Thrills to No End - Page 6

With its mix of fresh, over-the-top rides and perennial crowd-pleasers, homey Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk continues to amaze

Nothing Can Save You from the Dipper

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk
The many faces of terror tell the story—and the Giant Dipper lives on.

First it slips downhill through a dark tunnel. Then you’re in the light and heading up, up, slowly heading up.

The rails are clacking away, dangerously. If you’re in the first car, you can see the crest. You see two flags flapping in the breeze—the Bear Republic, Old Glory.

Surely they’re the last flags you’ll ever see.

Then the Giant Dipper takes its first drop and you’re falling, held in by a mechanism even Houdini couldn’t push past—and you know nothing can save you now. You hear screaming. You are screaming.

Santa Cruz’s Giant Dipper may date to 1924 and may be in the National Register of Historic Places. It’s far from the largest coaster in the world. But at 90 years of age, the Dipper remains the most exciting ride on the Boardwalk.

Those wooden braces you dip beneath, convinced they’re about to sever your head from your shoulders—what ghoul installed them there? And you face those braces not once but twice before, a minute and 52 seconds after the start of your ordeal, the ride is over.

“Mom! Mom! Can we ride it again?”