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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 18 June 2018

First look at the new Laguna Waterpark in La Mer - in pictures 

A new waterpark is opening in Jumeirah next month: here's a sneak peek 

The attractions keep on coming to the La Mer neighbourhood, Dubai’s newest waterfront area on the beach near Jumeirah 2. The Laguna Waterpark, which took two-and-a-half years to build, is slated to open in La Mer Central early next month.

The park is comprised of four distinct zones: a surf zone, an area to lounge and relax, a splash area for kids and the slides area. The waterpark's five main attractions are: a surf club called the WaveOz 180 FloRider; a water slide tower complex that includes five different water slides, all of which are for those measuring 1.2m in height and above; a SplashPad for children ages four and below; an Aqua Play area for kids ages five and up, which includes a Tipping Bucket that uses between 3,000 to 3,800 litres of water per splash; and finally, a lazy river that is 200 metres in length.

The five slides are the Manta family raft ride, the Constrictor, the Loop, the Aquadrop Freefall and the Mad Racer.

Once the waterpark opens its doors to residents, there will be a day pass priced at Dh99 for all - with children below two welcome for free. Also, there's the option for visitors to come in and out of the waterpark whenever they please throughout the day - so you can pop out to La Mer for lunch and then go back into the park.

“One of the things you come to a waterpark for is to relax and to have fun,” says Andrew Keeling, general manager of leisure and entertainment at Meeras. “Obviously, we have a hardworking team behind the scenes taking care of safety and reliability - we’ve just had 60 lifeguards complete their certification and registration recently - but to our visitors, they are coming for fun.”

The water park’s architecture is inspired by La Boca, a distinct and colourful neighbourhood in the Argentinian capital of Buenos Aires. The idea is to evoke an informal atmosphere, says Keeling; people need to feel relaxed enough to have fun and let loose. The larger waterparks of the UAE, all of which are “fantastic, world-class locations”, says Keeling, are great for tourists, but Laguna is meant to appeal to residents.

“We built something a little different, sort of like the pool in your backyard. It’s accessible in terms of price, location and attractions; it’s intimate and easy to walk through,” he says.

The surf zone in particular is fresh, and only the third of its kind in the world, after Brazil and Armenia. Dubbed the WaveOz 180 FloRider, or the “ultimate surf machine”, the attraction features both body boards as well as stand-up boards and is meant to increase the UAE’s interest in surfing as a sport.

Clayton Barker, a three-times World Flowboarding Champion from South Africa who is now Watersports Manager at Laguna Waterpark, will be on hand to host demonstrations on how to use the attraction and to instill a love of the sport. “We will use the attraction to start a surf school and get interest in the sport to grow, and hopefully get Team UAE using it as well. We want to host the world championships here soon, and this will get us started,” he explains.

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In fact, the UAE National Flow Ride Team, which was dissolved in 2014, will now reunite under Laguna Waterpark’s umbrella to be ambassadors of the WaveOz 180.

Once it’s completed, La Mer, which is comprised of La Mer South, La Mer Central and La Mer North, will boast 13.4 million square feet, with over 130 shops, cafes, restaurants and entertainment attractions along the waterfront promenade.

The waterpark, which will be open to the public in early May, will operate from 10am until dusk daily, and stay open until 10pm on Thursdays and Fridays. Tickets, priced at Dh99 for residents, can be purchased online or at the entrance of the park, located in La Mer Central.