WWA Show Receives Rave Reviews As Attendees Soak Up New Ideas & Shop Innovative Products In Vegas

Overland Park, KS, October 31, 2018 —The slogan “a vibrant showcase for the extraordinary” proved to be an accurate description for both this year’s WWA Show and its host venue, Las Vegas. The 38th Annual Symposium & Trade Show, held October 23-26, 2018, was a huge hit with the more than 1,600 owners, operators, developers, suppliers and designers who traveled from 25 countries and 5 continents to be part of this once-a-year experience. From record sponsorship to a record number of attendees in educational sessions, Las Vegas never fails to be a big draw for WWA attendees. In addition, this year’s show welcomed more than 350 first-time attendees, many of whom have new waterpark development projects in the works around the globe.

“This year’s show was a great success on every level,” said Rick Root, WWA President. “Nothing excites our attendee base quite like Vegas, but it’s obvious that the depth of our educational programs and the quality of our product marketplace brought out many new attendees who then met and mingled with our show veterans in meaningful ways.”

“As a first-time attendee with very limited knowledge of the waterpark industry, the WWA Show was an epiphany,” said Nenpan Tunkuda, Managing Director, Kudnax Enterprises. “Networking with operators and vendors was crucial and interesting.”

“The WWA Show was a fantastic investment because it’s the complete package: engaging sessions, exceptional keynote speakers, fun social events, an exciting trade show and the chance to network with aquatic professionals from all over the world! You’d be hard-pressed to find an aquatic industry event of this caliber anywhere else!” said Lindsey Saller, Aquatic Supervisor, Marion Diehl Recreation Center.

“I highly recommend the WWA Show to all waterpark operators around the globe,” said Alan Mahony, VP, Aquaventure, Atlantis Sanya. “The educational sessions, time on the show floor, seeing old friends and meeting new ones provides the strength for the year ahead.”

“Attending a WWA Show always provides superior educational opportunities, but as important is the prospect to develop and enrich cherished industry relationships. This year’s show was no exception,” said George Sells, Water Technology, Inc.

Attendees travelled to Las Vegas, Nevada, from parks large and small, public and private, indoor and outdoor, from all over the world. Active leisure markets were represented from 25 countries, including: Argentina, Australia, Austria, the Bahamas, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Canada, China, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Jamaica, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, South Korea, Taiwan, Trinidad & Tobago, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and the United States of America.

One of the key focuses of this year’s WWA Show was to create intersection points between the many different constituents within this vibrant industry. “An important element of the WWA Show is our commitment to community,” said Aleatha Ezra, Director of Park Member Development, World Waterpark Association. “We seek to start conversations between individual people. When people share what’s working and what’s not with others in the industry, they walk away smarter, stronger and better equipped to tackle new challenges in the coming year."

“The waterpark community gathered at the WWA Show is fantastically supportive, collaborative, creative and resourceful. I admire the spirit of sharing information and appreciate that everyone helps everyone,” said Robin Ritz, InCord Play. “It’s a great place to learn, connect and grow as a professional.”

“The waterpark industry is a tight knit group that is willing to share and learn from each other and the show provides a perfect backdrop to do just that. It was truly beneficial to interact directly with other people in the industry who have gone through the same things or have come up with productive and efficient ways to tackle our similar issues,” said Ina Rivard, Owner, Atlantic Splash Adventure.

“The WWA Show in Las Vegas was full of winning attitudes,” said Joel Schafer, Big Squirt! “We were able to meet our clients in person and close the deal—a win-win for all!”

WWA’s Education Program Sets The Standard
The WWA Show is well known for its high-quality educational events and this year’s program saw record turnout as attendees came ready to listen to thought-provoking speakers share their best ideas on the things that matter most, including: guest safety, operational excellence, high quality customer service, top-line employee training and much more. “In 2018, the number of people attending our educational sessions increased by close to 30 percent,” said Ezra. “In addition, attendance in our workshops and certification courses on October 23rd more than doubled.”

“The quality of the educational programs was above board and more than I expected,” said Scott Rubin, Director of Operation, Pumphouse Waterpark at Jay Peak Resort. “Each session either offered new takeaways on how to do something in your park or different solutions to complex problems.”

Highlights from the educational program include: “The Hitchhiker’s Guide To After The Ambulance Leaves,” “Developing Talent and A Strong Leadership Bench,” “Small Budget, No Budget Marketing,” “When Drowning Does Not Mean Death,” “Creative Recruiting & Retention To Combat The Lifeguard Shortage,” “The Other Season: Creating An Exception Workforce That Drives Revenue” and “Crisis Management: How To Respond To The Real & Fake News About Your Venue.” Other timely topics covered at this year’s show include: responding to foodborne illnesses, preparing for an active shooter scenario, improving rider experience using technology and developing VIP programs in your park.

“As a first-time attendee, this event provided so many great ideas to implement at my facility to streamline operation, increase programs and enhance the overall visitor experience,” said Liza A. Soto, Aquatics Manager, Splash! La Mirada Regional Aquatics Center. “After learning from some of the best in the aquatics industry, I have a greater appreciation of what we as aquatic professionals provide to families, communities and staff.”

Best speaker awards went to:

  • Adam Blackmore, City of Henderson Parks & Recreation

  • Mike McDonald, Golfland SunSplash

    Expert Keynotes Deliver Insights & Inspiration
    In addition to the wide variety of breakout sessions and workshops, this year’s WWA show offered two inspiring keynote addresses, both of which offered insights that attendees found compelling, moving and memorable.

    First up was Mark Scharenbroich (Mark@NiceBike.com), a master Keynote speaker, author and a member of the National Speaker Association’s Hall of Fame. Scharenbroich had the WWA audience laughing and even shedding a few tears as they listened to him speak on how to be effective in making meaningful connections in your professional and personal life. “One of my favorite quotes is by Barbara Jordon, ‘It’s more important to be interested than interesting,’” said Scharenbroich. “Connect with others by being curious. Discover other people’s stories and you will make rich connections.”

    Next up, was Customer Experience expert David Avrin, CSP, who shared, “the world has changed as has the expectations of our buyers.” Avrin spoke about how customers today expect immediate answers, 24/7 access to information, expedited delivery and buying with one-click. And if you can’t give it to them, they will likely find others who will. “A great customer experience in today’s world is more than merely providing friendly customer service, (still very important); we also must understand how our customers want to do business with us and giving them the experience they want—at every point of contact,” said Avrin.

    “Mark Scharenbroich's message about core values really resonated with me and David Avrin's message of knowing our customers by understanding how they buy in today’s market was huge,” said Scott Rubin, Director of Operation, Pumphouse Waterpark at Jay Peak Resort.

    WWA Exhibit Hall Welcomes First Time Buyers Looking For The Latest & Greatest
    The 2018 WWA Trade Show featured 100,000-square-feet of combined exhibit space with more than 225 companies showcasing new products and services in more than 350 booths. The exhibit hall floor provided the perfect backdrop to bring together experts that offer the water leisure industry’s most innovative products and the people who put them into play on a daily basis.

    “The WWA Show is always a winner for us, but this year’s show exceeded our expectations in every measure!” said Colleen Krause, Ultra Polymers, Inc. “As a vendor at the WWA Show, you don’t just reach out to the waterpark industry, you become a part of it.”

    “Booth traffic was great this year and we were visited by high impact new attendees,” said Jim Goldhardt, Zpro Watersports.

    “The show you put on in Vegas was the best for us in the four years we’ve been members,” said David Berger, Pool Safe Inc. “The WWA targets a group of people in the industry looking for others with the same mind set. This year, we were approached by several new clients who said ‘this was the best new product’ for their waterpark.”

    “Our team loves the WWA show! You can network with buyers and decision-makers from waterparks around the world, make new friends and learn from industry vets,” said George Panton, Water Safety Products. “The attendees at the show are very engaged as well.”

    “The trade show is a great tool for improving our business,” said Stephanie Hee-Johnston, Marketing & Admissions Coordinator, NRH20 Family Water Park. “It also allows me to meet face to face with new and existing vendors to ask questions and solve problems in mere minutes. You simply cannot replicate this type of personalized relationship via phone or email.”

    “The WWA team did a really wonderful job of encouraging attendees to frequently visit the trade show floor, and they did. We look forward to returning next year!” said Jeanine Chmiel, CENTAMAN

    The following companies were awarded for their creative and impactful exhibits at the show:

  • Best One-Booth Category: Nets Unlimited, Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.A.
  • Best Two-Booth Category: United Food Group, Elgin, Illinois, U.S.A.
  • Best Four-Booth Category: Neptune-Benson, Coventry, Rhode Island, U.S.A.
  • Best Eight-Booth Category: Polin Waterparks, Kocaeli, Turkey
  • Best of Show: iSlide, Orlando, Florida, U.S.A.

    WWA Board Presents Industry Awards & the 2018 Hall of Fame Inductees
    An annual highlight of the WWA Show is the recognition of industry leaders and pioneers by WWA’s Board of Directors, with the ceremony being held during the Opening General Session on October 24, 2018. Each year the Board recognizes member contributions in a variety of areas significant to the industry’s success such as: dedication to guest and employee safety; excellence in leadership; innovation and creativity in designing new themes and attractions; among others.

    “It is our responsibility and our honor to shine a bright light on our industry’s most talented leaders,” said Steve Miklosi, Chair of the WWA’s Board of Directors. “These are people who have helped lay a foundation for this great industry through their exemplary leadership and their commitment to innovation.”

    WWA Hall of Fame:
    The WWA inducted five individuals into the WWA Hall of Fame, which honors the water leisure industry’s most important and visionary pioneers and innovators. This year’s honorees were:

  • Greg Cloward, Cloward H2O

  • Kent Lemasters, AmusementAquatic Management Group, Inc. (AMG)
  • Greg & Kathy Siggers, Wild Water Adventure Park
  • Wolfgang Teichmann, API WATER FUN GmbH
    (Induction videos for each honoree are available for linking to at: http://youtube.com/user/WorldWaterparkAssn.)

    Board of Directors’ Awards:
    The WWA Board of Directors recognized the exceptional accomplishments of 27 recipients in 2018 including:
    Al Turner Memorial Commitment to Excellence Award: Carvin DiGiovanni, The Association of Pool & Spa Professionals, Alexandria, Virginia, U.S.A.; Steve Rodgers, Golfland SunSplash, Roseville, California, U.S.A.; Lake White, Starfish Aquatics Institute, Savannah, Georgia, U.S.A.
    Executive Board Award: Eric Dombrowski, City of Palmdale Recreation & Culture Department/DryTown Water Park, Palmdale, California, U.S.A.; Sandcastle Waterpark for their Inclusive Programming, Blackpool, United Kingdom
    Kelly Ogle Memorial Safety Award: Eric “Chet” Jacobson, National Aquatic Safety Consulting, LLC, Dickinson, Texas, U.S.A.; Judith Leblein Josephs, JLJ Enterprises & Summit Community Programs, Summit, New Jersey, U.S.A.; Justin Sempsrott, MD, FAAEM, Lifeguards Without Borders, Kuna, Idaho, U.S.A.
    Leading Edge Award: Aquaventure Waterpark, Atlantis Resort Sanya, Hainan, China, and Empex Watertoys, Stouffville, Ontario, Canada, Murphys Waves Ltd, Glasgow, Scotland-UK, ProSlide Technology Inc, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, Rolba Loisir S/L, Barcelona Spain and Van Stone Conveyor, Inc. for their work on Aquaventure Waterpark, Atlantis Resort Sanya; Chimelong Water Park, Guangzhou, China, and wiegand.maelzer, Starnberg, Germany for “SlideWheel;” The City of Grand Prairie, Texas, Grand Prairie, Texas, U.S.A., and American Resort Management LLC, Erie, Pennsylvania, U.S.A., OpenAire, Oakville, California, U.S.A., Ramaker & Associates, Sauk City, Wisconsin, U.S.A. and WhiteWater, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada for their work on Epic Waters Indoor Waterpark; The City of Hobbs, New Mexico, Hobbs, New Mexico, U.S.A., and Splashtacular, Paola, Kansas, U.S.A. and Water Technology Inc., Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, U.S.A., for their work on The CORE; Hersheypark, Hershey, Pennsylvania, U.S.A., and ProSlide Technology Inc, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada and Water Technology Inc., Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, U.S.A. for their work on “Breakers EdgeSM Water Coaster” and “WhitecapSM Racer.”

    Also celebrated during the Opening General Session was this year’s recipient of the Chris Stuart Emerging Leaders Scholarship program.
    The WWA launched the Chris Stuart Emerging Leaders Scholarship program six years ago to give individuals in the beginning of their water leisure careers the opportunity to attend the WWA show. This year’s recipient was Amanda Price with The Walt Disney World Company, Lake Buena Vista, Florida, U.S.A.

    “I thought I loved my job before the WWA Show, but after being surrounded by others who love this industry and have been involved in it for 40+ years, I have a new appreciation,” said Price. “Also, meeting vendors that I already work with face-to-face, has allowed me to make more personal relationships with them that can help my operation!”

    “This scholarship program is a wonderful way for our organization to encourage and develop the next wave of leadership coming up in our industry,” said Miklosi. “Every waterpark facility has a potential candidate for the Emerging Leaders Scholarship Program and we are fortunate that so many member parks took the time to recommend a candidate this year.”

    The other scholarship finalist was: Austin Johnson, Somersplash, Somerset, Kentucky, U.S.A.

    Wave Review Awards:
    Recipients of WWA’s popular Wave Review marketing competition were recognized during the Keynote Session on October 25, 2018. Winners’ work represented successful marketing campaigns from small public-sector facilities to large corporately owned waterparks.

    “What made the work of our winners stand out this year was all the new things they tried in 2018,” said Ezra. “It’s inspiring to see, share and celebrate the creative work being done by so many waterpark marketers around the globe.”

    Multi-category winners were: H20BX Waterpark, Powells Point, North Carolina, U.S.A.; Hawaiian Falls Waterpark, Waco, Texas, U.S.A., Soaring Eagle Waterpark & Hotel, Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, U.S.A.; among others. (The full list of Wave Review winners is available in a separate attachment.)

    WWA Attendees Basked In The Bright Lights Of Vegas!
    Along with its outstanding educational program and highly shoppable exhibit hall, the WWA Show is also well known for hosting some terrific networking events that are welcoming to all who attend.

    “The whole show is like having a family reunion!” said Becky Osborne, Airhead Sports Group. “I look forward to reconnecting with my customers after their summer season. I can hear about their successes and help them address any issues for the upcoming year.”

    “The Annual Reunion Party has been a tradition of the WWA Show for decades,” said Ezra. “Wet’n’Wild Las Vegas provided the perfect environment to bring our attendees together for food, fun, laughs and plenty of thoughtful conversations.”

    Highlights of this year’s networking events included:
    • WWA’s Annual Golf Tournament. On October 23rd, more than 70 golfers came together at Desert Pines Golf Club for a day on the greens. Featuring the award-winning design of iconic golf course architect Dye Design, Desert Pines Golf Club features more than 4,000 mature pine trees lining the fairways with grass running from tees to pins. From its spectacular layout reminiscent of golf in the Carolinas, to its luxurious clubhouse—which pays homage to golf’s greatest legends—Desert Pines offers locals and travelers alike a memorable experience. Top prize went to winning team: Andrew Thatcher, WhiteWater; Marshall Myrman, FlowRider Inc.; and Robert Decker, Cedar Fair Entertainment Company
    • WWA’s Annual Reunion Party. Host facility, Wet’n’Wild Las Vegas, rolled out the red carpet for close to 600 owners, operators, suppliers and developers who came together to harness the power of networking. Attendees took photos with Vegas showgirls, listened to Elvis sing some of his greatest hits, nibbled on tasty food from Asian stir fry to fish tacos—all while going behind the scenes of this beautiful waterpark venue.

    WWA Sponsors Provide Record Support
    “For a fourth straight year, we received record support from our sponsors. Thanks to their support, we are able to provide attendees with many of the key elements they most appreciate like inspirational Keynote speakers and buffet lunches, along with some great prizes as they shopped the trade show floor,” said Miklosi.

    The 2018 WWA Sponsors included:

  • Diamond Sponsor – ProSlide Technology Inc.
  • Platinum Sponsors – WhiteWater and Polin Waterparks
  • Gold Sponsors – WWA Insurance by Haas & Wilkerson, Launch Logic, Neptune-Benson, PGAV Destinations, Safe Slide Restoration, Van Stone Conveyor and Water Technology Inc. / Neuman Group / Neuman Aqua
  • Silver Sponsors – Allied Specialty Insurance, Aquatic Development Group (ADG), CenterEdge Software, Convergence.net, Industrial Test Systems, Kimley-Horn & Associates, Launch Logic, Liftopia, Magic Carpet Lifts, Van Stone Conveyor and Water Safety Products
  • Bronze Sponsors – American Resort Management, Aquakita, Avalanche Waterslides, BoMar Soft Playgrounds, Brannon Corporation, Foothill Communications, InCord Play, Northeast Insurance Center, Pentair Commercial Aquatics, Shade Creations by Waterloo, Skys The Limit, Sunbrite TV, Vlocker of North America, Vivo Aquatics, Water Odyssey by Fountain People, Wet Engineering, WT Group, XINSURANCE, Zaiss & Company and Zpro Watersports
  • Special Sponsors – Aquakita, Blooloop, Dippin’ Dots, IALDA, Joseph Leute Photography and Zebec
  • Phone Charging Station provided by Tiburon Lockers
  • WWA Lapel Pins provided by Zebec

    WWA Visits The House Of The Mouse In 2019!
    The World Waterpark Association’s show is going to Walt Disney World® Resort with next year’s show taking place October 7-10, 2019. The trade show will occur on October 8th & 9th.

    “WWA and Disney is a dream combination," said Root. “Not only will our host hotel, Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort, provide a top-notch show venue for our attendees, but they can extend their stays before or after and make it a family vacation.”

    The newly renovated Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort is a stone’s throw from all four Walt Disney World® Theme Parks, championship golf and Disney Springs®. Plus, WWA Show attendees will enjoy special benefits like extra time in the parks and convenient transportation to more magic all around. Visit WWAShow.org for more details about the 2019 show.

    About the convention
    WWA’s Annual Symposium & Trade Show is the world’s largest gathering of water leisure professionals and development experts. It offers the most comprehensive waterpark education program available offering in-depth, targeted sessions and workshops for every specialty segment of the industry, along with the world’s largest showcase of waterpark-specific designers, engineers and suppliers. It is the only show focused exclusively on the water leisure industry.

    The WWA is the world's premier water-leisure trade Association serving more than 1,000 park and supplier members representing 50 countries.

    For more information and additional convention photos, contact Aleatha Ezra, Director of Park Member Development, at +1-913-599-0300 or aezra@waterparks.org.