SuperBowl ready for slide time
Growing middle-aged disgracefully.
Queue-jumping for a turn on the latest ride in town.
These things I do, because I can.
The green and white SuperBowl installed at the Lido Aquatic Centre just in time for the school holidays is actually the proof we needed to disprove a theory – that if something seems to be too good to be true, it usually is.
That was certainly the sceptical mood into which QEII Hydroslides director Grant Brenton launched his offer 18 months ago.
He approached the Palmerston North City Council during the hearing of submissions on the Annual Plan.
What he suggested, in short, was give me some space and some water, say $300,000 worth, and I'll provide $2 million worth of gear – a speed slide, a SuperBowl and an AquaPlay bunch of giant water toys.
The councillors, bless them, agreed, if not unanimously, at least decisively.
From the start, the city council reporter was intrigued by what was then a big pink bowl.
I loved the idea of whirling around it until gravity took its course and dropped me down the plughole.
Despite my loathing of heights and dislike of appearing in public in my togs, I felt I ought to have a go.
But once having voiced the thought, my anxieties mounted.
I felt people just wanted to have a laugh at my expense – like the notion of me in my togs having fun was entertaining in ways I might not entirely appreciate.
I was not sure it was the sort of thing a grown-up should do without a child.
And I imagined there might be some kind of ladder to get to the top. I do not like ladders. I do not like being 14-odd metres above the ground.
The best news was the fact that the biscuit-tube-thingies that you sit in to ride the bowl come in tandems as well as singles.
I did not have to face my fears alone. Her Graceful Tallness returned recently from university, and is still technically my child, and a teenager, and occasionally does as I tell her.
My lovely companion.
We popped in to the Lido on a day that was grey, cool, and a little bit drizzly.
It was the sort of day that would make you wonder, why would anyone think a huge investment in water play activities would work in this climate?
Why not abandon this plan and come back one day if the sun ever comes out, I thought.
But I was making excuses again.
The misgivings I had about stairs and heights were immediately allayed.
The approach to the top of the slides is solid concrete, huge and wide, with hand rails and sides.
No problem at all.
Hopping into the mode of transport is not the most dignified of manoeuvres, but the lifeguards are comfortingly helpful and patient.
And then we were off.
Who was that screaming? Oh yes, it was me. Her Graceful Tallness insisted it was not scary enough to warrant a scream.
But she had plenty to say as we lost momentum and slumped to a stall on the wrong side of the plug hole. Probably because I wasn't leaning back enough, or because the manufacturers imagined kids in tandems and big people going solo.
It required some arm and leg work to navigate towards the exit, and as the current caught us again, it spun us around to complete the ride backwards.
By the third ride, I had eased back into a casual "la la la" song in place of the screams, and we managed to end up facing forward.
And no, I was not tempted to have a go on the speed slide.
Technically, it is hardly a slide.
People go over the edge, and drop almost vertically, barely touching the slide until it starts curving into a landing ramp with enough water at the bottom to slow their momentum.
The AquaPlay did look fun, but I felt I needed someone who might fit under the height rules on the noticeboard.
Her Graceful Tallness towers over the board.
And so, the mission was completed, and my daily dose of joy had been injected.
The rides are a spectacular addition to the Lido, with about 1000 people having played in the first week, but a great many more are expected during the holidays, especially if summer arrives.
- Manawatu Standard