Entertainment

Pirates will walk the plank at Gulf Islands Water Park

The High Diving Pirates of Gulf Islands will be at Gulf Islands Water Park Saturday through July 23.
The High Diving Pirates of Gulf Islands will be at Gulf Islands Water Park Saturday through July 23. Dana Kunze’s Water Show Productions Inc.

The High Diving Pirates of Gulf Islands will make a splash as they invade Gulf Islands Water Park for fun-filled shows Saturday through July 23.

Shows are 22 minutes and run three times daily. They are free with a season pass or an admission ticket to the water park.

The pirate-themed show is breathtaking, considering the feats that are performed. The performers spring from diving boards that are 42 feet and 80 feet above the ground. The pirates plunge into only 10 feet of water in a pool that is 26 feet in diameter.

The show also has a fire dive once daily, usually the last show of the day. The fire dive involves the diver wearing a 100-percent cotton suit, lighting himself on fire to reach heat of 1,000 to 1,500 degrees, and jumping from a 42-foot tower.

Dana Kunze, founder and president of the nationwide Dana Kunze’s Water Show Productions Inc., said the heat is so intense that it can be felt in the audience.

“Because he is totally engulfed in flames, people will feel the heart as he dives in the water. People 20 to 40 feet away will feel it,” Kunze said.

The act is set to energetic, family-friendly music as the master of ceremonies tells tales of pirating.

“The show is the story of pirates that sail the seven seas. It tells a story from beginning to end with all aspects of diving. Kids love it because all kids love pirates. We do dramatic stuff as well,” Kunze said.

In addition to the awe-inspiring dives, there will be a fun segment in which the audience judges a plank diving competition through their cheers. Guests also may stick around after the show for a meet-and-greet with the divers.

Kunze was a professional diver from age 13 to 56. He set the world record seven times for the highest dive – 172 feet.

He said diving isn’t as easy as it looks from the bleachers. For example, divers may travel up to 60 mph into only 9.5 feet of water between themselves and the ground. Also, performers can’t solely concentrate on their dives because they also are busy remembering their lines, doing acrobatics and remaining aware of every step they take.

Admission tickets start at $30.99 weekdays and $32.99 Saturday and Sunday.

Gulf Island Water Park is located at 17200 16th St., Gulfport. Hours of operation are Sunday-Thursday 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and Friday and Saturday 10 a.m.-7 p.m.

The High Diving Pirates of Gulf Island

When: Saturday through July 23 with the hours of Sunday-Thursday 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and Friday and Saturday 10 a.m.-7 p.m.

Where: Gulf Islands Water Park, 17200 16th St., Gulfport

Admission: tickets start at $30.99 weekdays and $32.99 Saturday and Sunday

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