In 1994, the Paramount-owned Kings Dominion and Carowinds opened two wooden roller coasters dubbed, Hurler. The ride’s original theme was connected to the 1992 movie and Saturday Night Live skit, Wayne’s World. Back when it opened the sparse warehouse-like station had a few exterior touches to make it look more like a Hollywood studio building. The most overt tie-in was the video of Wayne (Mike Meyers) and Garth (Dana Carvey) giving the ride instructions. While I always found it an odd pairing, I have to give Paramount some credit for originality.
Kings Dominion’s Hurler is currently undergoing a transformation. It’ll debut in 2018 as a steel roller coaster called Twisted Timbers. For now, Carowinds’ Hurler is still in operation. This review covers my experience on both of these roller coasters as they were essentially identical.
Hurler’s Seen Better Days
After the train is dispatched it winds its way around the station by turning, climbing the 83-foot tall lift hill, and turning again. The trip is a nice set up and really helps build anticipation.
After building up a little speed during the turn at the top of the lift, the train then plummets down the first 80-foot drop. Once the track flattens out riders are treated to a fun, wide, heavily-banked turn to the right. I don’t feel like large banked turns like this are very common, so it’s a solid way to start the ride. The train tilts to the side as it charges around the turn. It’s a bit bumpy, but for me pretty typical for a woodie.
Next, there are three small, mediocre airtime hills followed by another wide, banked turn that sends you back towards the station. The train chugs along the track navigating through two more small hills and into the Hurler’s worst moment. There’s a hard right turn, through the ride’s support structure that almost always slams riders to the left. Coming out of that jarring turn, Hurler really shows its age producing a puttering, “running out of gas” sensation as it navigates a final banked turn and last mini hill before the station brakes.
At this point the train creeps toward the station and I usually look to my right shaking my head in disapproval as I inspect that painful right turn we just got shoved through.
Results May Vary
Like a lot of aging wooden roller coasters, Hurler’s earned its reputation for being a rough, minimally enjoyable ride. However, after steering clear of it, I was surprised by how good it ran during the 2017 season at Carowinds. The aforementioned rough right turn was nothing more than “jolt” to the left, instead of a strong “slam”. My daughter was eager for re-rides and I complied given that I wasn’t worse for wear like I thought I might be.
The park has spent years re-tracking Hurler in order to keep it running well. Depending on when I’ve ridden these Hurlers, the amount of maintenance the rides had been through, and even things like the weather and time of day can my experiences have varied.
My Take on Hurler
Hurler has several elements of a solid wooden roller coaster including a good first drop, a little airtime here and there, and banked turns. Thankfully, my experiences on Carowinds’ Hurler in 2017 were a only a little rough and overall pretty enjoyable. I could almost give Hurler a range for its rating, but just based on this year, it’s earned an average to slightly above average rating.
I recommend Hurler, but I’d still be a bit wary and cross my fingers. As I board the trains I’ll be hoping that this newer, less punishing Hurler is the one I encounter. Not it’s rough, puttering alter ego from years passed.
Final Rating – 5.5 out of 10
What’s Your Take?
Have your ridden either of the Hurler roller coasters at Carowinds or Kings Dominion? What’d you think? Leave a comment below.