Big Surf facing backlash over viral post slamming handling of man accused of berating mom

TEMPE, Ariz. - A Facebook post is causing big waves for a popular Valley waterpark. 

Customer Kristi Hoven wrote a lengthy post on social media since shared thousands of times, accusing Big Surf of not properly handling an incident at the park last Friday. Hoven told ABC15 she saw a man berating another mother, who was breastfeeding, after an apparent dispute over chairs. 

"She kept asking me for assurance, asking me if I thought she was going to be safe," Hoven said. 

Hoven told us she alerted management of three separate incidents, but no one ever kicked the man out of the park. 

"I was shocked," Hoven said of the man's ability to remain at the park. "It seemed unreal to me."

Officials at Big Surf are now responding to the post, saying the story making the rounds on social media is an exaggeration. 

"She is giving a falsehood of how it (happened)," said Big Surf Event Coordinator Joseph Shannon. 

Shannon says he was only alerted to a single report of abusive language, he warned the man involved and had his staff patrol the area to ensure nothing else happened. 

"No one ever flagged me down with any additional issues," Shannon said. "For her to come up with everything she's coming up with, it's a complete embellishment."

While Big Surf has not released surveillance video, Shannon told us the video does not backup Hoven's claims, although admits the cameras don't show the people involved the entire time. 

Hoven, however, is sticking by her story and wants to see change at the water park. 

"The only thing Big Surf needed to do to make this right was say 'we messed up, we're sorry, here's how we're going to do better," she said. 

While Shannon is also standing by his account of what happened, he says the park is hiring a security guard, including off-duty police officers on the weekends, to ensure everyone feels safe. 

"This park is my heart and soul," he said. "For someone to go onto Facebook and say the things she has and people who weren't even here, to get so mean and nasty about it, it's just so out of sorts.”

Print this article Back to Top