There are some things that are good in theory but just don’t quite work right in-the-wild. Then there are things that are just never a good idea at any point from concept to creation, ever. Take, for example, this horrifying “water slide” that actually graced a New Jersey water park for a few brief runs in the 1980s.
That, dear readers, is the Cannonball Loop at Action Park in New Jersey and it’s creators apparently knew absolutely nothing about physics. Let me set the scene for you with a description of what it took just to get on this “ride” (from io9):
A good portion of those who wanted to were nixed because of inappropriate attire— anyone wearing anything with zippers or grommets or anything that could possibly cause a snag was turned away. Too big? Sorry, you could get stuck. Too small? Ooh, you probably won’t get up enough speed to clear the top.
And they weren’t kidding about the “getting stuck” part. The ride literally looks like it was made of some sort of pipe probably only 15-ish inches across. Look at the size of that grown man compared to the width of the water slide designed for grown men.
Oh yea, it didn’t even empty into a body of water, just a dirty mat that was hosed down … like a slip and slide that you’re catapulted on to.
But back to the ride requirements. If you were too small you couldn’t ride because you wouldn’t make it to the top of the loop. Which really just means that you would make it partially to the top of the loop then crash painfully back down to the bottom, where you could then crawl out of an escape hatch built in for this express purpose. Not joking. Even if you did manage to clear the top you still weren’t safe. Check out this rider’s story:
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.
Most of the riders were apparently park employees who were paid to test the slide. But despite no one wanting to ride Satan’s water slide … I mean Cannonball Loop … again, the park still decided to go ahead with it for a bit. Until officials walked in and shut it down like sane people.
According to the most common reports circulating around the internet, the Loop was open for one month during the summer of 1985 before being shut down by the New Jersey Carnival Amusement Ride Safety Advisory Board.
For more information and terrifying stories related to this king of bad ideas, check out the full io9 article.