Thursday, August 10, 2006

Kite Tube

Okay, so I'm posting two blogs today because I've been so far behind. I get tons of watersport catalogs and on the back of one was an ad for a tube that you pull behind a boat that actually flies. It was called the Sportstuff Kite Tube and it had been named the sports product of the year. I was intrigued but something about the ad looked phony or doctored. The next day I went to the company's website and was able to see people using and flying the kite tube. I've been so bored with regular tubing that I rarely did it anymore and had spent the past few years only riding wakeboards. Needless to say, I was hooked and bought one on the spot.
While at the lake, the CPSC recalled the tube because of 2 deaths and 39 injuries attributed to the kite tube. I'm not surprised in the least. In the wrong hands, this tube is dangerous and I could easily see deadly. Does that mean, I'm the right hands? No it doesn't. However, I can tell you that I have fallen off of tubes being pulled behind a jet boat doing 50+ mph in a turn. Its not fun and it down right hurts. Anyone who has ridden a tube knows that in a turn the tube is actually going faster than the boat. I have also face planted on a wake board so hard that I was unconscious for a brief spell and that was only at about 25 mph. My point is water will hurt you at any speed, when you factor height into the equation, disastrous results can occur. The most important thing that we learned from watching the instructional dvd was; there is no difference in ride between 1 foot off the water or 20. Our intentions from the beginning were to keep the flying heights at a minimum. With that in mind, we rode the tube for 7 days straight at the lake (logging well over 12 hours total ride time), rode it on the river twice, and have had 11 different riders, all with no injuries. We have had riders who have gone over 10 feet, I'd even venture to say we have had on a few occasions hit twenty feet (some caught on tape). Fortunately, we always have slowed the boat down so the tube comes back down. We're not always going to be able to prevent someone from reaching undesirable heights but as with any watersport its a risk that a person must be willing to take before deciding on riding one of these things. If you decide to take that risk, once you figure out how to control the tube, you'll know why it was named the product of the year. I believe it to be the most fun I've ever had on the water. I won't be returning my kite tube. The first picture above I believe to be Sheri on the kite tube (skull and crossbones wouldn't imply any danger would they? Nah!). The next is of my two goofy boys who donned wy waxing bonnets while I was waxing the boat and the third is of Isabel at the lake. The latter two have nothing to do with the tube, they're just some of my favorites.

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