Bigger, faster, taller … in many ways, that’s what it is all about when it comes to waterpark attractions. And what’s more, if you don’t stay on top of the latest craze, it’s a sure bet your competitors will.

Here, we’ve compiled a list of many of the newest innovations for this year, straight off the drawing boards. Designs big and small range from new slides to enhancements created to reinvent an existing attraction and generate new excitement from guests.

Which options are right for your property?

For 2011, ProSlide is introducing two water coasters. The Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, designer now is offers the two-person HydroMagnetic Hornet and the six-person HydroMagnetic Mammoth.

The Hornet is similar to ProSlide’s HydroMagnetic Rocket, but with a smaller footprint. It’s designed with back-to-back drops and exhilarating turns. The Mammoth combines the family raft ride experience with HydroMagnetic technology. Mammoth riders traverse frequent back-to-back curves and are propelled through uphill sections at top speeds for extra thrills.

With the introduction of the Anaconda, the Richmond, British Columbia, Canada-based WhiteWater West Industries Ltd. announces an expansion of its MEGAtube water slide line. Developers say it’s the largest family raft ride ever designed, sporting a 30-foot diameter, fully enclosed MEGAtube flume (that’s 50 percent larger than earlier MEGAtube slides).

Like other rides in the MEGAtube series, the Anaconda is set at a 90-degree angle to the slide path. The rider experience begins with a sudden drop down a steep ramp and into the MEGAtube. Once inside the tube, the raft — carrying up to six passengers — spins around and oscillates side to side, climbing as high as 15 feet up the inner walls as it winds down the water slide. The length can vary with each slide path, which can comprise multiple MEGAtube sections and also can be combined with other attractions from WhiteWater West, such as the Family Raft Ride. In addition, MEGAtube technology allows for flume-in-flume capabilities, meaning another water slide can actually pass through it, creating a one-of-a-kind experience for riders and spectators alike.

Polin Waterparks and Pool Systems has released the King Cobra slide, designed to offer an intense riding experience along with visual impact and spectator appeal. King Cobra’s design configuration, fiberglass theming, coloring and riding path help create a truly different adventure for passengers and spectators.

“The core feature of the patent-pending King Cobra is its unique configuration that enables riders in two double tubes racing through a circular path with twists and turns, and then experiencing the drop of their lives … entering into the valley part at the same time,” says Eyup Ispiroglu, project manager at Polin Waterparks and Pool Systems.

Riders reach speeds up to 50 miles per hour and the specially planned color formulation creates an illusion that makes them feel as if they will crash into each other. Special effects, including fog and auditory options, can be included to further enhance the attraction.

Looking for something for the little ones? Empex Watertoys of Uxbridge Ontario, Canada, now offers Aquacircus. This climb-and-slide spraydeck provides myriad slide experiences and interactive options. Featuring Aquaclunes themed spray clowns and Aquatons spray features placed around the structure, the resulting visual is fun for spectators as well. Aquacircus also may include several new options. Also, there are new additions to Empex’s Aquanetics line of water toys: Aquawizz, Aquanoodle, Aquaswirl and Aquamill are designed for interactivity. Kids can turn a hand wheel and produce different sprays, water flows and kinetic effects such as turning pelton wheels, spinners, gears and pinwheels to create a zany effect of water motion.

Vortex Aquatic Structures International introduces two play structures. The Montreal-based company has engineered the Scorpion to foster collaborative play and cooperation. It features five team jet activators that, when pressed, supply water to the creature’s legs, claws and tail. Anticipation builds as various parts of the creature are activated, and children learn the cause and effect of their actions, collaborating to make the Scorpion spray, mist and release water from its dumping bucket tail.

Similar to the Scorpion, the Spider features eight team jet activators that, when pressed, shoot water from the arachnid’s legs. Designed to create visual interest, both products are suitable for any zero-depth installation. They can be stand-alone splashpad features or the main focal point, designed with other Vortex elements.

The new Revolution Series from Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada-based Waterplay, has aquatic play features designed to spin, splash and spray in a 360-degree radius. The revolution series allows kids of all ages to take control. Multiple handle designs provide options for everyone and each piece comes in several colors.

Surf’s Up! The Wave is the newest addition to the line of themed features by Rain Drop Products of Ashland, Ohio. This realistic-looking, fiberglass wave (8 feet wide and 4 feet tall) is accentuated by a sheeting cascade of water from the crest, creating a perfect pipeline effect. Designed for all ages, it acts as an ideal rest zone as kids hide and relax under the sheeting water. The wave also can be incorporated with the firm's other products.

Norwalk, Ohio-based Emerald FX/Mazur North America has launched a new line of modular fiberglass interactive play structures. Ranging in size from one to 10 decks, this family play structure option is designed to suit any size pool or splashpark. Two themed options include the Treehouse and the Beehive, featuring a yellow and black kiddie slide and a honey-pot-shaped dump bucket. Ideal for kids ages 4 to 12, the fiberglass-reinforced plastic play structures include virtually no standing water, which provides “peace of mind” to watchful parents with weak swimmers.

SplashTacular Inc. now offers a product series called SplashTacular Enhancements. It is designed to boost the visual appeal of water slides for riders and spectators. The new options — SplashChallenge, HydroLighting and HydroStyling — also can significantly increase the fun factor.

The SplashChallenge system lets people compete against themselves or other riders for the fastest ride time. It includes an optional feature that allows passengers to score points by locating and tagging bright, colorful target sensors inside the slide while vying for the fastest time. Competitors and spectators view the top 10 results on a 24-inch color monitor after racers cross the finish line.

HydroStyling lets operators completely customize the appearance of water slides. Options include translucent pieces that can be fit into a slide and illuminate the inside with vibrant rings, shapes and icons in a range of shapes and colors. A nearly transparent, colorless option also is available. Embeds can add theming, including convincing train tracks, playful creatures or even a park logo. A series of stencil designs and water-transfer graphics are available to theme slide exteriors or graphically wrap an entire water slide with patterns such as tree bark, camouflage or animal prints.

HydroLighting is essentially a thrill ride light show. Featuring multiple pre-programmed lighting effects within the water slide, HydroLighting transforms the body and raft slide experience into an entertaining “show” for riders and spectators. The multisensory experiences include pulsing and gyrating lights and special effects. The user-friendly system is designed to withstand harsh outdoor and indoor environments. It includes hoop lights, featuring multiple pre-programmed effects, and point lights, which are interactive lights that flash and change colors when touched. Riders are challenged to tap as many as possible while traveling through the tube.

Glasgow, Scotland-based Murphy’s Waves Ltd. now offers a wave pool for the little ones. The shallow-water WavePlay pools are specifically designed for the very youngest of waterpark visitors. The system can generate waves in a pool that has a maximum depth of just 2 feet, and creates a relaxing and safe zone for children and parents. WavePlay pools come in a range of funky designs and theming options, and can be integrated with almost any water toys or spray features.

Dreampark International, with U.S. headquarters in Atlanta, introduces the Splash n’ Spray product line, an in-queue entertainment system integrating water and animation. Designed for walkways, waiting lines and general park areas, the system’s water gushers refresh guests while they watch the 2-D/3-D animated characters move to the beat of any music. There’s also a platform for highlighting sponsors, generating revenue from advertisements, and broadcasting rules and disclaimers to inform riders.

American Wave Machines Inc. in Solana Beach Calif., has developed the Standing Wave Stream. This stationary wave river, debuting at the newly renovated Moody Gardens Resort Kahuna Laguna project near Galveston, Texas, includes river rapids and wave combinations that create an interactive wave pool river. The Standing Wave Stream is digitally controlled — operators can change the water speeds, wave patterns, wave directions and wave heights — and systems can be built to specifications determined by the site footprint. Riders can experience it using body boards or inner tubes, or on their own.