Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk
The Giant Dipper is still standing strong after 76 years of operation. This classic wooden coaster was built in 1924 on the historic Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, the last remaining seaside boardwalk on the west coast.
Constructed by Arthur Looff, a local Santa Cruz resident, the Giant Dipper was erected in just 47 days for minimal cost of only $50,000! Over the years several renovations have been done, including the replacement of the original trains with sleek new ones in 1984.
In 1987, the attraction earned the honor of becoming a National Historic Landmark, recognized by the US National Park Service. Today, the Giant Dipper remains the number one attraction on the venerable Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and continues to thrill millions of guests.
Since opening day over 40 million have taken a ride on this classic and it is still recognized by many as one of the top wooden roller coasters in the country.
The Giant Dipper was designed with a "Double Out and Back" layout. The ride begins with a dark tunnel which leads to the lift hill that rises seven stories above the boardwalk.
Type of coaster:
Double Out and Back
Height: 70 feet
Max drop: 65 feet
Descent angle: 45°
Top speed: 55 mph
Length: 2,640 feet
1 minute, 50 seconds
Number of Trains:
2 - 24 passenger
Arthur Looff, Prior & Church
May 17, 1924
Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk
Santa Cruz, California
Reaching the summit of the lift hill the train begins to drop, catching speed as it descends the 65-foot first drop to reach a top speed of 55 mph!
After the first drop riders will enjoy the variety of hills, and twisting turns, with an occassional pop of airtime. The Giant Dipper's double out and back layout features plenty of up and downs, with several crossovers and one large fan turn at the south end.
To keep the Dipper safe after more than 75 years, the roller coaster and trains are throughly inspected by the park's mechanics every day. The 2,640-feet of wood track is walked every two hours to ensure a trouble free operation.
Individual tickets can can be purchased for $3 or you can purchase an all-day pay one price wristband and ride as much as you like. A visit to the boardwalk is not complete without at least a ride on this classic wooden roller coaster.
Featured prominently as the main attraction on the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, the Giant Dipper is a living reminder of the many long lost seaside roller coasters that used to line the coast of California. Isn't it about time that you took a ride on this timeless classic.
More photos can be seen in the Giant Dipper Picture Gallery.
Photos by Mike Phillips. Copyright © 1998 Ultimate Rollercoaster.