Slammer sends riders through 360º in an
adventurous, if a little painful, freefall experience..
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Slammer is a S&S Sky Swatter, which rotates riders through 360º at heights of over 100ft. Of all the flat rides at Thorpe, it is the most unique - only 2 Sky Swatters have ever been built (the other having recently been dismantled at Six Flags New England, Massachusetts, USA), and S&S are no longer selling them.
The ride concept is incredibly simple. Riders sit in one of 24 very deep seats on one of two paddles, attached to either end of a long arm. Riders pull their lap bar over and down, and lower the (very minimal) shoulder restraints. Then the dramatic music kicks in, and the arm rises to just under 65ft. This part of the ride, the build up, is very daunting especially for first riders. Once locked in this position at 65ft up, the arm begins to rotate, taking its riders with it. Riders travel for 3 rotations in one direction, level out, and then travel 3 rotations in the opposite direction. The ride levels out again and the arm lowers. It's quite an experience, freefalling 100 ft through the air, and it is impressive that S&S have managed to do this safely with such minimal restraints. Unfortunately however, the large periods of time spent handing upside down during the ride causes riders to have prolonged rushes of blood to the head, which are far from comfortable. Indeed, because of this Slammer can feel more of an endurance test rather than a liberating rush.
Slammer does have other redeeming features. Firstly, because that on one ride, Slammer can accommodate up to 48 people, it has a very high throughput, so queues rarely get too long. Secondly, the innovative S&S restraints heighten the ride experience for 2 reasons: not only do they make riders feel very insecure and vulnerable, but they also allow the rider to be very free. Thirdly, Slammer looks awesome. It's huge, noisy, powerful and visually very imposing on Thorpe's skyline.
Slammer is clearly different. Just the year before, Thorpe Park installed a ride that tried to invert and flip riders in every direction possible (see Samurai). In 2005, Thorpe installed a ride that goes back to basics - it simply makes huge circles. It's laudable that the Park (and S&S) took such a gamble on this innovate new ride type, it's just a shame it's so uncomfortable to ride.
An exciting new concept.
Makes riders feel very insecure.
The rush of blood to the head is not pleasant.
Takes a long time to load and unload passengers.
The most unreliable ride in the Park. Often down for extended periods of time.
"Amazing! The backwards rotation is one of the weirdest feelings, especially at the bottom. It was so good we went straight back again on the other side. Has not helped my fear of heights though." Isobel, Farnborough, UK.
"This is probably the most intense ride I have ever been on! Great adrenaline rush!" Tom, York, UK.
"Just horrible! You feel insecure and it goes way too slowly!" Ella, UK.
"The only ride I have ever not enjoyed going on. Could feel immense pressure in my head, and felt quite ill when I came off. Not an experience I wish to repeat." Alice, UK.
"Do this as your first ride when you get to Thorpe Park. It will scare you to death before the other tamer rides get you used to heights. I loved it and will go back just for this unique ride! Makes a change for the UK to have a chance to experience a ride that there are only two of in the world ;)" Gary, Manchester, UK.
"If you wanna be sick for at least 3 hours then this is the ride to go on! It's so head throbbing and a waste of time, especially waiting in that queue." Saji, Chicago, USA.
"Slammer is my favourite ride in the Park! The diving and swooping takes my breath away... if you put your hands up when inverted it's the best feeling ever. 10/10 - AMAZING!!" Matthew, Hampshire, UK.
"I had to try this ride, my other two friends chickened out! It actually wasn't that uncomfortable, although its a different kind of restraint. Words cannot describe the feeling you get from this ride, why it isn't top of the thilling rides list, I don't know. You MUST try this ride, you just can't get the same experience with other rides. 10/10!" Josh Day-Jones, Cheltenham, UK.