by Staff Writer
If you've ever ridden behind a boat, legs stretched out behind you, gripping the handles of a tube, you know riding towables is an adventure. With the right towables, it's possible to entertain everyone from experienced boaters to rank beginners. This guide features information about top-selling towables, how many people they hold and what styles best fit different skill levels.
Low-profile tubes: When you've taken a tumble, climbing back onto your tube is a challenge. Low-profile tubes are thin, meaning the top is closer to the water than that of a traditional tube, which allows you to climb on and off the tube more easily. The lower profile design provides a more stable ride than taller, bouncier tubes. Low-profile tubes can fit one to four people and can flip and bounce, but tend to tip over less than tubes that ride higher in the water. These tubes are generally best for children 8 years and older who aren't afraid to fall into the water.
Spinning towable: This type of towable holds two people and allows riders to spin 360 degrees in the water as they are pulled by a boat. The thinner (low profile) models spin the riders slowly, and two fins underneath the tube keep the riders from being thrown off by centrifugal force. The thicker the spinner, the better separated the riders are from one another. Spinning and speed make these tubes better for older children, though some models allow you to disable the spin function so you can tow riders of all abilities and comfort levels.
Hot dog towable: Also known as a water weenie, the hot dog towable holds up to three people riding saddle style. The fun of this towable is that it fish tails as the boat turns. Riders tend to fall off on sharp turns, but not usually at the same time. It is better for riders who are comfortable tipping, tossing and falling into the water.
U-shaped winged towable: With room for three people, this water toy gives you the fun of a traditional tube paired with greater stability; it greatly reduces the risk of submarining (when the front of the tube sinks too far down in the water, causing it to flip before it can plane). U-shaped towables give a gentler ride than a traditional tube and are less likely to tip over.
Sit-in towable: This style of towable includes backrests and cockpit-style seats. The air-cushioned floor and cushioned handles help provide a stable, exhilarating ride. Some models feature a drain in the bottom so you don't have to worry about extra water weighing you down. The space inside each seat will vary depending on which model you choose; pay attention to the dimensions to make sure your seat is big enough. This model is an ideal choice for young children accompanied by adults; falling in the water, tipping and submerging are much more difficult in this stable raft.