FlowRider at aquatic center monon
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Waterpark Adventure- How the FlowRider worked for Monon Community Center

The original intent of CCPR’s water park, aptly named “The Waterpark,” was to serve as a local attraction for Carmel residents. While a high cost-recovery goal was always planned for the facility, prior to opening its gates in May 2007, The Waterpark—along with the adjacent community center—was given a 100-percent cost-recovery mandate. Therefore, attendance and smart business decisions became even more critical. This mandate drove staff members to think bigger and bolder than at a typical community water park. Therefore, after the first five years, the department began the process of swapping out standard features in order to build The Waterpark into a regional destination. CCPR needed to willingly invest in and provide the community with opportunities they couldn’t receive within surrounding communities.

One of the first spaces looked at within The Waterpark was an open lawn area. Original designs recommended a “Teen Spray Pad” attraction. While that seemed like a good idea, as 2012 approached, staff members felt that a spray pad may not be robust enough to attract a wide-ranging demographic.

To be successful, staff members and the park board needed to be bold in their approach. After research and site visits, they proposed installing a FlowRider, a simulated surf machine with waves rushing at 30 mph. The open lawn space was the perfect size for a double FlowRider, pump house, and restroom facility, and supporting venue space for spectators. With a total project investment of just over $2 million, the first wave simulator in Indiana was opened. Who ever thought one would talk about surfing in Indiana?

During the 2012 season, day-pass sales and revenue increased about 45 percent from the previous year, and The Waterpark experienced its highest overall attendance numbers. That season, CCPR saw visitations from 73 of Indiana’s 92 counties, 48 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, and 14 countries. While the park saw an increased interest in teen attendance, it also observed an unexpected surge in adult riders. Riding had become a family experience.

The FlowRider is a skill-based activity. The community has fully embraced the attraction, even creating a group of riders locally known as CCPR’s “Flow Family,” with members ranging in age from 13 to some in their 60s. To this day, the Flow Family still helps create a buzz around the feature by promoting it to local friends, family, and other flow boarders they meet while visiting other FlowRider attractions around the world.

To keep enthusiasm high, CCPR also has implemented Adventure Aquatics, which includes open flow—a free time in the evening when the public can practice skills—as well as providing group and private lessons. Guests keep coming back to polish and show off newfound skills. To ensure all park visitors feel valued and welcomed regardless of their abilities or differences, CCPR has built a very successful, adaptive FlowRider program.

Thanks to this award-winning program, youth, teens, and adults with disabilities have learned how to surf. CCPR was the first park to offer an adaptive division within the national FLOW Tour surfing competition. With the adaptive FlowRider program, these participants have access to a fun and inclusive environment where they can learn a new skill and build confidence.

The addition of the FlowRider has set a precedent for future additions and changes that will focus on being adventure and/or destination-oriented.


Source: Parks & Rec Business, Water Park Adventures, written by Eric Mehl, Recreation & Facilities Director Carmel Clay, IN
Aquatic Development Group