Pulled by a motorboat, a towable boat tube skims across calm water and skitters over bumps and wakes while carrying up to four riders at a time. The thrill can raise your adrenaline, and the spills are fun. But it’s important to match the experience you want with the right tube design, so think about whether you want an easy-as-you-go tow or a hang-on-for-dear-life adventure before you buy. Here are three tubes that run the gamut.
Easy to Connect
The strong, foam handles and knuckle guards on this inflatable protect fingers during a ride. SportsStuff
For a comfortable, secure ride, look for a towable with backrests, side panels, and plenty of handles. Large tubes also add to a feeling of security for younger or timid riders, so models designed for three or more riders are actually a great choice for a solo, beginner-level adventurer.
Comfortable to Hold
This model has cushy topside fins to help riders stay on. Airhead
When you’re ready to step up the challenge and fun, consider a deck tube. Deck tubes are flat, often disc-shaped, and don’t have seats or backrests. Riders lay on top, grasp the handles, and whisk along mere inches off the water. Deck tubes aren’t suitable for young riders because they are prone to flipping, which, of course, is part of the fun, as long as you are ready for it.
Fun for Kids
Two people can ride side by side on this model. Airhead
Ride-in tubes provide the driest, most comfortable, and easiest-going ride of all tube designs. Integrated seats let riders sink into the tube for security and stability, and still enjoy all the water-splashing, fast-paced action of boat tubing.