Waterslide memories come flooding back
By DAVID MOASE
WITH the closure of the Aquajet waterslide about six weeks away, owner Ken Lessells did not have much time yesterday to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the attraction's opening.
The first slider took the plunge on Saturday, January 12, 1980, and countless thousands have enjoyed the same thrill since.
Yesterday's perfect summer weather attracted a big crowd and Mr Lessells admitted to feeling a little sad at the Aquajet's imminent closure.
"We had a bus in from Coonabarabran the other day and the driver said, 'I've been coming here for 15 years, what am I going to do next year?' " Mr Lessells said.
The idea for the Aquajet came when Mr Lessells and his wife, Lyn, were in Canada and heard about a waterslide in Florida.
They travelled south to investigate the slide and another similar structure and came home determined to build one in Coffs Harbour.
When it was finished it was first in Australia and the tallest in the world.
The opening day was given over to the Coffs Harbour Lions Club for a fundraising event, and the Aquajet has been the scene of countless fundraisers since.
"I feel sorry for all the schools that used to come here for fundraisers but soon won't be able to," Mr Lessells said.
He is hopeful the slide will rise again after its February 27 closure, with Jetty Park, next to the Pet Por- poise Pool, tipped as the new location.