Giant slide - THE LONGEST IN SPAIN
The Estepona Giant Slide (Estepona Tobogán in Spanish) is a 38m stainless steel slide and tourist attraction, located on Calle Eslovakia just off the Avenida del Mar propeller roundabout, between the entrance to the Marina and the Rainbow Steps.
When it opened on 9 May 2019, the slide it became famous immediately, thanks to coverage on social media and Spanish national TV news. It closed on 10 May.
TV stations debated the giant slide
In October 2018 the Estepona Town Hall announced a project for the expansion of Parque de Los Niños, to include a 38 metre stainless steel slide connecting Calle Sofia and Calle Eslovakia. The giant slide would be the longest in Spain.
"The slide that has been installed is semicircular, can be used by people of all ages, is made of stainless steel, has a length of 38 metres and has a slope that ranges between 32 and 34 degrees," stated a Town Hall press release on the opening day.
Parque de Los Niños opened in 2013 and has been extended to include a sports centre, a dog park, and a children's playground. The aim of the park is to balance the planned construction of numerous apartment blocks in the area of Estepona known as Las Mesas (the Tables), referring to the steep slope leading up to a plateau area. The Rainbow Steps also climb up to Las Mesas.
Despire the park's name, the slide was specifically designed and certified for all ages. The contract for the €28,000-slide started on 21 December 2018 and was due to be completed in four months (April 2019), but the project ran slightly late, impinging on the campaign period for the municipal elections on 28 May. As inaugurations are not permitted during the campaign period, the attraction therefore opened without any ceremony on 9 May 2018.
The first locals to try out the slide enjoyed it, although they were surprised by the speed of the descent, and crowds soon gathered to watch and post images and videos on Social Media.
A number of people suffered minor scrapes and bruises after their trip, mainly from overshooting the end of the slide onto gravel. The following day the Town Hall issued another statement saying that it had ordered the constructor to close the slide and conduct a safety review. It stated that 1,000 people had used the slide without incident, and drew attention to the signs posted at the top which instructed users to sit, rather than lie down, and to keep hands inside the slide
Although the Town Hall was correct, in these days of Social Media and virality, an image and its implied subtext or message rapidly gains momentum - the same photos of a woman's badly grazed elbows were reposted continuously. It was suprising how safety-conscious the Spanish public suddenly became. One image of a lady with her skirt in the air added to the amusement. This, along with other comical meme pictures and videos, went viral and 'Tobogán de Estepona' was soon trending on Twitter.
The slide was taped off the same day, and wooden pallets were been fastened to the chute to make it impossible to use. 24 hrs hired security guards were watching over the slide for the month of June reducing to night only until the end of July.
We assumed the slide would re-open with a longer and flatter final section to slow down the last part of the descent, thereby avoiding visitors flying off the end at high speed. The Estepona Mayor did say in an interview with the La Sexta TV on 6 June there it would be replaced by a better one.
Hovever the slide was suddenly removed by the construction company early on the morning of 7th August. Estepona town hall distanced themselves from the slide that had 'discredited' Estepona and from the removal by the instalation company who had been asked to conduct a safety review of its own slide and the safety certification. The Town hall stressed that neither the installation nor removal of the slide came at a cost to the public coffers as it was an initiative on the part of developers charged with revamping that area of the town. This is of course only partly true since the capital cost of the slide would have been included in the tender price of the park.
Located on Calle Eslovakia just off the Avenida del Mar, near the roundabout with a large bronze ship's propeller, between the entrance to the port and the Rainbow steps.