World Waterpark Association celebrates successful WWA40 Virtual Show

WWA, the World Waterpark Association, is celebrating the success of this year’s annual show, which was held virtually for the first time.

The World Waterpark Association is pleased to announce that this year’s annual show was successfully held online, bringing together professionals from across the industry for quality educational sessions and networking opportunities.

“We were certainly disappointed that we couldn’t bring our industry together for our in-person Symposium & Trade Show—something we’ve done for 40 years,” says Rick Root, WWA President.

“However, from what we’ve seen so far, pivoting to a virtual show program was just what our industry needed. Attendees from 17 countries have already spent thousands of hours watching all of the outstanding educational sessions offered by our industry thought leaders, and we anticipate the interaction with our show program to continue throughout the next few months.”

On-demand waterpark industry education

“I thoroughly enjoyed this year’s virtual show and the best part of it is I have the opportunity to attend the sessions I missed through March 2021!” says Chase Singleton, Assistant General Manager, Wilderness at the Smokies. “It’s hard to beat on-demand waterpark industry education. Great work, WWA!”

“In a year like no other, the WWA pulled out all the stops and gave us a show like no other. Each presentation was thoughtfully put together and gave unique insights into what to expect for the coming seasons,” says Emily Polinsky, Executive Assistant & Digital Media Manager, Wet ‘N Wild Water World. “I left the show with more than a dozen new ideas to bring to our park next year.”

“Only the WWA could find a way to virtually bring us all together while still providing top-notch education and networking opportunities,” says Jen Gerber, Water Technology, Inc. “We’re grateful to be part of the best industry in the world with some of the most passionate leaders and teams.”

“The WWA40 Virtual Show was just what you would expect from the World Waterpark Association,” says Jessica Mahoney, Aquatic Development Group. “This year’s show provided us with a platform for sharing key learnings and experiences, bringing us all together with informative sessions and live Q&A’s that provided us all with valuable opportunities to once again connect and interact with our peers in the industry.”

WWA40 Virtual Show

The three-day event included prerecorded educational webinars as well as live, interactive sessions. These covered a range of useful topics for professionals in the industry.

In total, there were seven live featured presentations, eight live ‘Ask The Experts’ Q&A panels, nine live hosted ‘Connect & Chats’ sessions, 40 pre-recorded breakout sessions with over 100 thought-provoking speakers and three live General Session & Awards presentations

“None of us has experienced a year quite like 2020 and we need to work closely together if we’re going push through these uncharted waters,” says Aleatha Ezra, Director of Park Member Development, World Waterpark Association.

“2021 will hold many unknowns for all of us, but we don’t have to go into it alone. Our live sessions this year offered attendees the chance to bounce ideas off each other and gather new ways to operate more safely so that our guests feel good about coming back out to visit our parks.”

“What an encouragement it was to have some normalcy in our year…spending a week in October with the WWA community; seeing faces and hearing familiar voices working together as a team to continue to educate, highlight achievements, provide resources and just to lift each other up,” says Marci Blevins, Owner, Splash Kingdom Waterparks.

“Thank you for continuing to be a steadfast resource and support for our community! You stayed true to your mission and continue to be the glue that holds the waterpark industry together,” says Robin Ritz, InCord.

WWA40 Show logo

A variety of topics covered

Topics covered during the virtual event included health & safety, providing quality guest services, hiring & training employees online, marketing, social media and more.

“The WWA Show never disappoints and this year was no different. The adapted virtual show provided a unique opportunity to connect live with fellow industry experts and friends, while the new format allowed us to • Page 3 WWA40 Virtual Show consume more content than ever before. It was a game-changer,” says Taryn Eisenman, General Manager, SplashDown Beach Water Park.

“The #WWA40 virtual show was impressive! The education tracks were aligned with pandemic information & recovery. I appreciate the show material can be reviewed until March!” says Tamara Lawson, Sales Manager, Soaring Eagle Waterpark and Hotel.

“It also was reassuring to see everyone in the Connect & Chat sessions. I met some new contacts and look forward to virtual chats on our own!”

Awards at WWA40

The Best Speaker award went to Shaun McKeogh, Attractions Academy. The WWA Board also presented this year’s industry awards and Hall of Fame inductees during the event, recognising leaders and innovators in the sector.

“Ours is an industry that doesn’t stand still even during the most challenging times,” says Damien Latham, Chair of the WWA’s Board of Directors. “We continue to see our fellow colleagues innovate and lead the way to the next ‘est,’ whether that’s biggest or fastest or safest. It’s because of this that we feel we must stay focused on acknowledging the best and brightest leaders working in our industry through our annual Board Awards program.”

The WWA inducted two individuals into the WWA Hall of Fame this year. These were Jim Basala, Deep River Waterpark and Jim Dunn, Aquatic Development Group. The WWA Board of Directors also recognized the exceptional accomplishments of 35 recipients for the 2020 Board of Directors’ Awards, including:

  • Al Turner Memorial Commitment to Excellence Award: George Deines, Counsilman-Hunsaker, Richardson, Texas, USA
  • Executive Board Award: Kari (Tjader) Manev, Liftopia, Inc., Orlando, Florida, USA
  • Kelly Ogle Memorial Safety Award: Wess Long, StarGuard ELITE, Orlando, Florida, USA
  • Leading Edge Award: Adventure Bay, Xiangyang, China and China Creative Entertainment Co., Ltd, Shenzhen, China and WhiteWater, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada for “Turbo Shuttle”; Europa Park / Rulantica GmbH & Co Mack KG, Rust, Germany and API WATER FUN GmbH, Fulda, Germany, AQUARENA GmbH, Jettingen, Germany, aquila wasseraufbereitungstechnik gmbh, Wertheim, Germany, MACKNEXT / Mack Solutions, Rust, Germany, Murphys Waves Ltd, Glasgow, Scotland-UK, PGAV Destinations, St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.A. and ProSlide Technology Inc, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada for their work on Rulantica; Grupo Vidanta, Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico and Murphys Waves Ltd, Glasgow, Scotland-UK, Riverflow Pumps by Current Systems Inc., Ventura, California, U.S.A., Water Technology, Inc., Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, U.S.A. and WhiteWater, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada for their work on Jungala Aqua Experience; Park of Poland, Wręcza, Poland and Murphys Waves Ltd, Glasgow, Scotland-UK and Polin Waterparks, Kocaeli, Turkey for their work on Suntago Water World; Pirates Bay Waterpark, Baytown, Texas, U.S.A. and NINJACROSS Systems, Overland Park, Kansas, U.S.A. and Progressive Commercial Aquatics, Inc., Houston, Texas, U.S.A. for “NINJACROSS”; Royal Caribbean International, Miami, Florida, U.S.A. and Martin Aquatic Design & Engineering, Orlando, Florida, U.S.A. and WhiteWater, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada for their work on the “Perfect Storm Slide Complex”; Wilderness Resorts and Waterparks, Sevierville, Tennessee, U.S.A. and Architectural Design Consultants, Inc., Lake Delton, Wisconsin, U.S.A., Aquatic Development Group, Cohoes, New York, U.S.A., ProSlide Technology Inc, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, Rain Drop Products LLC, Ashland, Ohio, U.S.A., USA, Inc., Downers Grove, Illinois, U.S.A. and Water Odyssey by Fountain People, Inc., San Marcos, Texas, U.S.A. for their work on Soaky Mountain Waterpark

In addition to this, recipients of WWA’s Wave Review marketing competition were also announced during the show, celebrating creative and compassionate marketing that spoke to people in meaningful ways.

“In such a challenging year, we were so glad that we could continue the tradition of our annual Wave Review Awards,” said Ezra. “We weren’t sure what to expect in terms of entries but we were delighted by both the quantity and quality of work we received this year. It was clear how much outstanding work our waterpark marketers put into their outreach efforts this year.”

Multi-category winners were: SoundWaves at Gaylord Opryland Resort, Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Adventure Park Geelong, Wallington, Victoria, Australia; and Typhoon Texas Waterpark, Katy, Texas, USA.; among others.

Virtual show programme

Much of the educational content from WWA40 is now available to purchase until 1 March 2021. Access to the show archives may be purchased for $249 for park and supplier members or $424 for non-members.

“We encourage anyone who missed the virtual show to consider purchasing access to the extensive archives. The more than 50 hours of learning that you’ll be able to partake in is well worth the small investment. Plus, you have the luxury of listening to each session more than once. It’s a tremendous value to you and your team,” said Ezra.

The World Waterpark Association’s 41st Annual Symposium & Trade Show will take place from 19 – 22 October 2021 in San Antonio, Texas.

It’s been more than a decade since the WWA Show has been hosted in San Antonio,” said Root. “Since that time, Texas has continued to welcome the opening of many new waterparks, aquatic centers, waterpark resorts and spray parks—making this state the perfect place to bring our industry back together for in-person learning, shopping and networking.”

WWA is also continuing to share advice and guidance for operators during the coronavirus pandemic.