Shock Wave at Six Flags Over Texas celebrated its 40th birthday this year and is aging gracefully. Unlike many loopers of similar vintage, this double-looping coaster from Schwarzkopf hasn’t become brutally rough over the years. It’s to the park’s credit that they were willing to invest the time and money to keep it running smoothly. As a result it continues to be a popular attraction.
Layout and Elements
Overlooking a highway, Shock Wave features an out and back layout with 3,600 feet of track and two vertical loops. Almost incredibly, it was the tallest coaster in existence when it opened, with a height of 116 feet. That goes to show how far roller coasters have advanced since 1978. The trains consist of seven cars seating two across in two rows for a total capacity of 28 riders, with lap bars as restraints. The track has seen a number of color changes; since I first rode Shock Wave several years ago it’s been bright green. This coaster reaches a maximum speed of 60 mph.
A ride on Shock Wave begins with an ascent of a 116-foot chain lift hill. Upon reaching the top the train dips and makes a U-turn before plunging 105 feet. The drop is followed by the two consecutive loops. Upon exiting the loops the train ascends a small hill, hits the mid course brake run, makes a right turn and drops again. From that point it rises, turns left and coasts downhill. It then sails over another hill, negotiates a left turn and enters a 270-degree helix. A bunny hill brings the ride to a conclusion. It’s an enjoyable, dynamic ride with some good airtime moments. And at 5.9, the G-force – positive and negative – is unusually high.
During my first visit to Six Flags Over Texas, riders of Shock Wave were offered the option of experiencing the ride with virtual reality headsets. This resulted in agonizingly slow loading and dispatch. I opted out because I wanted to experience the ride for the first time the normal way. However, that meant that I still had to sit there on the train while numerous adjustments were made to other riders’ VR gear. A couple of riders repeatedly complained that they were not seeing the right image and as a result the ride ops exchanged their headsets multiple times. It was an operational nightmare. So I couldn’t have been happier when the VR option was eliminated the following year.
Final Thoughts and Rating
While Shock Wave is not in the same category as some of the extreme thrill rides at Six Flags Over Texas – i.e., New Texas Giant, Titan and Mr. Freeze: Reverse Blast – it’s thrilling enough. It’s more intense and gripping than it looks.
Final Rating – 7.0 out of 10 (Good)
What’s your take? Have you ridden Shock Wave and if so, what did you think of it?
(Video courtesy of Six Flags Over Texas)
This was a part of our 12 Days of Coasters special! Every day from Christmas until January 5th, we gave away a roller coaster review for you to enjoy. You can check them all out here. We thank you for reading, hope you’ve had a merry holidays, and wish you a happy New Year!