Towables: Past to Present
As a child of the '80s, I have to start this story with a throwback story to the good ole days. Or maybe I should say the scary old days where we used to go to my grandpa's barn and pull out the old tubes that had been laying around for years. They had air bulges from overexposure to the sun and were patched with super glue. My parents would throw life jackets on us and drop us off to float the Henry's Fork of the Snake River all day. We'd take those same tubes on the boat and my dad would tie a frayed rope through the center and we'd be off.
I am in my 30s and feel like the variety of tubes today are far superior to those when I was growing up. The history of water towables and tubes goes back to the 20th century, when people used inner tubes to float rivers and lakes. A somewhat accepted belief is tubing originated in Thailand, when Princess Chumbhot of Nagara Svarga brought 100 or so old inner tubes to her estate in the Chong Lom Valley and invited the neighbors to ride them down the river. At first the tubing princess thought only a few friends would want to join her new water sport. But when news of the fun was featured on a Siamese TV show, people began flocking to her southern Nakhon Nayok province by the hundreds, hoping to join in. She began charging admission and rental fees for what was surely the first lazy river park to ever be invented.
When the sport crossed the ocean, innovation really set in. One of the great things about America is nothing stays basic for long. Tubes, towables and floats now have multiple safety and performance features. With Airhead products, you'll find Speed Safety Valves for fast easy inflating and deflating. Kwik Connect tow points, which provide for easy hook-ups. Heavy gauge RF welded vinyl bladder inside with a double-stitched full nylon cover and self-bailing drain vents. As you can tell, these aren't your grandfather's tubes and black inner tubes are a thing of the past.
Even a few decades ago, people couldn't have imagined safely riding behind a speed boat with multiple riders. Now you can tow a towable with up to six riders, all with safety handles and their own designated areas. This makes it a sport the whole family can enjoy.
Article written by Katie Burke