Opening Day: WhoaZone at Whihala Beach
Beach days in the Region are more exciting than ever, thanks to the city of Whiting’s WhoaZone at Whihala Beach. The city’s Commercial Recreation Specialists opened WhoaZone, the popular floating obstacle course on Saturday.
“It’s ready to go and we are excited for a summer full of fun!” Shannon Brower, Operations Manager said. “WhoaZone is a different kind of fun for families to do outdoors and spend time together.”
Opening day was a success, despite weather-related delays, and it is WhoaZone's third year of operation. The large structure blankets an acre of water and swimmers are able to explore the obstacles at their own pace. The waves add to the difficulty of completing an obstacle, but do not worry about going overboard. Guests are required to wear lifejackets and are monitored by six trained lifeguards at all times. There are 3 different sections, with difficulty levels ranging from easy to hard. The varied levels ensures the whole family will enjoy their splash session. A new splash session begins every hour.
“I’m looking forward to this summer and providing a nice activity for the town,” Brower said. “It’s fun seeing how excited people are which is rewarding to me.”
It is Francisco Matchain’s third year as a Lifeguard for WhoaZone. Matchain returns every summer because he enjoys keeping people safe, being active in the water, and working in a fun environment. He even enjoys WhoaZone with friends off of the clock. Matchain plans on attending Ivy Tech Community College in the fall for his freshman year, so this opening day marks the last summer before college. Francisco appreciates that all ages can enjoy WhoaZone and all of the safety precautions. Before each new group heads towards WhoaZone, staff informs swimmers of the rules they need to follow. According to Matchain, some of those rules include no diving and to signal a lifeguard if help is needed.
“We take safety seriously,” Matchain said. “The rules aren’t overly strict, they are in place to make sure everyone is safe and has a great time.”
Mike Martin, VP of Operations, said he looks forward to this season because he loves to see all of the families enjoying the unique attraction. According to Martin, WhoaZone is the only floating obstacle course on Lake Michigan, and he encourages anyone, ages 7 and up, to give it a try.
“Sometimes people are nervous, but when they get out there and actually see how it works, those nerves go away,” Martin said.
Martin noted the water is cold at the beginning of summer, but when people are moving and running around, they become acclimated to the water temperature.
“WhoaZone is fun that the whole family can enjoy,” Martin said.
To learn more about the WhoaZone and plan a day of play at Whihala beach, visit www.whoazonewhihala.com.