Get Your Tube On! The Basics Of Water Tubing



A tuber is someone riding on an inflatable tube (or towable, as they’re also called), while being pulled across the water, snow, or through the air, at high speeds, usually by a motor boat, if we’re talking warm-weather tubing.

The thrill is amazing, as you can tell by the look on this rider’s face!

Here are some more people seeking that rare thrill, that is tubing behind a boat…

Tubing, sometimes known as “bumper tubing”, is a recreational activity that is becoming very popular.

According to “Time Magazine”, tubing became popular in Thailand around the middle of the 20th century.

Tubers should wear life vests, protective water shoes and helmets because this sport can be very dangerous.

There is whitewater tubing on fast moving rivers, and snow tubing, usually done on very steep hills.

Here are some snow tubers, for comparison’s sake, with the water version of tubing…

snow tubing in the winter

The motion of the water or the slope of the hill, takes the tuber on a wild ride.

This article is going to focus on water tubing at the beach, since we are a beach site, after all.

The Basics Of Water Tubing

The tubes used in this recreational water activity are specially designed for this sport.

These tubes are very durable, and come in a disc or donut shape.

They can accommodate one or several riders.

Of course, the larger tubes cost more. A special synthetic sleeve covers the tube, to prevent it from elongating during towing.

beach tubing

There are handles for the rider to hold, and an anchor point for the tow line to attach.

The watercraft used to pull the tube and the rope should be designed and regulated for this activity.

If the power of the boat, or the rope attached to the tube doesn’t meet the requirements, an accident could easily occur.

The commercially sold tubes for this sport are traditionally donut shaped to allow the rider to sit comfortably and safely on the tube.

Some tubers choose to lie face down on the tube.

Some tubes are designed to protect the rider from rocks etc., hiding just below the surface, that might injure the tube or the rider.

Make sure the water is deep enough to avoid this kind of injury to the rider or the boat.

This beach activity looks exhilarating and exciting because it is, but there are a few rules that we suggest you should take very seriously, when trying this sport.

#1. Wear a life jacket

Even if the rider is an excellent swimmer, it is always a great idea to wear a life jacket when participating in a potentially dangerous water activity such as tubing.

The life jacket must be a certified life preserver. You never know when something might go wrong.

#2.Know your equipment’s capabilities

Each tube is different. Some tubes are designed for one rider, and others for several riders with a maximum of 5.

The boat, that is pulling the tube and the riders, has its limits as well. Make sure you know all about the boat that will be pulling you along at high speeds.

Ask about the tow speed for the tube you are using; the number of riders, and their weights, who will be riding with you.

Know the driver’s qualifications, and make sure there is someone else riding in the boat with the driver, for extra insurance for you.

You also need to know the length, the strength, and the connections of the tow ropes, which should all be checked out before blast off. It is better to be safe than sorry.

tubing at the beach

Each rider has different capabilities also. Some prefer to sit on the tube, while others prefer to lie down.

Some are beginners while others have had many experiences on a tube.

Some people are risk takers and love very fast speeds and sharp curves, while others are very careful and wish to begin with caution being their first priority.

#3 – Choose the right tube

There are lots of options when it comes to selecting the right tube for you. There is a variety of water tubes available from which to choose.

The tubes range in style, size, quality, and price, so selecting the right one takes some research.

Become familiar with the rating of the tube, to safely accommodate a beginner or young rider.

girls tubing at the beach

Beginner tubes usually can carry one to three riders. These tubes support a wide range of weight, and are available in a variety of sizes and shapes.

Maybe you prefer a tube shaped like boat or a shark. A tube that carries one person is easier to tow, while multi-rider tubes create more of a challenge for the spotters, the drivers, and the riders.

#4 –Be Aware of the Surroundings

Check the water you will be traveling on for anything that could be a possible hazard, and always have a spotter in the boat along with the driver.

When a tuber connects to the back of the boat, a spotter must be in place.

A spotter stays at the back of the boat, facing the tubers, and reports to the driver, anytime the rider(s) want to increase/decrease speed level, or stop.

The rider needs to be certain their life jacket is secure, and that they are comfortable with the grips on the tube, before taking off.

Check the tow rope and its connections. The boat driver is responsible for the riders’ safety.

Thanks for reading, and play safe with your tube, whether large or small!

About the author: Emilia is the fashion guru of Beach Baby, with a deep appreciation for anything that can be worn or adorned. She makes her own apparel as well, including everything from swimwear, to dresses, and even shoes.  She also owns over 100 pairs of sunglasses!  Emilia also loves to surf, boogie board, and partake in a number of water sports.