It’s How We Roll

I can’t see it yet, but I hear the beast and feel its approach. Above my head, finned silhouettes circle—mako sharks, the fastest in the world. My throat goes dry, and my pulse hammers at my temples. I’m already sweating. The beast races toward me and stops suddenly at my side. I step (a little shakily) onto its spine, and a simple bar lowers to my lap. That’s it? Before I can reconsider, the beast snaps to life, music blares, an ominous mechanical tang drifts through the air, and I’m heading, slowly, teasingly, toward a 70-degree drop of 60 metres (200 feet).

Rip and Ride

I’m at SeaWorld Orlando, riding Mako —the tallest, fastest, longest coaster in the city. This hyper-coaster covers nearly a mile in three minutes (that’s 73 m.p.h., or 177 km/h), and is just one of about 20 coasters I could choose from in Orlando — a hotspot for those who love these adrenaline-surging rides.

MAnta

Mike Denninger, vice-president of theme park development, USA, for SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment, explains that much of the ride experience boils down to changing the direction and magnitude of accelerations. “Accelerations are simply a change in velocity over time,” he says. “This can be experienced when racing through a curve, cresting over hills or diving down a drop.” He says riders tend to get the biggest thrills from “up-down accelerations because people don’t normally or easily move in these directions.”

Incredible Hulk

Many riders seek maximum airtime, including Ian Bell, owner and manager of the CoasterForce enthusiast community. “That’s where the excitement lies for me,” he says.

Read the rest of the story in re:porter, available inflight until January 1, 2018.