For Lagoon, the answer was to go in a different direction. The Bombora coaster, which debuted with the park’s opening this past month, gets its thrills from centrifugal force rather than the feeling of free fall.
“This is unique to Lagoon. We basically designed it,” said Dick Andrew, the park’s vice president of marketing. “Our staff park engineer has made roller coasters throughout his career, worked for one of the major coaster manufacturers. He has been a part of some of the really big coasters produced around the world.”
After an initial drop, the coaster goes through turns that at times leave the rider completely sideways. The movement is designed to mimic the feeling of surfing, a feeling echoed in the beach-style music playing on the in-car speakers and the surfboard motif of the ride itself.
The ride is probably easier and less nausea-inducing than on some coasters, allowing riders a pleasant jolt without having to worry about holding on to their nachos. However, centrifugal force affects some people differently, and those who have no trouble with the highest drops might be more sensitive to it than others.
The restraint system, a padded bar system that comes down over each individual’s lap, is comfortable and secure without feeling confining. It was designed in part to allow riders to leave their arms free during the ride, and many take advantage of that fact to throw their arms up in the air in classic coaster style. However, the restraints also offer conveniently-placed hand holds for riders who would rather have something to grip as they zoom around.
The Bombora is one of the smoothest coasters Lagoon has to offer, avoiding both the rattling feeling of the park’s classic wooden coaster or the jerking feeling that can sometimes leave riders with neck or headaches after the ride is over.
Though ride signs warn that you need to be free of heart conditions, neck and back injuries and other physical limitations in order to ride the coaster, those with merely stiff necks will probably have slightly better luck with Bombora than they would others.
As for thrill-seekers, the Bombora isn’t nearly as intense as Wicked or some of Lagoon’s other large coasters. But it’s a good fit for those who are looking for a bit of a thrill without feeling like they’ve been blasted out of a cannon or dropped off a cliff.
Lagoon is currently open weekends now through June 4, at which point it will be open seven days a week until August 21.