to 60mph (97kmph) and a maximum height of 110ft (33.5m), the 2,950ft (899.2m) track takes riders through a series of twists and turns as they “ride the waves” in a first-of-its-kind experience.

An innovation from rollercoaster manufacturer B&M, Pipeline creates a distinctly different ride action with its flexible standing position. The coaster is designed to look and feel like the rider is using a surfboard, with the ride’s restraints rising and falling to mimic the sensation of surfing on a wave. The ride’s inversions have also been designed to mimic the movements made by surfers on a wave, with five airtime movements and a ‘wave curl’ inversion.

Pipeline isn’t the first B&M coaster to come to SeaWorld Orlando, with the park also featuring its Mako and Manta coasters. The new attraction will join them in Spring 2023, with construction currently on target to meet that deadline. Pipeline will be SeaWorld Orlando’s seventh coaster.

As part of a plan to focus more on the ride side of its business following major changes over the last several years in relation to its animals, SeaWorld is planning to invest further into new rides at its parks in the coming years. The company is also planning to invest around US$200m (€189.7m, £163.5m) in 2023 alone in upgrades to animal habitats, refurbishing and renovating restaurant and retail spaces and updating infrastructure and technology.

The new attraction comes at a time when SeaWorld is seeking a visitor boost, after Hurricane Ian saw the park miss out on an estimated 90,000 visitors, with Q3 attendance tumbling by nearly 10% as a result.

Jonathan Smith, SeaWorld’s vice president of rides and engineering, spoke to Planet Attractions about the new ride.

What is Pipeline?

“Pipeline is the world's first Surf Coaster. It's a surfing experience that we're celebrating at SeaWorld Orlando and it's going to be an incredible experience. If you're really not the type that wants to go surfing out at the beaches or out in the ocean, you can do it right here at a theme park. It's the first of its kind in the world.”

What makes this new attraction unique

“We're doing a couple of things here. So we're paying homage to the surf cultures of every era. We're celebrating the surfing, the culture and the experience. We're also inspired by joy, power and respect for the ocean. We're combining the power of the ocean with the surfing culture experience together into one attraction that really celebrates surfing.”

How was working with B&M on the project

“They've been a delight to work with through this whole attraction development experience. The product is going to be impressive, it's going to be amazing. It's going to blow many people away as to how great that surfing experience is going to be.

B&M have been a pleasure to work with through the whole design and installation phase. We're currently in installation right now so part of the ride has already been erected and construction is ongoing.”

How is construction progressing?

“It's looking really good. We're currently working on our first inversion - the wave curl - which is actually designed to be a cork alley-oop surfing manoeuvre. So you kind of invert a little bit and you change direction 360 degrees. So it's specifically designed to mimic that element. If you look at it today, that's kind of where we're at.”

How long until Pipeline opens to the public?

“So we're going to debut the experience in the spring of 2023 and as far as the first riders goes, our annual pass members will be the very first to ride before we open to the general public. We will have more details to announce in the near future.”


Theme park

 

Universal reports record earnings for 2022, driven by theme park attendance





Disney bringing major immersive experience to London, Berlin and Paris in 2023





‘The Office’ visitor interactive experience coming to Toronto in March




Industry insights



Some handy tips to get waterpark operators through the busiest time of year



Video



Children in hospital can now explore South Carolina Aquarium remotely using a robot


In Depth



Fourteen of 2023’s most anticipated museum openings



© Kazoo 5 Limited 2023
About Subscribe Get in touch
 
Opinion In depth Interviews
LIVE news Profiles Diary Video
Jobs
‘A first of its kind experience’: SeaWorld’s Jonathan Smith on operator’s upcoming Pipeline surf coaster | Planet Attractions
feature

‘A first of its kind experience’: SeaWorld’s Jonathan Smith on operator’s upcoming Pipeline surf coaster

The highly-anticipated Pipeline surf coaster is coming to SeaWorld Orlando this spring. SeaWorld’s vice president of rides and engineering, Jonathan Smith, spoke to Planet Attractions about the project





One of Orlando’s most anticipated new attractions is set to open in the spring, with ‘Pipeline: The Surf Coaster’ coming to SeaWorld in 2023.

Reaching speeds of up to 60mph (97kmph) and a maximum height of 110ft (33.5m), the 2,950ft (899.2m) track takes riders through a series of twists and turns as they “ride the waves” in a first-of-its-kind experience.

An innovation from rollercoaster manufacturer B&M, Pipeline creates a distinctly different ride action with its flexible standing position. The coaster is designed to look and feel like the rider is using a surfboard, with the ride’s restraints rising and falling to mimic the sensation of surfing on a wave. The ride’s inversions have also been designed to mimic the movements made by surfers on a wave, with five airtime movements and a ‘wave curl’ inversion.

Pipeline isn’t the first B&M coaster to come to SeaWorld Orlando, with the park also featuring its Mako and Manta coasters. The new attraction will join them in Spring 2023, with construction currently on target to meet that deadline. Pipeline will be SeaWorld Orlando’s seventh coaster.

As part of a plan to focus more on the ride side of its business following major changes over the last several years in relation to its animals, SeaWorld is planning to invest further into new rides at its parks in the coming years. The company is also planning to invest around US$200m (€189.7m, £163.5m) in 2023 alone in upgrades to animal habitats, refurbishing and renovating restaurant and retail spaces and updating infrastructure and technology.

The new attraction comes at a time when SeaWorld is seeking a visitor boost, after Hurricane Ian saw the park miss out on an estimated 90,000 visitors, with Q3 attendance tumbling by nearly 10% as a result.

Jonathan Smith, SeaWorld’s vice president of rides and engineering, spoke to Planet Attractions about the new ride.

What is Pipeline?

“Pipeline is the world's first Surf Coaster. It's a surfing experience that we're celebrating at SeaWorld Orlando and it's going to be an incredible experience. If you're really not the type that wants to go surfing out at the beaches or out in the ocean, you can do it right here at a theme park. It's the first of its kind in the world.”

What makes this new attraction unique

“We're doing a couple of things here. So we're paying homage to the surf cultures of every era. We're celebrating the surfing, the culture and the experience. We're also inspired by joy, power and respect for the ocean. We're combining the power of the ocean with the surfing culture experience together into one attraction that really celebrates surfing.”

How was working with B&M on the project

“They've been a delight to work with through this whole attraction development experience. The product is going to be impressive, it's going to be amazing. It's going to blow many people away as to how great that surfing experience is going to be.

B&M have been a pleasure to work with through the whole design and installation phase. We're currently in installation right now so part of the ride has already been erected and construction is ongoing.”

How is construction progressing?

“It's looking really good. We're currently working on our first inversion - the wave curl - which is actually designed to be a cork alley-oop surfing manoeuvre. So you kind of invert a little bit and you change direction 360 degrees. So it's specifically designed to mimic that element. If you look at it today, that's kind of where we're at.”

How long until Pipeline opens to the public?

“So we're going to debut the experience in the spring of 2023 and as far as the first riders goes, our annual pass members will be the very first to ride before we open to the general public. We will have more details to announce in the near future.”


 



© Kazoo 5 Limited 2023