The Ultimate Guide for Tubing with Jay Poole
As a watersports instructor, I believe tubing plays an important role introducing one to being towed behind a boat. Tubing develops confidence in the water, helps with fundamental skills like hanging on, and allows riders to understand what it’s like being behind the boat.
Recently we started our toddler tubing, and it has been incredible seeing her start to enjoy time behind the boat. Tubing is the perfect beginning to anyone’s water sport journey.
With thousands of tubes and towables on the market choose something appropriate for the boat you are towing with. Inflatable towables are light out of water, however in the lake they hold water inside the material making them heavy. So, although the giant 5 person tube looks like a blast, when you put it behind your aluminum boat and 25hp motor it just won’t have the guts to make it fun. When towing young kids, a tube that they can sit in while being towed at low speeds ensures a safe, fun experience for kids as young as 3. If taking kids younger than 3, I recommend what we did with our daughter, use a larger, flat tube commonly known as a biscuit tube. We went on the tube with her, offering an extra sense of security. When tubing with young children the water sports rule of a short sweet experiences applies.
A tow rope specifically designed for towing tubes is important, as they have extra strength and stretch compared to a standard ski or wakeboard rope. They have more buoyancy, are larger in diameter and are more visible; and are normally a single rope with no extensions – making them stronger and less prone to failure. Buy a rope matched to the size of your tube. Ropes are rated for the amount of people an inflatable is designed to tow, so if you have the big tube – you need the big rope.
Driving for tubing is perhaps the most important part; the tube is permanently attached to the boat, so the driver needs to stay continually mindful. Keep the rope from gaining slack which could harm participants, be aware of cornering, even if your boat is traveling slowly through a turn the pendulum motion of the tube can reach unsafe speeds. Lastly, always utilize a spotter with clear, agreed upon signals between the participant and boat.
By Jay Poole, Buckeye Marine