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Sling shot > Ayia Napa’s famous attraction July 16, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Cyprus Ayia Napa.
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If you fancy being flung through the air at high speed, there is a ride in Ayia Napa for you.

“Are you ready?” a voice overhead asks me.

Before I can even reply I am projected vertically into the air at a speed of 160km per hour. My stomach lurches, I feel totally weightless and I am unable to suppress my screams. People on the ground seem miniscule and I have a perfect view of the whole of Ayia Napa stretching out before me. Unfortunately, I am much too scared to appreciate it.

Ayia Napa’s famous Sling Shot is frequently referred to as the world’s hottest new attraction and is often compared to doing a bungee jump backwards. It consists of a round metal launch capsule, attached to four steel cables and is operated by a series of gigantic springs. Before people are launched into the air they are lowered eight feet down into a pit called ‘the volcano’, where smoke is released and the sound system simulates the rumbling noises of an eruption. Then the springs are released. The box that stores all of this energy, termed the ‘Spring Machine’, is capable of storing over 40 tons of energy. Not surprising then that the ride is capable of reaching up to 90 metres at approximately 160km per hour in the space of two seconds. Gulp? Indeed…

I spoke to the man in charge of the ride, William Kinsella.

“The Sling Shot has been here for about nine years now, and it has not lost its popularity. It was invented by the Australian company Funtime, which operates about 60 rides around the world. A total of more than 260,000 people have done the Sling Shot here in Ayia Napa. Anyone can do it; we have had people of ages ranging from four to 80 on our ride! One guy loved it so much he tried it 30 times in one night. Needless to say, we gave him a discount.”

The ride is open from 3pm until about 5 or 6 am. And peak hours are between 9pm and 2am. “People really start pouring in then, there’s a great atmosphere,” Kinsella said.

The ride costs £12 per person but a second go is only £5, while a third go is free. A video of the whole ride can also be purchased for £8. Discount packages for two people are available for the price of £35, which includes a video of the ride and a t-shirt each.

“The video is one of the best things about the ride,” Kinsella said.

“There are often twice as many people watching our live cameras as people actually daring to do the ride. You can watch as people are launched into the air, usually screaming their heads off.”

Asked if people often suffer from motion sickness, Kinsella shook his head confidently. “The Sling Shot is a non-motion sickness ride. If you are sick, you are guaranteed your money back. Hardly anyone is sick, and if they are, they were most likely feeling ill before the ride.

“The speed of the ride is dependent on weight, but we reduce the speed to 50 per cent when there are small children on it. There are also four different harnesses holding each person down, so there is no chance of anyone falling out!”

The Sling Shot really does give you your money’s worth if you are looking for a minute and a half of pure adrenaline rush. I have never been much of a fan of extreme rides, so would I do it again? Probably not, but I am beginning to see where these people are coming from.

WHAT THEY THOUGHT

Markus, 21, from Norway
“I lived here for three years and have done the ride plenty of times, but this time I wanted to bring my friend along too.

Personally I think the price of the ride is fair; the prices at home are far higher. There is no question that I would do the ride again – I’ve done it enough times already! I can’t say I find the ride scary. I do get a knot in my stomach when we go flying upwards, but this is all part of the fun. It certainly feels more secure than a bungee jump too because you’re strapped in very securely.”

Simcha, 18, from Israel
“We saw the Sling Shot when we were passing on our bikes and thought it looked fun, so we decided to try it out. If we come back next year we might do the ride again, but I don’t think we will be doing it again during this visit, once is probably enough. I was a bit scared during the ride. I’m not generally into extreme sports, but I think this was definitely worth the money and it was fun.”

Eva, 19, from Israel
“We have a view of the Sling Shot from our hotel. From the very first day my boyfriend and I wanted to try it! I really enjoy extreme and adrenaline rides. I’m not sure I would do the ride again. I really enjoyed it but I don’t think a second go would be as exciting as the first; it wouldn’t be as special. I would also think twice about the price too. I was nervous beforehand but once I was up in the air I was too shocked to scream. The view up there is wonderful!”

Rune, 22, from Norway
“I decided to do the ride because it looked like a lot of fun. I also thought the price was very cheap. In Norway this sort of ride costs about three times as much. I would definitely do the ride again, but next time I think I would like to do it in the daylight. I wasn’t scared but my stomach did feel as if it had been turned upside down!”

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