x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Race to be among 50 test pilots at Abu Dhabi's Yas Waterworld

The final touches are being put to Yas Waterworld and an official opening date will be announced this month.

Yas Waterworld is scheduled to be open by the end of the year on Yas Island, but 50 winners will test the rides first.
Yas Waterworld is scheduled to be open by the end of the year on Yas Island, but 50 winners will test the rides first.

ABU DHABI // The capital’s newest, biggest waterpark will be open by the end of the year – and 50 lucky locals will be able to try the rides early.

The final touches are being put to Yas Waterworld and an official opening date will be announced this month.

“The park is getting very close to completion,” said Mike Oswald, the park manager.

“We’re running around, making sure everything gets done on time. Right now, really it’s about tuning and tweaking.”

Some rides are already being tested. The goal is to have all 43 ready for the opening.

Almost 12,000 people have already “liked” the park’s Facebook page, and hundreds have entered a competition to be among 50 test riders.

Challenge Accepted asks participants to select the rides they are most looking forward to and upload a photo of themselves having fun. The 25 winners, and a friend each, will be chosen by early December.

“People have not seen anything like this anywhere else in the world,” Mr Oswald said.

Yas Waterworld will feature four unique rides, including the world’s largest and fastest funnel ride.

Construction of the 15-hectare park began in February last year. It can hold 7,000 people and will open every day.

Tentative hours are scheduled for 10am to 7pm, and premium “queue-jump” tickets will be available.

Once fully operational, the park will employ nearly 600 people. It has been designed with expansion in mind, and has three areas set aside for future growth.

At least one more ride is expected to open within two to three years.

Daniel Evans, a sales and marketing executive at Al Arabi Travel Agency in Dubai, said the park would help the capital to attract tourists.

“There’s a void in the UAE market when it comes to theme parks, so it is nice to see more of these things popping up,” Mr Evans said.

“From a business stance, it is the continuing of the development of Yas Island as a world-class destination.”

jthomas@thenational.ae