Undertow at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is Northern California’s only spinning coaster since its opening in 2013, filling the void creating by the removal of Pandemonium at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, which was removed in 2011. It was manufactured by Maurer Sohne, a company that has built spinning coasters in the past. Mainly in Europe. We really enjoy this ride for it’s line up of interesting elements, and its family friendliness.
Guests, while approaching the ride, will notice that it is elevated on a concrete platform that is 20 feet high or so. This makes the ride look significantly taller, as it is 50 feet tall excluding the platform giving it a net height of approximately 70 feet. Riders will walk past a test seat, and a sign informing them the cost of the ride is six tickets. They then walk through a small set of shaded switchbacks and reach the ride platform, where tickets will be collected or wristbands will be scanned. Riders are then hurried into a train that snuggly fits four people, two pairs back to back. Ride operators will check restraints, and you are zoomed up the lift hill.
The lift hill is behind you in the blink of an eye and the first drop awaits. As riders are seated back to back, two people on each train will actually drop backwards. Either way, forwards or backwards, it’s a fun drop that is soon followed by an elevated turnaround with a block brake. Once the train passes through the block brake, the spinning mechanism is unlocked and now the ride really gets going! After a banked drop following the turnaround, it rises up into an 85 degree bank! It seems as though the trains are designed to face vertically, so riders are either facing up or down. Both are very cool sensations, as either way there is no track in sight and it feels as if you are falling out of the train. Another block brake follows, and the train then descends into a section of quick s curves, one after another. This is where the train really gets spinning, and it certainly doesn’t stop any time soon. After a helix, and a few more turns, the train coasts into the brake run, and is corrected to it’s original non-spinning position.
Although many coasters are marketed as ‘family coasters’ and really only resonate with the younger ones, this is not the case for Undertow, as it makes for a very fun ride even for seasoned coaster veterans. Your experience can also depend on the weight distribution. If it is uneven, the ride can actually be a bit disorienting. Overall, it is a must-ride at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, especially as it is one of their two coasters that are very enjoyable for a wide-audience. We really do enjoy this ride, but what do you think? Do you like it? Is it the best spinning coaster California has ever seen? You tell us! Make sure to leave your thoughts below. For the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk Update from this week, please click here!