Advertisement
  1. Fun

Remember the guy who threw up on Busch Gardens' Sheikra? He's back on Tigris.

MONICA HERNDON | Times Tampa Bay Times reporter Daniel Figueroa IV and Zander Morales preview the new coaster Tigris on April 18, 2019 at Busch Gardens in Tampa , Florida. Tigris is Florida’s tallest launch coaster, and reaches 150-feet high. The ride opens to the public on Friday.
Published Apr. 19

With a baby-blue sky above, a young man in a soft cotton tee and cargo shorts put on a brave face and strapped himself into Busch Gardens' newest roller coaster. He was looking for redemption.

Zander Morales, a 28-year-old bartender and student who dabbles in acting, needed to show the world he wouldn't throw up again.

He was riding Tigris, a ride billed as Florida's tallest launch coaster that opens to the public Friday. It was a chance to make up for that time he was briefly Internet famous for barfing on camera while shooting a commercial for Howl-O-Scream aboard SheiKra, one of Florida's fastest coasters.

The footage,shared with permission from Morales and the good sports at Busch Gardens, was viewed thousands of times. A zombie and another actor give Morales pitiful looks when he hurls as the ride jerks to a stop.

PREVIOUSLY: Actor projectile vomits on SheiKra during Howl-O-Scream commercial and it's no act.Tweets of "Florida man projectile vomits while riding roller coaster with zombie ... because Florida," followed after the liquid scream was released on Busch Gardens' social media accounts last summer.

We asked Morales to ride along during a media preview of Tigris on Thursday, and once again he was a good sport. And once again, he started looking awfully green.

"Hey, it's Vomit Guy!" Busch Gardens president Stewart Clark said, rushing toward Morales. "I just wanted you to get back on that horse. You're the famous guy."

That's the beauty of the park, Clark said, with its mix of rides and a zoo for those who can't stomach a coaster.

"We like to have rides that have all kinds of different feelings and experiences," Clark said.

"Oh, I felt them all," Morales said.

"We have them for everyone, even little kids. You might want to go back to that one," Clark told him. "It's called Air Grover."

That gave Morales an idea for a series: "We'll call it 'Zander Pukes on Things.' "

He swears hedoesn't normally puke on things. He loves coasters. And Andrew Schaffer, the park's director of coaster design, said it's repetition and not any one element that usually sends a rider reaching for a place to barf in the bushes.

The night they were filming the commercial, the fourth ride on SheiKra did it for Morales. He said the director wanted to make sure they had enough footage and had them take one more trip "for posterity," which turned out to be more true than anticipated.

RIDE: We rode Tigris. Here's what it's like.

The Tigris launch coaster flings riders forward, then jets them backward at 50 miles per hour.

"Oh, that's so much worse," he screamed.

Then it zooms ahead again for deep dives at 62 mph and a slow "heartline roll" that puts them fully upside down at one point.

He felt a flutter in his stomach, but was eager for a second ride. Only this time, he was riding in the very front car. There's nothing to block your view of the last drop that feels like a straight freefall.

"That didn't feel great," he said as he feebly stepped off.

He let a few more groups pass before he strapped in again and came out the other side looking pale. The roll made him "feel like I had regressed into a baby state, like I had lost all motor skills." He also felt a slight "oof" of nausea during the ride.

There was surely no need for a fourth ride and a possible "B2S," the park's code for a cleanup of a sick slick.

He went again anyway, this time in the back row, the one workers warned had the most severe whip.

"Oh, this is it," Morales said on that fourth launch backward. The bile was rising.

But he swallowed hard and made it through the next 45 seconds and shakily climbed out of the coaster car. He rushed to the edge of the platform and leaned over the bushes.

He took a deep breath and held his Wawa breakfast down.

He doddered down the ramp toward the shade of the nearby Tigris gift shop. A worker offered him some cold water. He opened the bottle of Dasani.

"It tastes like I'm drinking nickels."

He wasn't proud. He wasn't embarrassed.

"It's like I've been acquitted for a crime I didn't commit."

Breathing hard and now sweaty, he distracted himself by talking to Trevor Suich, a zoo educator who was showing off a cute screech owl named Emmett in the gift shop.

Morales asked how birds feed their babies. Didn't they eat the food for them and then throw it up?

Why, yes, Suich said. Birds can't nurse like mammals do, so they eat the bugs or mice and then vomit it back so it's easier for the babies to eat.

"Gotta admire that," Morales said. "To each their own. I've been there. I've been on the Internet."

Contact Sharon Kennedy Wynne at swynne@tampabay.com. Follow @SharonKWn.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Phil Collins performs in Tampa's Amalie Arena on Thursday, the first time in 15 years.
    Pop legend Phil Collins returns, the Florida Orchestra kicks off its season and author Salman Rushdie is in Tampa to talk about his new novel.
  2. Emilia Clarke, left, and Kit Harington in a scene from HBO blockbuster "Game of Thrones." HBO via AP
    The Game of Thrones Live Concert Experience and the Who come to town, plus a ‘Greatest Showman’ sing-along at Tampa Theatre.
  3. On Saturday, Disturbed will perform at Amalie Arena in Tampa. TRAVIS SHINN  |  Warner Records
    The Bucs Beach Bash goes down in St. Pete Beach, Disturbed plays Amalie Arena and the Dance Hall Festival continues at the Studio@620.
  4. Visitor Sara Crigger of Nashville views the Dali masterwork painting "The Hallucinogenic Toreador" (1969-1970) this month with the aid of the Dali app on her smartphone. "Using this is like holding an art history class in your hand," Crigger said. The "Visual Magic: Masterworks in Augmented Reality" exhibit runs through Nov. 3 at the Dali Museum in St. Petersburg. SCOTT KEELER  |   Times
    With augmented reality, 19th century prints, bronzes and food photography, a well-rounded experience awaits.
  5. Salman Rushdie is the author of "Quichotte." Rachel Eliza Griffiths
    The acclaimed author will talk about the book at Tampa Theatre on Sept. 25. | Review
  6. Aaron Shulman is the author of "The Age of Disenchantments." Ecco Books
    The author is reading ‘City of Quartz,’ a history of Los Angeles.
  7. A scene from a balcony cabin on a 2017 Alaskan cruise. BOYZELL HOSEY  |  Tampa Bay Times
    You can have the trip of a lifetime without paying for it for the rest of your life.
  8. Margaret Loflin leads Maggie on the Move, one of the local food trucks set to serve at Flavors of Asia. Tampa Bay Times (2012)
    Food trucks offer Flavors of Asia in St. Petersburg, plus the Palladium presents ‘Crossing the Bay’ and Howl-O-Scream invades Busch Gardens.
  9. REO Speedwagon will perform at Clearwater's Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater on March 1, 2020. Courtesy of Randee St. Nicholas
    REO Speedwagon, Gladys Knight, Kidz Bop, Art Garfunkel and more.
  10. Michael Francis leads a community chorus during one of the Florida Orchestra's Sing Out Tampa Bay sing-alongs. MICHAEL FRANCIS  |  Florida Orchestra
    The music director is entering his fifth year with the orchestra, which has a Beethoven-heavy season opening Sept. 27 in Tampa.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement