For nearly three decades, I’ve provided refinishing services to resorts and amusement parks for ski lifts and roller coasters. My work has provided quite a few interesting stories (if you want to hear more, just ask) but an experience I’ll always remember happened one sunny Saturday 8 years ago while my team and I were re-coating a roller coaster at a park in the Midwest.
That evening we saw this company drop off three big excavators, a dump truck, and a road grader in the gravel overflow parking lot. We thought that was pretty weird since heavy equipment isn’t the sort of thing you normally see showing up for work at a water park in the middle of the season.
Sunday morning, two of the excavators started tearing down these giant 54-inch tube slides coming off a 60-foot tower while the third dug a big hole in the parking lot. The dump truck then moved the crushed-up slide pieces and dumped them into the hole in the parking lot. By 9 p.m. Sunday evening, the slides were gone, the hole had been filled back in, and the parking lot had been re-graded.
After getting over my initial shock, I went and talked to the park owners. The slides, which had only been running for two years, had been disposed of due to design issues. I hate seeing opportunities for fun wasted so I bought several used water slide sections and built a slide into the lake in Connecticut where we were living at the time.
As soon as we got the water slide up and running, boaters began stopping to check it out. I can still hear the screams of the skiers and wake boarders as they sank into 57-degree water in their shorty wetsuits while their drivers asked about our slide. They would say, “Is that a waterslide? Can we go down it?” Yup & Yup!
I knew I was onto something more than just a fun water slide for my kids when the skiers and wake boarders stopped riding to come try out the slide. After 5 days of talking about (and sharing) our slide, I said to my wife, “This is a business. We can take the old slides the other guys are chopping up and burying, we can refurbish them, and then we can put them in at people’s lakes and pools. We’ll be able to create awesome rides homeowners and small park owners wouldn’t be able to build new.”
There’s four things I LOVE about re-using water park slides:
- The big water parks get rid of something they can’t use
- The earth doesn’t have to support another giant load of trash
- You and your family (or group) get the fun of riding a super cool water slide whenever you want
- I'm making a difference even if it's only one slide section at a time
With refurbished water slides, you get a completely unique ride that doesn’t exist anywhere else besides your own backyard. It’s not almost the swimming pool slide you dreamed of. It’s not sort of the waterslide you pictured going into the lake from your dock. It’s exactly the slide you want on your own property.
I know I’m not the only person who cares about recycling—there are lots of people passionate about re-using and repurposing stuff. I really think that’s great, but it still doesn’t stop me from smiling anytime someone starts talking about their 100 year-old recycled wood floor or their high-end re-used furnishings.
Sure they’re unique, but you don’t get an awesome ride out of it! I know putting in used stuff isn’t always the best approach, but with used slide sections, we can create WAY better used pool slides than what you can buy new.
If you’d like to learn more about our slide recycling process, check out the used water park slide recycling section of our site OR if you have an awesome idea for a water slide at your place, please get in touch—we’d love to help make your dream a reality.