Like any sport, ski tubing requires a certain amount of knowledge and experience. Using and enjoying a ski tube - or simply purchasing one, for that matter - can be a lot easier if you know what you're doing, and if you're aware of some basic terminology. What follows is a glossary of terms - a few key definitions to better acquaint you with one of America's fastest-growing water sports.
Bladder: The inner tube, typically made of a strong PVC material, that is usually surrounded by a nylon cover.
Tow Ropes: A floating nylon rope that connects to the boat's towing harness. Tow ropes are usually 60 feet long, but children should be towed with a shorter rope to prevent them from gaining excess speed. (Never tow with a rope shorter than 20 feet.)
Doughnut Holes: The hole in the center of a ski tube.
Single-Rider Ski Tubes: A boat tube that can accommodate only one rider. Such boating tubes tend to be high-performance ski tubes made for high-speed tricks, but are often more affordable.
Multi-Rider Ski Tubes A boat tube than can accommodate two to six riders, depending on the model. Such boating tubes are larger, slower, and often more expensive than single-rider tubes, and most require a heavy-duty tow rope and harness.
Deck Ski Tubes: A flat boat tube that is much like a mattress (with no doughnut hole) and can often accommodate multiple riders.
Ride-In Ski Tubes: This boating tube is like a miniature boat, as riders sit on a seat on the floor of the boat tube, surrounded by the tube's sides.
Concept Tubes: These are specialty tubes such as stand-up chariots, inflatable knee boards, ride-on-top jet skis, hydrofoil boats, and multi-rider "hot dogs," or "banana boats."