The Flying Water Tube

In 2005, a new product hit the shelves. It was a water sports product allowing people the opportunity to fly over the water hitting speeds of 20 to 30 miles per hour.

Tubing has been a common sport across the globe for centuries. It has provided people with the sporting fun of riding in-tow and being swung around.

But, for water sports you had the waves of water providing riders with fun-filled air on a sunny day. People have been known to use the water tube over lakes, rivers and seas across all of the US and Canada. 

Later known by many different names such as the kite tube or the flying manta ray, the flying water tube was created by SportsStuff for the thrill-seeker. Sold as the Wego Kit Tube, it was specially designed to allow the – more commonly used – water tube to take flight while being pulled by a speedboat at a certain speed.

How Does the Flying Water Tube Work?

The flying water tube was a circular floatation device that was made for up to three people to sit on top but commonly it was for the lone rider. They would then be towed by a boat.

While in-tow, the flying water tube was designed to be travelling at around 20 miles per hour. However, many of the commercial speedboats that were carrying customers would often travel faster in order to get a quicker lift. Some reaching speeds of 30 miles per hour.

The lift of the flying water tube would occur when the person riding on it, pulled on the handles.

Make sure to check out how to check the buoyancy of your pfd

The Downfall

When released in October of 2005, this product was designed for fun and was highly praised upon its arrival – even winning the “Sports Product of the Year” award from the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association.

However, it quickly became evident that the product was not safe for use and needed to be removed from the market.

There were many injuries resulting from the use and miss-use of the flying water tube. There were even two deaths recorded in the US in June of 2006.

Accidents were linked to reasons such as the weather, the weight of the rider, the lack of control that the rider had, the height that the flying tube was able to fly and the speed of the vehicle towing the kit tube, itself.

For example, as with the airfoil process, the faster the speed boat was travelling with the flying water tube, the higher the tube would fly. This height could reach altitudes of up to 30 feet. For a size reference, this is approximately the length of two 5-door cars.

It was falling from these heights that would cause the injuries and deaths of so many individuals across the US and Canada. The Manta Ray, or the kite tube, of the flying water tube – however you want to call it – was never built with safety in mind.

And, with this, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission ordered the recall of the flying water tube in July of 2006. Swiftly afterwards, it because illegal in many places to use the water sports product.

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