They go by such names as XPS Phazer, Sidewinder, Super Screamer, Flying Wing, and, of course, the big yellow banana. And they could save a boring day of whining by youngsters and adults alike.

Let’s face it, the kids are going to grow tired rather quickly of just riding around in the inlet or out in the bay. So most families invest in a few blow-up towables to add a little thrill. Even if it’s just an old inner tube, it’s something to play with.

Now some youngsters grow up in families where water skiing, wakeboarding, and kneeboarding off true athletic challenges. Still, there’s nothing wrong with the thrill of going fast just inches above the water, swinging from side to side, and, in some cases, actually catching air and flying. The element of danger adds to the excitement.

Keep in mind, however, that these “toys” can be extremely dangerous. On those that can carry more than one person, the bouncing around can cause heads to bang together. Have you ever hit the water at high speed? It’s like hitting a hardwood floor and it can send you flying.

A huge safety factor is making sure you have a person watching the fun from the back of the boat so the driver can pay attention to the road. Keep the speed down for novices and only bump up the throttle for those with experience. And keep life jackets on all riders.

These towables can be expensive – climbing into the $500-$750 range. But you want something well-constructed… chances are, it’s going to get a lot of use.

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