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Thomas Smith of Chic’s

Thomas Smith of Chic’s

Welcome to the Fun House!

By Buzz Lamb

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Towable Tubes Eclipse Boards and Skis in Water Sports Sales

From water skis and wakeboards to inflatable water toys, watersports products are moving ahead at wide-open throttle. Improved technology, stronger, lighter materials and more models are what you’ll see this year in towable watersports. Let’s take a look at the coolest gear of the up-coming season.

When it comes to enjoying the summer on Lake George, inflatable towable tubes are a hit for people of all ages. They are safe for children who are old enough to hang on tightly. These tubes can be shared with friends as they take turns enjoying being pulled around the water.

Thomas Smith, 36, a manager at Chic’s Marina in Bolton Landing, said inflatable tubes are the most popular water toy on the market. “Towable tubes don’t require any skill other than the ability to hold on,” Smith said. “That’s what makes them so popular.  We sell 50 to 60 tubes every year and just about everybody that rents a boat from us rents a tube as well.”

Towable tubes are available in a wide variety of shapes and styles. You can surely get the one you need when you take the time to do a little research. They also come in a wide range of sizes that can accommodate up to 12 riders.

Dave Armando, 38, from Yankee Marine in Diamond Point said the most popular tube at their facility is a round, fully-covered 1 – 2 person tube. “Big Mable (also a 1 – 2 person tube) is very popular because it provides a unique towable riding experience and it also doubles as a comfortable lounge with a large backrest and cushioned side walls for just relaxing on the water,” Armando said.

When looking for the best tow tube, it is essential for you to do some research. Here are some important factors to consider when picking the perfect towable tubes.

The first thing to consider is the number of people who will ride on a towable tube. Remember, the more the merrier, so you might want to consider picking the one that accommodates the most number of riders. In addition, no one will miss out on the fun and excitement when everybody gets to ride.

It is also essential to consider the level of experience of the riders. This factor is extremely important when it comes to the safety of the riders, most especially the little ones.

You have to pick the tow tube that offers safety features such as a safety harness and the overall strength and durability of the inflatable (30-gauge PVC and 840-denier covers are the industry standards).  As demand for more towable inflatable tubes rises, watersport manufacturers are quickly adding new sizes, shapes and colors.

Over 15 years ago, the big news in water skis was the use of carbon fiber which reduced or eliminated the need for fiberglass. Carbon fiber, also known as graphite, layered around a foam core offers superb rebound abilities.

Today water skiing has moved to second place when it comes to popularity. “Skiing requires a higher level of skill,” Smith at Chic’s Marina said.  “But a lot of younger people are starting to get into it.”  Adirondack Ski School is located at their marina and is available to give skiing lessons for beginners or those who wish to improve their techniques. It’s by appointment only and lessons are available for ½ hour up to three hours.

Dave Armando of Yankee Marine

Jon Brodie, co-owner of Yankee Marine agreed that water skiing has slipped in popularity. “We sell eight times as many tubes as we do water skis,” he said. Brodie said his company added water skis to their line of water toys only about five years ago. “We’re noticing that the young people are choosing knee boards and wake boards over water skis,” he said.

Thomas Smith echoed Brodie’s comments.  “Kneeboards and wakeboards are for the younger crowd.”

To accommodate widely different riding styles, wakeboards are appearing in more variety than since the first compression molded wakeboard was made in 1993.  Some boards are narrow and long for fast acceleration.  Others are short and wide, producing slow acceleration but better “pop” off the wake.  Riders who like to do lots of spins favor a high pop-off factor.  Still, other wakeboards combine both speed and pop.

Armando said Yankee Marine started selling a product called “Water Carpet” about two years ago. “It’s an 18-foot long by 6-foot wide by ¾ inch thick foam that you can sit on, lay on or even walk on,” he said. “This was very popular last summer.”

So, not matter what your choice is, and there are a lot of them, now is the time to start thinking about summer fun on the lake. Stop by your favorite marina and check out the wide variety of water toys available for your enjoyment.  Let the fun begin!

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