SoCal's first 'water coaster' is driven by magnets

It's not just the Circle K, strange things are afoot throughout San Dimas, California -- like the wacky 1000-foot-long, magnetically driven "water coaster" recently installed at a local Raging Waters park in the midst of a debilitating statewide drought. Dubbed the Aqua Rocket, this unusual attraction -- the first such ride in all of Southern California and one of just two dozen throughout the US -- combines the motion of conventional roller coasters with the sloshy fun of waterslides.

Since neither water nor the ride's four-person rafts are naturally capable of travelling uphill, the Aqua Rocket relies on a series of hydromagnetic linear induction motors to generate an undulating magnetic field. Metal plates embedded in the base of each raft interact with this field, propelling riders up and over the ride's trio of "continuous rocket incline zones" -- it's the same principle of electromagnetic attraction and repulsion that enables the US Navy's railgun prototype.

The Aqua Rocket may be the first such attraction in the Golden State but it's far from the first in America. These rides have actually been around for the better part of two decades, the very first of which -- the appropriately named Master Blaster -- debuted in 1994 at Schlitterbahn in New Braunfels, Texas.

[Image Credit: Raging Waters]