No matter what type of boat your family has – from a traditional aluminum car-topper to a weekend cruiser – getting out and having fun on the water is the primary objective. There’s no better way to do that than with a bunch of water toys. Power Boating Canada scoured the market and selected our top picks of the hottest toys for the summer. For the kid in all of us, of course!
The AquaGlide Splashmat (www.aquaglide.net) is commercial grade so it will last years longer than any foam-type mat. Although it is 18’ long x 5’ wide, it is inflatable so it will fit into your cruiser’s bilge or you cottage boathouse for storage. It makes a great lounger off the swimplatform or cottage dock. Approx: $1,277.
This mean machine is a new way of riding a towable tube. The teeter totter action of the WOW Tilt-o-Rama (www.wowwatersports.com) crossing the boat waves or in the turns gives you a more thrilling ride. Tow it from the front or the back for sitting, kneeling, or prone position riding options. The kid in you will shriek with joy! 78” x 72”. Approx: $449.
The WOW Yankee Coupe (www.wowwatersports.com) is both a 1 or 2 person towable and a floating lounger with a high back rest and a beverage cooler. After getting pulled around the lake in the chariot or jockey position, flip out the leg support/foot rest and relax in lounge mode. 76” x 54” Approx: $299.
The Connelly Buzz Bomb (www.connellyskis.com )holds up to 5 riders and 650 pounds in almost any configuration you could want. This tube has handles everywhere – 11 of them – to let riders move around while underway. Anyone for a floating game of Twister? 103” wide x 18” long, Approx: $349.
The Muskoka Surfboard Company (www.muskokasurfboard.com) first caught our attention at the Toronto Boat show this past January because of their wooden disc. I remember my Dad telling stories about skiing behind the boat on a wooden disc, but such a thing wasn’t available on the market today – until now. Both their 6ft surfboard (that weighs just 15 lbs) and their 48” round disc are made from water repellant African Obeche and Purple Heart hardwoods laminated together with waterproof marine glue, then shaped by hand, sanded, and sealed with linseed oil. Their website shows an adult skiing on a board behind a 20hp outboard on an aluminum boat. We just can’t wait to try this! Board approx: $499; Disc approx: $299.
No matter what water toy you need an efficient inflator. We like the double-action hand pumps that inflate as you push down and pull up, or a 120V model if you have hydro easily available. Cruising boaters can store one or two of these towables until they reach the anchorage and in a few minutes have all the toys inflated for a week or a weekend of fun. Even cottage owners need them to help with storage space that’s always at a premium. Inflating your toys to 2.6 PSI helps them perform their best and extends their lifetime, without the risk of breaking a seam as they expand in the summer sun.
The best day on the water is the one you can tell the story of over and over. So here’s a few safety tips to remember.
- Make sure everyone is always wears a properly sized PFD – remember, an inflatable PFD isn’t legal for the person being towed.
- Always shut off the engine when around people in the water to prevent both carbon monoxide poisoning and potential injury from propellers.
- Know the water. Shallow areas, slow speed zones, etc.
- Follow the dogbone pattern: a long straight stretch down the middle of the lake with large loops at each end. This keeps your wake well away from other’s boats and docks, and gives your riders the best overall experience.
- Review the hand signals with everyone in the water and on the boat prior to each day’s activites.
- Water on the water, beer on the pier.