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Maybe from the height of the pool. If they were seeing some near miss incidents with shorter kids, the precautions could be necessary.
Baja Bends is far and away the worst culprit in the entire waterpark when it comes to needing lifeguard rescues. Somewhat rare among body slides today, Baja Bends drops riders into a four foot deep pool of water instead of a shallow trough at the end of the ride. Plus, the pool has an unusually strong current given the proximity of the four slide exits and the water churning off of them, and the water actually flows backwards (behind the slide exits) into a waterfall behind the slides (you can see the waterfall while riding Lazy Rider).

If you’re ever out in the park and are near a park operations supervisor or manager with a walkie talkie and hear an emergency broadcast go out on the radio, there’s a decent chance that the broadcast will announce that there was a rescue at Baja Bends. It happens literally every day, usually multiple times a day. In fact, it’s so frequent that an additional lifeguard is stationed to stand inside Baja’s exit pool with a rescue tube, ready to get a jump on a rescue.

I don’t have any insider perspective on what goes on in Soak City these days or what conversations they’ve been having, but if I had to guess why the height requirement was raised, I bet the constant rescues are the culprit. Raising the height requirement to 52” inches probably weeds out some of the smaller and weaker swimmers who typically need to be rescued.

That said, this probably isn’t going to go over well. Baja Bends is a family slide through and through, and giving it literally the strictest height requirement in the entire water park — higher than Pipeline Peak’s speed slides and Hurricane Heights’ drop slides — might be a death sentence for this aging slide’s popularity. More than that, I feel terrible for the kids who were able to ride Baja Bends up through last weekend and now have to be told that they suddenly aren’t tall enough to ride it anymore. Ouch.
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