SeaWorld's newest roller coaster, Pipeline, is tons of fun but hard on the nards

When the seats bottom out in the troughs, all those positive Gs have nowhere to go but your perineum

click to enlarge Steady on, boys. - photo courtesy of the author (third from left)
photo courtesy of the author (third from left)
Steady on, boys.

SeaWorld Orlando’s newest coaster, Pipeline — advertised as the world’s first “surfing coaster” — officially opened on May 27, but I got to experience it during a media preview several weeks earlier. To be honest, I’ve been skeptical about this B&M-built stand-up since it was announced, because I still have painful memories of riding its predecessor Shockwave at Six Flags Great Adventure in the early 1990s.

Seeing the surfboard-shaped ride vehicle — with its bicycle-like seat mounted on bouncing piston, rather than fixed as in older stand-up designs — displayed at last November’s IAAPA did a bit to assuage my fears of intimate injury, so when I got the chance to be one of the very first members of the media to give it a whirl, I saddled up and strapped down the ironically named “comfort collar” across my collarbones. 

From the unexpectedly swift launch to the equally startling final dip before the break run, Pipeline provides a visceral 110-second demonstration of Newtonian physics that is equal parts ecstasy and agony, especially for the cisgender males of the species. I’ve never experienced anything quite like the aggressive ejector airtime delivered throughout Pipeline, which lifted my feet off the floor at every crest for an invigorating instant of wonderful true weightlessness.

However, what goes up must come down, and when Pipeline’s seats bottom out in the track’s troughs, all those positive Gs have nowhere to go but your perineum.

For the first few hills, I made the mistake of following the ride operators’ instructions to stand up straight, and I paid the price. Instead, you need to flex your knees while pointing your toes down, ensuring that your feet make first contact when falling instead of your family jewels.

Ideally, this coaster should be accompanied by a preshow training course on how to ride it comfortably, and even then the boys may require some undignified adjustment (or an athletic cup).

Pipeline is certain to provide extreme ride junkies with a unique thrill that they can’t find anywhere else right now. Although I’m glad I rode it once, I’m not rushing to repeat the experience, and I don’t think any theme park attraction should requires riders to put in this much active effort just to avoid joining the Vienna Boy’s Choir.

Subscribe to Orlando Weekly newsletters.

Follow us: Google News | NewsBreak | Reddit | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter

About The Author

Scroll to read more Arts Stories + Interviews articles


Join Orlando Weekly Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.