Tubing is among the most popular water sports—and why not. It’s simple. There are no difficult skills to master—you just need the ability to hang on. It’s fun for all ages—whether your crew is composed of boisterous teens, lively youngsters or a mixed group of family and friends. In fact, we dare you to find a tuber who isn’t grinning from ear-to-ear! And it offers nearly unlimited and unpredictable thrills and spills—think roller coaster on the water.
Choosing a tube. While tubing may be a one-sport-fits-all activity, a huge variety of tube styles are available. Some are built for speed, while others offer a milder ride. For example sit-in style tubes are tough to tip and offer a relatively tame, controlled ride, making them a great choice for younger or less adventurous riders. Deck-style tubes offer the wild rides teens love. You can read more about different types of tubes here.
For fun that lasts, think safety first. Although tubing doesn’t require a lot of skill, like all water sports, it does require common sense. But if you follow a few simple rules you, your family and your friends will enjoy a summer full of thrills and spills.
- Lifejackets are a must. Type III lifejackets are comfortable and well suited to watersports.
- Check your equipment. Be sure your tube is properly inflated and your tow line is not tangled, knotted or worn.
- Know your rider’s limits. Drive at a speed that is comfortable for your rider—teens are likely to urge you to hit the gas, but younger children may be just as happy at slower speeds.
- Boat safely. Follow all boating “rules of the road” and use a spotter to keep an eye on your rider and to help you watch for other boats or obstacles in the water.
- Set up hand signals. Before you leave the dock, come up with a set of hand signals the rider can use to tell you to go faster (thumbs up), slower (thumbs down) or stop (hand up with palm flat).
Finally, when you are ready to call it a day, be sure to take the time to properly stow your equipment. Let your tow line dry, coil it up and store in a dry place. Don’t leave your tube sitting out in the sun—it will expand. Store it in the shade. (If you can’t keep it out of the sun, release some air—just be sure to re-inflate it before your next outing.)