by Doug Anthony Jones
FLINTRIDGE, California -- Southern California's most exciting water park, Soak Thrill opened its doors this weekend for the 2009 Summer Season as over 300 families lined up to be among the first to enter the park.
Partly cloudy skies and an afternoon temperature in the upper 70's made Saturday mornings opening a little chilly, but that did not stop the Cole family of La Crescenta, California. Associate press reporter Miles Fenwick interviewed the family of four shortly after passing through the parks north entry gate.
"We come here every year, it's a family tradition" said father Henry Cole as he smiled, who along with his wife Margaret and their children Timothy and Sandra rented out lockers and prepared for a day of fun in the sun.
"They have the best water slides here and that's why my dad always takes us" exclaimed 13-year-old Sandra, "Going to the beach is exciting, but I like this better."
"My favorite slide the Diablo's Fury because you go real fast" said 6-year-old Timothy Cole. "More than 2,500 gallons of recirculated water are pumped through this ride per minute, it's so rad."
Reporter Miles Fenwick laughed and replied "Wow, how did you know all that?"
"I've been on it a bunch of times, another ride I go on a lot is Alligator's Den, it's not as fast 'cause you're in a two-person inner tube and you shoot down a 45-foot-drop through a fully enclosed flume right before you spin around in a 35 foot bowl."
"I'm impressed that kid knew all those specs" admitted 24-year old park employee Joel Ferguson. "I've been working here at Soak Thrill for three years I didn't even know any of that stuff.. that's pretty cool."
"What ride will you be going on first today?" our reporter asked the well informed 6-year old.
"Typhoon's Fury" Timothy replied, "Because it's awesome! It's like 600-feet-long and it plunges a four-man raft into total darkness through a 108-inch-diameter tunnel and down a 60-foot drop at 30 miles per hour while 2,000 of gallons of water are pushing you through the enclosed rapids. They just don't make water slides like this anymore 'cause not everyone thinks they're 100% safe but my dad still lets me go on it."
When our reported asked 6-year-old Timothy to explain what he had meant he continued in greater detail, "Well, on December 18th, 2008 when the California Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act went into effect it required VGB Compliant Pool Drain Grates. Luckily, Soak Thrill Parks seem to be VGB Compliant but in some applications these grates have a raised profile off the floor."
"Where the fk did this six year old kid get that kind of information?" park owner and CEO of Soak Thrill Rod Turner replied. "At first we thought it was cute that this kid knew so many of the technical specifications of our different rides" Turner went on.... "However at this point it has come to our attention that the boy has been made privy to very specific code and safety standards that have never been released to the general public."
"This kid's pretty accurate, all of our raised grates have a red circle highlighting their location." said Soak Thrill Park senior engineer, 62-year-old Philip Daskaloff. "They are designed to be stepped on but in shallow water situations they may pose a tripping hazard."
At approximately 1:35pm Saturday afternoon park CEO Rod Turner, senior engineer Philip Daskaloff, as well as park employees, associate engineers, developers, and spectators stood around the boy and his family completely baffled about how the boy was accessing this information.
"I demand answers" exclaimed Flintridge governor Curtis Morris. "If this is somebody's idea of a joke it's not a very funny one." Associate news reporters berated the boys father. "Mr. Cole, are you responsible for your son gaining access to this information?" "What are you talking about?" Mr. Cole responded, "I don't have any son,"
At that moment the crowd, news reporters, and a few dozen spectators turned around to find that 6-year-old Timothy Cole had completely disappeared. "He was just standing right there!" said governor Curtis Morris. Park guests looked up into the sky and saw an image of the boy dissolving into the Crescenta valley sunlight. "There he goes, that takes care of that problem." Soak Thrill CEO Rod Turner exclaimed, "Now everybody get back to work."