Ready, Set, Slide!

What do 214 feet of pure, liquid awesomeness feel like when it’s 105 degrees outside and you’re zooming downhill with your arms stretched out like Superman, being sprayed by a hundred streaming water spouts and landing in a bodacious, cataclysmic splashdown?

You, too, can create a camp Slip ‘N Slide. Photo Courtesy Of Kanakuk Kamps

Answer: Cardiac Falls at Kanakuk Kamps in Branson, Mo.

Cardiac Falls is one of three Slip ‘n Slides to grace the grounds of Kanakuk in recent years.

And, as the heat indexes of the last two summers have plagued the Midwest, the onset popularity of these “monster” slides has been a huge hit.

This answers the big question among camp directors: “What do you do with 200 campers in the middle of a hot day that they haven’t done before, and will keep them coming back for more?”

Gather The Materials

To include one of these awesome slides in your camp, you’ll need:

  • A 214-foot by 12-foot sheet of vinyl
  • 428 feet of PVC pipe
  • Sand
  • Foam
  • Railroad ties
  • Water
  • A group of campers.

In constructing such a complex slide, it is helpful to have some hills on the property to gain the slope needed for the necessary speed. These will negate the need for additional fill dirt or construction.

Cardiac Falls is positioned on a 13.96-percent slope, which provides adequate speed for rider enjoyment and splashdown without getting stuck midway.

Once the slope has been set, the underlayment is put in place prior to setting the vinyl.  The underlayment consists of the following layers:

  • Dirt
  • Gravel
  • Sand
  • Foam.

The foam is 2 inches thick and spans the length of the slide to provide comfort for the rider.

Make The Slide

Perhaps the most crucial element of the slide is the vinyl. As many of you know, youth camps are hard on equipment and property due to the volume of people who pass through in a short amount of time. So, not just any old piece of plastic or vinyl will do.

Kanakuk acquires its Slip ‘n Slide vinyl from Springfield Specialty Products in Springfield, Mo.—the same company that makes the Blob.

To handle the wear-and-tear and to produce a thrilling ride for the riders, the vinyl is cut 12-feet wide with a seam in the middle. This seam results from welding the two pieces of vinyl, and is placed on the underside of the slide for rider comfort.

The width of the vinyl allows for two riders at a time to increase the thrill, and to accommodate large numbers of riders.

There wouldn’t be any enjoyment sliding down vinyl without the presence of water, but with such a long stretch of vinyl, a trickle from a hose won’t suffice. The PVC pipe, mounted along railroad ties, adorns both sides of the slide so riders are sprayed all the way down.

At the bottom of the slide, the catch pool is 8 inches deep and runs 40 feet long to provide adequate braking as well as a thrilling splashdown.

Even though the water provides adequate braking, it should be monitored for quality and safety so as not to harbor contaminants, which could harm humans. Measures to consider include chlorination or similar treatments as well as refilling the catch pool with fresh water after each use.

Set The Rules

Safety and risk management play a key role in developing any camp activity. Slip ‘n Slides are no exception.

By the very name, one key hazard is noted–slips! Slips are the leading cause of injury on this attraction, so proper footwear is required as well as observing rules for no running past the launch point. At this point, riders are required to be prone and riding in the “Superman” position.

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