Selecting a Ski tube is easy for the experienced ski tube rider. The question is what will give me the ride I want today. The days of a rubber inner tube fastened to a boat and dragged along at speed are long gone, the flat round tube with a couple of flimsy handles and suspect workmanship are long gone these days too, welcome to the exciting, colorful, innovative, well constructed, challenging, new age tube riding extravaganza.
The choice the tube rider makes is going to be based on the thrill, you can go for the traditional flat lie down tube with one to six riders. The same style tube can be purchased as a transformer tube, there are pockets that can be dismantled as it were to allow the riders to sit in the tube, this is great value for money as it’s a bit like getting two tubes for the price of one. I have seen those single tubes whipping across the water literally flying. Then as tube crosses the wake it can jump skyward viciously with the sudden action of the tube hitting the wake lip, this then throws the tube rider into a six feet high somersaulting, free fall to the water. The challenge is holding onto that tube and flying with the tube and then landing the tube. That is the skill of the ski tube riders. If you want to increase the challenge then keep adding people, that will require another tube, these tubes go up to six people.
The boat driver can take tube riding experience to frightening levels if the riders want it. The whole process still involves good communication between the boat driver, observer and the tube riders, it’s not a licence to get revenge in a bad way, just a bit of a scary way.
So one technique in the boat drivers arsenal is speed of the tube out on the whip. When the tube is on the whip it is really cruising, imagine the same technique but with the water looking like the ocean in a violent storm. Can you imagine what sort of antics the boat driver can muster with speed and rough water. The thing is with the right tube you don’t need excessive speed.
With the sit in style tubes be it one, two or up to six riders the boat driver can double up the tube over a wake from another boat and get the same amount of airtime out of the tube with a moderate speed. I like to look for a boat towing a wake board or tube rider, once they are at a safe distance I can repeatedly cross their wake with my tube, I am constantly and consistently getting the tube out on the whip, this gives me quite a large wake to pop the tube off. I can send the tube riders into orbit by selecting the right water to whip the tube into.
I also like to use a big figure eight, that way I can stay in a localized area and give my riders the thrill they are looking for. It allows you concentrate on the boat driving, keep your observer looking out for potential trouble and rip that thing. If as the boat driver you are wondering what all the fuss is about because you were only going easy, get out of the driving seat and become a ski tube rider.
Remember you have control of where the tube goes so you have to concentrate on other water users, keep your riders skill and experience for the ride you are producing in mind and remember what it was like when you rode a tube.