Forget cars: this Ferris wheel waterslide is German engineering at its finest

Would you rather ride on a water slide or a Ferris wheel? Tough choice — but if German water slide designer Wiegand Maelzer has its way, you might not have to choose between the two. The company is currently developing a gargantuan waterpark ride that offers the best of both worlds.


The Slidewheel, as its called, is a glorious hybrid that’s part water slide, part rotating Ferris wheel. What started out as a small body slide has evolved into a monster attraction that’s 79 feet (24 meters) high and weighs 130 tons. What’s more, the Slidewheel’s tube has a diameter of 9 feet (2.70 meters) — meaning you can ride through it on giant four-person rafts that slide, swing, and rotate as they pass through the tube’s 459-foot (140-meter) length.

Rainer Maelzer, co-founder and managing director of Wiegand Maelzer revealed to Attractions Magazine that the ride was inspired by a six-year-old boy from Switzerland in 2012, who had a vision for a rotating waterslide. The engineers and designers at Wiegand Maelzer quickly embraced the idea, and have since patented their unique design.

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“The product must be grasped both in its complexity and its simplicity,” Maelzer explained. “It is plainly not possible for two rafts to collide in the tube, unless one of the teams is magically able to fly! Definitely, it is distinctive and unprecedented that a water ride and its supporting structure are rotating. One can have a tremendous influence on riders by simply adjusting the speed. The Slidewheel can be operated as a nice and mild family slide and, in the next minute, when the speed rises by five percent, as a pure adrenaline experience. This is unique and outstanding. One attraction can be operated as three different rides at least.”

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The total duration of the Slidewheel ride is about two minutes, but it’s a thrilling couple of minutes as the giant contraption rotates at a maximum speed of 30 seconds per turn. Riders have reported that the ride seems twice as long as its actual duration.

Wiegand Maelzer GmbH has been in the waterpark business since 1975 and has completed over 3,000 projects — including Therme Erding, the world’s largest thermal indoor waterpark. In its trade, the company is best known for its bold combination of stainless steel and fiberglass-reinforced plastic to create completely new configurations for waterpark slides. The company has reportedly signed at least three deals already, with the first Slidewheel set to appear in China in 2018, followed by another at Therme Erding near Munich, Germany.

For more, you can check out the Slidewheel Testing and Construction Time-Lapse.