Serious about clean splashy thrills


  • Metro News
  • Monday, 11 Dec 2017

Visitors splashing about in pristine and sterilised water at the Lazy River at ESCAPE Waterplay.

FUN is serious business. This is the philosophy of Sim Leisure Group, which created ESCAPE in Teluk Bahang, Penang.

Just take a look at its cool attractions. Visitors can frolic in a pool alive with waves at ESCAPE Waterplay but you might be surprised to find out how the waves are generated.

“The wave ball was invented by a Belgian engineer for commando training,” said park founder Sim Choo Kheng, pointing at a big blue ball bobbing up and down in the pool that generates the waves.

Sim, whose title is Chief Escape Officer, said the wave ball was used by the military around the world to simulate raging sea conditions in endurance training pools to train special forces soldiers.

“The ball has four levels of wave generation. For safety reasons, we keep it at level one or two.

Kids can develop their water confidence and sense of balance playing at AK Academy at the  park.
Kids can develop their water confidence and sense of balance playing at AK Academy at the park.

“You might feel you are in a hurricane on an ocean if we turn it up to level four,” said Sim.

The water park opened in early November and holidaymakers have quickly made their way to enjoy Penang’s latest attraction.

This 9ha park in Teluk Bahang, boasts 20 aquatic attractions.

It is a paradise of pleasures connected with water, from deck chairs on a beach below coconut trees to thrilling water slides.

One slide -- the Super Looper -- is a must-try.

It starts 15m above ground and when you are shooting down the tube at 45km/h, the tube curves up and makes a loop.

“At the loop, you will feel 2g,” said Sim, referring to the g-force or measurement of acceleration that causes a perception of weight, with 2g meaning twice the force of Earth’s gravitational pull.

But park visitor Malcolm Godfrey said it felt more like 2.5g.

Hundreds of litres of water crashing down on these boys at the Play House.
Hundreds of litres of water crashing down on these boys at the Play House.

This 68-year-old retired Tornado jet fighter pilot from Britain tried the Super Looper and was reminded of his days flying Tornado jets which take their pilots through as much as 6g.

Perhaps the most innovative and important technological feature of the water park is not visible to the wet and laughing visitors.

The water in the pools is completely filtered and sterilised within two hours using 20 huge pressured filtration tanks.

Each tank is 2m in diameter and 2.4m tall, running 24/7 to give visitors pristine, clean water every day.

While this is delightful news for swimmers, the amazement comes from what is inside those tanks: recycled crushed glass.

“Sand is the most common filtration medium but look at sand grains through a microscope and you will see that they are actually quite round and smooth after being washed over in a river or stream for centuries.

Sim says water quality is a safety issue and the park provides pristine and filtered water in all the pools via the latest technology.
Sim says water quality is a safety issue and the park provides pristine and filtered water in all the pools via the latest technology.

“Recycled crushed glass has more jagged edges that work better at trapping more suspended particles.

“Also, glass has a slight negative charge so it can trap much smaller particles as small as 5 microns compared to 20 microns with sand,” explained Sim.

He fills the tanks with layers of the glass granules, measuring from 1mm to 6mm, on top of a gravel bed. Each tank is cleaned via a process called back-washing at least twice a week depending on the bath load.

“Pool water quality in this part of the world generally suffers because many do not even realise their pools are used as washing machines when they allowing swimmers in street clothing.

“To us, water quality is a safety and health issue. We enforce the policy of showering before entering pools and wearing of proper swimwear,” Sim said.

To maintain the cleanliness of the pool, the park deploys robotic pool cleaning machines overnight.

These machines vacuum the length and breadth of every pool, removing bigger particles such as fallen leaves and sand.

“Unlike typical swimming pools in condos, our pools have much bigger bathing loads so the only way we can give visitors good, clean fun in the water is to use clever technology,” Sim said.

Park entry tickets allow visitors to experience both Adventureplay and Waterplay.

The walk-in rate is RM136 for ‘big kids’ aged 13 to 60 and those who plan their visits ahead can buy advance tickets online for as low as RM68 with RM45 for ‘junior kids’ aged four to 12. Admission is free for senior citizens over 60 and children below four.

For details, visit www.escape.my.

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