A water slide is a type of slide or tube designed for warm-weather or indoor recreational use, typically with water pumped to its top and allowed to flow down its surface, although some may simply be wet. A person is able to sit directly on the slide, or on a raft or tube designed to be used with the slide, and slide to the bottom via gravity. The water reduces friction so sliders travel down the slide very quickly. Water slides typically run into a swimming pool (often called a plunge pool) at the end. Some, however, have long, flat, straight sections at the bottom with a few inches of standing water, frictional material, or rollers attached to the slide designed to slow the slider and allow them to safely exit the slide.
Water slides are popular at water parks and may form alternatives to those who don't like such intense rides at other amusement parks. If these empty into a pool, the pool is usually designed only to catch sliders who must exit the pool immediately after coming to a stop, to prevent sliders entering the pool at high speed from striking other swimmers. These plunge pools are usually quickly cleared by other swimmers to avoid injury. Smaller water slides may be found at actual swimming pools in water parks, private locations and community recreation centers where larger "thrill" slides are absent.
Body slides wind down a very curvy path which is not that steep, although some slides allow significant speeds to be obtained. The sharpest curves are usually completely enclosed or have high walls on the outside of the curve to prevent users from leaving the slide by accident; thus these slides can be a long tube or alternate between an open chute and closed tube. G-forces experienced in these slides can range from gentle and family-friendly to surprisingly intense. Most riders will be required to lie flat on their backs, and cross their arms over their chest to prevent injury on these types of slides. An example of an enclosed water slide is at Pharaoh's Adventure Park in Redlands, California, which is the tallest enclosed body water slide in the world.
Some slides are designed to be ridden with a tube or raft. These are commonly family slides, and some tubes allow up to eight riders at one time. These are normally slow and include many twists and turns, and sometimes have pools along their length to simulate whitewater rafting. The slide angle generally varies from 10 deg. to 15 deg. for curved body slide, where as 20 deg. to 30 deg. for straight body slide.
A small percentage of slides are hydro coasters. They shoot riders up and down with water, magnets, or a conveyor belt. This is normally a "high intensity" water slide. A company called pro slide has recently developed a hydro magnetic water coaster. It uses LIMs to push the inner tube up the incline. The City of North Richland Hills, Texas operates a community owned water park that claims to have the worlds largest uphill water slide called The Green Extreme according to their advertising.
Inflatable water slides are designed for the home user. They are typically made of a thick strong PVC or vinyl and nylon, and the water slide is inflated using an electric or gasoline powered blower. The water slide is attached to a water hose in order to generate the supply of water. There are small sized inflatable water slides for private house uses or larger inflatable water slides for school, picnic, corporate, or carnival style use. There are also swimming pool water slides which users can set up to slide straight into a pool.
Water slides and the accompanying splash pools may present dangers such as drowning, falling off the slide, or collisions with other riders or rafts. For this reason, lifeguards and various safety sensors may be used to help monitor the water slide.
See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_slide
Source: Wikipedia (All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License and Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.)