There’s nothing quite like getting towed across a body of water: the wind in your hair, the splash in your face, a feeling of reckless adventure. You’re one part daredevil and one part James Bond. Except that with things like water skis and wakeboards, it takes a lot of falling down before you get the hang of it. So what’s an aquatic thrill-seeker to do? Grab an inflatable ski tube.

Ski tubes are great for the beginner and expert alike. They require less skill than skis and boards since you’ll be lying or sitting down and won’t have to worry about balance, but they are no less exciting. Both adults and children will enjoy them, and many designs are multi-rider, so it’s a great way to get the whole family out there together.

Now, when you think of inflatable water gear, you might picture the little floaties that give kids biceps like Popeye or the rafts that make sure Cousin Billy can sit comfortably on the pool all day and have a placeholder for his drink. Think again. Today’s ski tubes are high tech inflatable gear that will put the zing in a lakeside vacation.

Head in the Clouds

Ski tubes can offer a truly amusement-park style ride. You can really get up some speed on these toys. You can even jump wakes and catch some air. Some designs even lift you off the water completely so you’re flying.

Ski tubes come in almost and size and shape that you can think of, so you won’t be short for selection. And with a pretty good price range, you should be able to find something for you and the kids. Just know that the type of tube you get will define the experience you’re going to have, so choose carefully. Different models are geared for different rides.

Tubes are made of a PVC material that holds up nicely against normal wear and tear. Depending on the model, you’ll find different handles and ropes to hang on to, and different ways to ride. Just make sure that you get your ski tube pumped up properly (you’ll need a pump) and that you rinse it off and store it according to the manufacturer’s specifications when you’re done.

Be Safe, Always

Not to put a damper on all this, but there are safety risks, and everybody going out on the water needs to be aware of them. Towing people behind boats is serious business and can do bodily harm if you’re not careful and don’t have the proper safety equipment. Make sure you do. There is risk of drowning, collision, propeller contact and injury from a snapped rope. Happily, most water sports enthusiasts are great at being responsible. The safety statistics in the United States are pretty impressive. Just be smart and you’ll have the right kind of stories to tell when you get back from vacation.