One of the greatest, and scariest moments in my working life is when a FlowRider is ready for liftoff. You look up and see the blood and guts of your hard work, and not to mention, a very expensive asset, flying through the air towards it’s intended destination.
Most FlowRiders that have wings, are generally flying towards the aft portion of a Royal Caribbean cruise liner – and in some cases (Oasis, Allure, Harmony and Symphony of the Seas) two per ship. I can tell you from personal experience, when you look up and see all that hard work flying through the air, it will leave a hollow pit in the core of your stomach, and you put your faith in technology – in this case, heavy equipment (crane) technology. For our ace cruise ship liaison, Tom Kruger, it is old hat. He has been there for every single one of them. For me, it is like standing on the edge of a cliff with hurricane force winds.
Possibly it is my fear of heights, which outside of the water is extreme. Or, quite possibly it is my fear of dollars or euros evaporating before my very eyes. Or it could be the potential traumatic affect that something this size and weight may have on anything in it’s wake (like a casino gaming floor?). That could be truly terrifying.
Late one night in Vegas (not unusual), I was standing on the pool deck of Planet Hollywood (right above the Casino, btw) while all but one northbound lane of Las Vegas Blvd (a.k.a. The Strip) was shut down (VERY unusual) below. Why you may ask? Another UFO (Unusual FlowRider Orbiting) was coming in for a landing. It was actually 17 loads and many hours worth of tension. Others were calm, cool and collected the whole time, like our ace Project Manager, James Hansen. He was cool as a cucumber. Me? I was like a volcano ready for eruption. All internal mechanisms were on red alert, and I was prepared for the worst.
Five hours later, I was having my first drink of the night – at 5 AM. Make it a DOUBLE!! Nothing like a little Crown to go with your omelet, but it was necessary at that point in time. A stressful evening filled with large flying FlowRider parts, all dropped with pinpoint accuracy from a Goliath crane erected onsite to lift these parts 6 stories and span several hundred feet. Well, the double helped fill the void in my stomach!
The next time you ride the most popular surf simulator in the world, think about if that FlowRider might have had a “funner” ride than you! After all – fun is what we are all about. Stay safe out there.
Check out some of these photos and tell me that you wouldn’t get nervous too!!