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Oasis Water Park opens North America's first Ripbreak WaveSurfer in Billings

Posted at 11:26 PM, Jul 07, 2024

BILLINGS — Oasis Water Park opened its newest attraction, the Ripbreak WaveSurfer, to the public on Sunday, and is a first in North America.

“We couldn't be more thrilled to open it up to the public for this really unique experience,” said Chuck Barthuly, the director of operations at Oasis. “You have to travel miles to have an experience like this, and right here in Billings, in our landlocked little city, we can actually go ride a wave.”

The Ripbreak is the first of its kind in North America and fun for all ages.

Barthuly first got the idea to bring WaveSurfer to Oasis after riding one on vacation, and with the help of a large donation from Harvest Church, Barthuly and his team were able to make that dream a reality within a few years.

The Ripbreak is an artificial wave machine that allows anyone to surf on flowboards. While there are other similar wave riders in the country, this particular brand, WaveSurfer, is based out of Belgium and is the first time one has been built in America. The ride is wider and longer in the back for safety than most standard wave riders.

Chuck Barthuly
Barthuly has been the director of operations at the Oasis since the park opened twelve years ago and is excited about its newest edition, 'Ride the Rip' Wave Surfer.

"It has a few unique features that other brands don't have, and I personally believe that this is the best brand, just in terms of the safety, the experience that you get, and the ease of getting to be successful on it," said Barthuly.

Karel Dubois is the CEO of WaveSurfer Belgium and travels worldwide to install his wave surfers. The parts for the machine also came directly from Belgium.
“We are unique in this way, that we are the only one worldwide who do the engineering, the design, the production, the installation, and also the training. Also, we have our own operation facilities,” said Dubois.

Dubois spent 12 days in Billings and assisted with the three-day staff training at Oasis to ensure everything runs smoothly before operating fully.

“I'm extremely happy with Montana, the way how they experience this as (a) complete community. People are so nice, (in their) interaction, and also the instruction was amazing; it was one of the best groups we've ever had for training," said Dubois.

Karel Dubois
Dubois travels all across the globe with his company to install wave surfers. This is the first time they have installed one in North America.

The water park was busy Sunday afternoon with their first guests trying out the surfer.

“It seems like this new ride has taken the attraction. It's been a lot of fun,” said Andy Pentland.

Ripbreak is also easy to learn, as many found out quickly after taking a few rides.

"Riding it, it's a lot of fun. Very difficult to start, but once you get it down it's good," said Spencer Pentland and Abe Gumbij.

Barthuly said that the park had felt they had previously missed attractions for teenagers and young adults, and hopes that this new addition to the park will add more reasons for all ages to enjoy the Oasis.
“The hope was that we would just be a place where families can all come and create those lasting fun memories that just leave in that indelible mark on their childhood where 'Remember the times we got to go to Oasis and ride the rip?'” said Barthuly.

On opening day, the Ripbreak seemed to be able to accomplish just that.

“Little kids up to people, as old as myself and older, I mean, there's some older guys on there riding it and they seem to have a lot of fun, and there's not a lot of pain involved in this. So I think you can have fun,” said Pentland.

Sessions to book a timeslot to ride the wave surfer can be found here.