Specific Type: Spinning Coaster
In 2006, Six Flags got into the realm of extreme sports, hosting the Tony Hawk's Boom Boom HuckJam tour at various parks throughout the summer. But that was only the beginning. 2007 brought the return of the extreme stunt filled tour and two brand new coasters inspired by the insanity of Tony Hawk himself. Six Flags Fiesta Texas and Six Flags St. Louis became the first two parks in the chain to receive a brand new breed of thrill ride, the spinning coaster! Six Flags
chose to go with Gerstlauer's take on the new concept which features trains that seat 4 people, 2 riders in two rows, facing each other. The very next year in 2008, Six Flags over Texas and Six Flags Discovery Kingdom would also get spinning coasters from Gerstlauer. While the rides at Six Flags over Texas, Six Flags St. Louis, and Six Flags Fiesta Texas are clones of each other, the version in Six Flags Discovery Kingdom is a smaller, more compact model.
Six Flags Fiesta Texas was the first park to open their Tony Hawk's Big Spin and were quite deserving of a new thrill ride. It was the park's first coaster installation since 2000, when they opened the B&M Floorless, Superman Krypton Coaster. To get to the ride, park guests must walk all the way out to the back left corner of the park. There in the Fiesta Bay Boardwalk area of the park is where the great choice has to be made: to watch the chaos, or to be the chaos. While waiting in the queue line, guests can read placards of great moments in the sport of skateboarding, and following Tony Hawk's climb to greatness. Or of course, for those who don't feel like reading, its always fun to watch riders screaming their lungs out as they spiral and spin over the bright red rails. Upon reaching the dual-loading station riders are directed to one of two single-train cars waiting there. Out of the station, a clockwise u-turn lines the car up with the 48 foot high lift hill.
At the top, the car's stabilizer is disengaged, and its all free spinning from that point on. The rails dive down and to the left, reaching a top speed of 31 mph, before rising back to an elevated series of wild mouse like switchbacks. These really get the car spinning, but there is much more to come. After passing through a light block break, riders then enter into a wicked 450 degree downward helix to the right. No sooner have they exited that element though than track switches banking and ascends a 450 degree helix in the opposite direction. This feeds the train onto the second mid-course block break, from which it dips down providing a bit of air. The skate board themed train jumps up and to the right over the path as onlookers watch and continue to dip and hop as it curves further clockwise. Rising up and over the path again, the rails dive into a small ravine, send riders up and over a small airtime hill before dropping beneath the ride's final break run. A super tight 270 degree left hand turn brings the rails back up to station level. Gliding into the breaks, the car finally comes to rest, still spinning in place as the angular momentum slowly bleeds off. Riders disembark in the station and attempt to regain their balance with crazy grins of their faces wondering which way is up, and when they can ride it again.
During the 2010-2011 off-season, Six Flags ended a number of branding contracts in an effort to help reduce company debt. The Tony Hawk's Big Spin rides were included in this and are now simply known as Big Spin and any theming related specifically to the skate board super star has been removed.
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