I’ve written about a number of experiences that sit firmly on my One-and-Done list…things I was adventurous enough to try but am not stupid enough to repeat. You can check out my run-ins with scuba diving, deep sea fishing, parasailing, and helicopters if you feel like trolling through the archives.
But today? Today we’re gonna talk about speedboats and inflatables.
“Inflatables” sounds like such a fun, nonthreatening activity, doesn’t it? I mean, who doesn’t love being pulled on a tube? It doesn’t require the skills of water skiing or the daring recklessness of a wake boarder, you just have to sit and hold on for the ride. With the wind and the spray and the bouncing around – we’re talking oodles and oodles of fun.
Or at least that’s what I thought.
BrightSide and I were on one of those trips where folks on the beach earn a living off the tourist industry. There were ladies braiding, jewelry stands, and parasailing…but there was also a speedboat pulling tubes. It met our trip adventure requirements (i.e. it sounded like fun and we’d never done it before) so we signed up.
We also asked a young couple to join us for the ride. I felt really bad about that later.
That afternoon the four of us headed down to the beach to meet up with our drivers, two guys who looked like they enjoyed spending their days in the sun. Everyone got their life vests on (A+ for safety) and climbed on board the boat to head out into the water.
Let me be clear. This was my vision for what would happen that afternoon: The boat was towing four individual tubes behind it. Once we got clear of people near the beach I figured we’d all climb onto our tubes and hold on tight as the speedboat bounced us over the ocean waves in a fun romp along the shoreline.
There was one critical detail I’d overlooked. Apparently the speedboat drivers believed that folks who sign up for this activity are looking for an experience akin to a roller coaster. We love thrills as much as the next couple, but in all honesty BrightSide and I were just looking for a fun tube ride.
Here’s what we got instead.
The driver hit the gas, kicking off to a jackrabbit start that whipped us all around and yanked us up out of the water. My T. Rex arms were distraught to discover that any hope I had of remaining on my tube depended solely on muscle mass I was sorely lacking. Things got even more squirrelly once I realized that these drivers would not be satisfied until they had dumped each and every one of us into the ocean.
Hairpin turns, centrifugal force, swift acceleration – all designed to toss us off our tubes at a ridiculously breakneck speed. I wasn’t the first to roll off my tube, but I wasn’t the last either. And if I thought holding onto a speeding tube through twists and turns was a struggle, it was nothing compared to the upper body strength it took to haul myself up and out of the water once I’d been thrown from my tube.
By the time we returned to the beach all four of us had been tossed like the proverbial salad. I staggered onto the beach, threw my life jacket at the boat, and swore off speedboat towed inflatables for good.
Who would have thought an innocent tube ride could go so wrong?