Generally, we encourage the Ninjas to stay OUT of the water. That’s all about to change. As Matt Iseman told us at the start of the first National Finals episode, Stage Two will include an underwater obstacle.
The Water Walls will replace the Wall Flip as the last obstacle on the second stage. It will require that Ninjas jump into the tank of water and pull, push, and twist open three doors. They’ll need to swim underwater through each door and climb out to reach the buzzer.
This is a pretty significant change. We’ve never seen anything like it on the American Ninja Warrior course before. There are a lot of aspects to consider.
First, water skills might not be a part of many Ninjas’ training routines. They’ll need to be comfortable swimming. They can’t panic while going through the doors. The Ninjas will have to control their breathing.
Which brings us to our next point: Oxygen. The obstacle is in the last position on Stage Two. The Ninjas who reach it will already be pushing their bodies. Heart rates and breathing will already be elevated. Toss in that they’ll now need to hold their breath and still complete an obstacle. It’s going to take the Ninjas a second to get everything under control.
Which is why we’re worried about one more thing: Time. You have to beat the clock on Stage Two. To complete the Water Walls, Ninjas will need to slow their breathing and dive in. Water is exhausting in general. This could be more of swamp than a swim.
While we did feel a sense of panic when we saw the Water Walls, we also know how supremely talented these Ninjas are. We’re thinking we’ll see some thrilling conclusions.
What are your thoughts on the new obstacle?