Floating Into July

Vol. 1, No. 12

This week, on a special Summer Edition of Sunday Bunch: a tribute to one of mankind’s greatest inventions, the water park.

Specifically, a defining feature of any great water park, the lazy river.

The first man-made lazy river opened in 1983 at the Wet N’ Wild water park in Arlington, Texas.

As the story goes, Wet N’ Wild founder George Millay–also the founder of Sea World–was in Jakarta, Indonesia, walking through a theme park called Ancol Dreamland, when he observed “a circular canal with people in it.” For Millay, it presented the perfect innovation for his growing water park empire: an attraction that helped people stay cool, kept lines smaller, and could handle hundreds of guests simultaneously.

Millay returned home, told his engineers to “build me a river.”

After some initial confusion (“why build a ride that has no beginning or end?”), engineers developed a 15 foot wide pool that installed jets every 100 feet to keep the water circulating. Guests would be able to float on a tube or walk along the river.

Upon opening in ‘83, the lazy river was a huge hit with guests, and quickly became a staple at all Wet N’ Wilds.

When they’re nipple-to-nipple and bun-to-bun, we know the turnstiles have really spun!

George Millay

Mr. Millay trademarked the term “Lazy River,” but the number of parks using the name got so large it was impossible to keep up. The lazy river quickly became a central feature of water parks around the world, and the rest is history.

40+ years later, these are some of the greatest achievements in the medium:

Marriott Marquis — Houston, Texas

Grand Sirenis Riviera Maya – Tulum, Mexico

Waikolohe Stream, Aulani — Oahu, Hawaii

Grand Resort Deck, Galaxy Macau
(the world’s second longest)

MGM Grand – Las Vegas

The Current, Atlantis Paradise Island — Bahamas

Leisure River, Louisiana State University — Baton Rouge

Shangri-La Singapore

Las Ventanas al Paraíso – Los Cabos, Mexico

BSR Cable Park — Waco, Texas
(the world’s longest lazy river - 1mi)

Ocean Park Water World – Hong Kong

JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge

Coconut Bay Beach Resort & Spa – St. Lucia

The Falls at Schlitterbahn – New Braunfels, Texas

Aquaventure, Atlantis The Palm – Dubai

Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa


Here are a few books and newsletter/blogs to provide the perfect post-4th hammock reading for a nice long weekend:


Status & Culture - W. David Marx
and Filterworld - Kyle Chayka

I recently (re-)read Marx’s excellent Status & Culture, which was my favorite book of last year. I happened to read Filterworld immediately after, and discovered they make perfect companion pieces.

Read in sequence, Marx starts you off with foundational mechanics of how culture is created, including the status-driven underpinnings that shape so much of what drives us individually and as a collective. Then Chayka comes in with a detailed picture of how those cultural markers of status are then systematically fed to us via algorithmically-filtered platforms.

As many of you know, I spent a good percentage of my career working in and around the business of sport. If I had to teach a course on the subject, this would be our textbook.

Roger Paul Mitchell has been a journalist for Sky, a CFO for EMI Italy, and the CEO of the Scottish Football League. He’s also one of the only people writing pragmatically about the business of sport, where breathless cheerleading is the norm.

In Sport’s Coming Storm, Roger does an excellent job of outlining the potential implications of recent money pouring into sport from sovereign royalty funds and private equity investors, and how the expectations of returns will eventually collide with a less-than-rosy longer-term picture for growth.

Project Hail Mary - Andy Weir

What’s that you say, real life feeling a bit too real these days? Let’s try some fiction, with a generous side of science.

Weir wrote The Martian and this one has a lot of the same “solving problems in space” dynamic but gets much weirder (think giant talking spider).

If it doesn’t find its way to your reading list, you do have the option to wait for the movie, currently in production by Phil Lord & Chris Miller (Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse, The Lego Movie, The Afterparty), starring Ryan Gosling and Sandra Hüller (Anatomy of a Fall).


Two of my must-read newsletters of the moment come from two of the authors I mentioned above:

Culture: An Owner’s Manual – W. David Marx

For members of the creative class or the cultural commentariat, Marx’s Manifesto Towards a New Creative Class is required reading.

One Thing – Kyle Chayka

Less an extension of Chayka’s expansive cultural writing, as the title suggests, this is a quick-read appreciation of one thing each week. (You might notice the “cutre” post I shared a few weeks back.)

The Honest Broker - Ted Gioia

Gioia is a cultural critic, author, music historian, record producer, jazz pianist, and former Stanford professor. He’s also emerging as one of the most astute observers of the business of creativity and culture.

A few good places to start:

Channel 6 – Spencer Hall & Holly Anderson

Spencer and Holly have been two of the funniest living sportswriters, going back to the early days of blogging and the legendary college football blog, Everyday Should Be Saturday.

Channel 6 is the evolution of their work, featuring bangers like An Appreciation of NCAA 2K14 and Meet the Marvel Mascots of the SEC. Any college football fan needs to subscribe to the free version at a minimum.

Have a great week and an epic 4th 🇺🇸. I will catch you at the tail end of the long weekend.

Thanks again for being here.


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