Waterfront: May 2007 - Beijing Gears Up for 2008 Olympics; Let's Go Surfing Now

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Beijing Gears Up for 2008 Olympics

Water Cube complete. 

As Beijing gets ready for the 2008 Summer Olympics, the National Aquatics Center, also known as the "Water Cube," is complete. The Cube is the landmark building of the 2008 Games, according to the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games (BOCOG). The futuristic structure will host swimming, diving, synchronized swimming and water-polo during the games.

The building was designed and built by a consortium of Chinese construction companies and Australian architects. Yu Xiaoxuan, deputy director of the venue and environmental department of the BOCOG, says that the Cube is also environmentally friendly. "The Water Cube absorbs solar radiation and reduces thermal loss, guarantees the incoming of most of the sunlight, which serves as the thermal source of the swimming pool water."

The total seating capacity is 17,000, including 6,000 permanent and 11,000 temporary seats for the Games. Project manager Sun Hongzhuang told the China Daily newspaper that the BOCOG was making sure that every seat in the house was a good one.

After the Olympics, the center will become the venue for various activities such as aquatic sports, swimming, fitness and recreation.

Let's Go Surfing Now

Surfer scene popular even in landlocked locales.

In the last few years, indoor water parks have taken off in locations like the Wisconsin Dells, where it's too cold much of the year to play in an outdoor pool. With the rising popularity of the parks, one attraction in particular has eclipsed the lazy rivers and wave pools: the artificial surf machine. Popular in landlocked locations without access to the ocean, artificial surf machines are meant to introduce people to surfing who may never get the chance otherwise.

One resort that has embraced both the indoor waterpark idea and the surf machine is the Kalahari Resort, with locations in Wisconsin Dells and Sandusky, Ohio. "The first ever indoor surfing ride, the FlowRider, was introduced at Kalahari Waterpark Resort in Wisconsin Dells in 2004," says Todd Nelson, president and owner of Kalahari Resorts. "The Kalahari's FlowRider is like a wave-in-a-box with 50,000 gallons of water flowing per minute. It creates the intensity of a 5-foot wave, equivalent to speeds up to 30 miles per hour."

The machine has been a huge hit in both locations, according to Nelson. "The FlowRider has proved to be extremely popular at both of our properties, especially among the sometimes hard-to-please teens," he says. "We estimate that more than 100,000 people have surfed the FlowRider at Kalahari and, because of its popularity, we are actually adding a second FlowRider as part of a major expansion to Kalahari-Sandusky, which will open in December 2007."`

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