We tried Sky Surfer, a motorized whirlwind experience that takes you more than 50 feet in the air and up to 30 miles per hour—all while sitting, standing or lying down. Read on to see if you’re daring enough to try it yourself.
I’d like to think I’m an adventurous person. That’s why, when I heard that we were doing a story about the new Sky Surfer experience in Branson, I was all for trying it. Sky Surfer is not an ordinary zip line. You’re not strapped inside a swing-like seat on this baby. Instead, you’re sitting, lying down or standing on a surfboard-like panel with basically nothing to hold on to. The board is attached to an arm and a cable, which takes you just feet away from the Branson Strip, over the parking lot and through 7 acres of trees before arriving back at the platform.
Because Sky Surfer is battery-powered instead of gravity-powered, you don’t have to participate at all. “It’s a lot like a rollercoaster,” says Jared Story, general manager of Sky Surfer. Instead of starting at the top and stopping at the bottom like a normal zip line would, Sky Surfer can turn corners. A rope harnesses you, so you’re safe the whole time.
The realization that Sky Surfer was safe didn’t relieve my fear of falling as I arrived that day. After donning harnesses and helmets, 417 Magazine photographer Kevin O’Riley, editorial designer Garrett DeRossett and I walked up more than 50 feet of stairs to reach the platform. I shakily got on top of the board, gripping the arm of it for dear life. Then it began to move, soaring out over the parking lot. Since the ride reaches speeds of 30 miles per hour, the sensation is really unusual. It feels like you could fall, but of course that’s impossible. I checked, and the zip line cables would support nearly 43,000 pounds of weight. Since the trip is motorized, it basically stays one constant speed the entire time.
The sensation of riding Sky Surfer is like no other. You feel like you might fall, especially as the board turns different directions. But it’s also exhilarating. I even managed to shake my iron grip on my harness long enough to wave at the passersby on the street below.
The half-mile ride took about five minutes, and when it ended I ventured onto the board to try it the two other ways (lying down and sitting). I liked sitting the best. It offered the same rush of adrenaline, but that feeling was accompanied by something else—a bit more security.
3600 W. 76 Country Blvd., Branson
Hours: Open 10 a.m.–10 p.m., seven days a week through Labor Day.
More Info: Call 417-239-2947 or visit theskysurfer.com.