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May 24, 2011
Geoff Rogers might have the most fun job imaginable — if you do not mind precipitous heights, hair-raising drops and speeds that rival NASCAR.
Rogers, vice president at Morey’s Piers, is in charge of cultivating new thrills at the three amusement piers that line the Boardwalk in the Wildwoods. He travels the globe in search of the next best thing.
To that end, the Surfside Pier at 26th Avenue this week is launching “it,” a pendulum ride that combines extreme heights, speeds and lots of air time in a small package. The three piers open for the season at 6 p.m. Friday.
During his travels, Rogers came upon this twisting ride that looks a little like a giant tire-swing.
“We were looking for a new thrill ride — something really exciting,” he said. “We rode rides like this in Europe and the U.S. at fairs and carnivals.”
Riders face positive and negative gravity forces in the ride. And because the 24 seats spin around a center axis, each pendulous swing presents a new angle for the rider.
Rogers went to the Netherlands to see a new lap-bar design that added to the ride’s zero-gravity effect.
“You feel on the edge,” he said. “It’s not an experience you get every day.”
Morey’s President Will Morey said the ride’s light package will make “it” one of the brightest attractions on the pier. The ride takes its visual cues from Germany’s Oktoberfest.
“You start by asking, ‘What type of experience are we missing or do we want to improve on?’” he said.
Unlike amusement parks in rural areas, Morey’s Piers have to be especially conscious of space. Many of the park’s towering attractions, “it” included, have small footprints that take advantage of the unlimited vertical room.
“That’s a big deal for us. We have to use this space carefully,” Morey said.
The Surfside Pier moved some of its rides around this year to make room for a new wooden roller coaster coming in 2013. The coaster is expected to rival the Adventure Pier’s Great White as one of the Boardwalk’s most popular rides.
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