Pulling An Inflatable With A Tower

Don’t blow us off immediately. Let us explain.
We know it happens. You see people out on the lake pulling inflatables with their tower all the time. Yes, most towers CAN do it, but let us inform you why you shouldn’t.

The biggest problem with towing tubes, or other inflatables, with a wakeboard tower is the multi directional forces that are applied to a towers tow point that just aren’t as rough when used with a wakeboarder. Its not a question of “will it rip the tower off of a boat?” If the tower is installed correctly and the proper backing is applied (if needed) you won’t have a problem with that.

THE NO.1 REASON why tower manufacturers stipulate not to tow an inflatable with the tower is not so much the integrity of the tower, but the hull of your boat. Most wakeboard towers are thoroughly engineered for the forces that come from a wakeboarder, not for an inflatable.

Sure, you might not notice much the first time, or even several after, but you will.
Often when you see gel coats cracking it is not from a bad install (some are, don’t get us wrong) but from misuse of the tower.

Wakeboards, skis, kneeboards, etc. almost always create less line load than a tube, especially a muti-rider tube. Wakeboarders like to play in the wake, so they typically don’t create large side loads.

4 Person Tube Rope

Let’s take this 4-person Tube rope from Overtons. The breaking point on this rope is 4,100 pounds.

ProLine Wake Rope

Most wakeboard ropes don’t generally give a rating for a breaking point, but do state the rope is intended only for towing a single person on water skis, wake/kneeboards, or barefooting. Any other use may cause rope failure.

This Proline Wakeboard Rope from Overtons shows that is provides 2,000 pounds tensile strength. That is less than half of an inflatable rope.

So, lets take a moment to think about that.
Your out having fun, whipping the tube from side to side. Hit a good wake and the tube takes a nose-dive! BOOM! Rope busted! You just transferred 4,100 pounds (or more) to the tower, which in turn was transferred to the hull of your boat. NOT GOOD! That is a lot of stress that was created just in that one moment.

Let’s do a little math…if a submerged tube can create enough load to break a rope at let’s say a conservative number of 2,000 lbs and say the tower is 5 ft tall above the hull.  A simple torque calculation shows that 2,000 lbs x 5ft would create a torque moment of 10,000 ft-lbs on your boat hull.  Yes..that’s right 10,000 ft-lbs!!!  Even if we disperse that load over each tower mount by 4 , we still see a load of 2,500 ft-lbs.    Now do that same math for a wakeboarder.  A max load would likely be 200 lbs… thus creating a max torque load of 1,000 ft-lbs.  Then divide that by 4 and you get a reasonable torque load of 250 ft-lbs…much better!!

You will find that YOU as the driver have a lot more control on how the tube reacts anyway when sticking with the intended rope connection point on the back of the boat. This spot is MADE for tubes or other inflatables.

Tips to Choose Your New Wakeboard Tower!

Some of the best compliments that we get from customers is when they tell us, “it (wakeboard tower) totally changed the look of my boat” , “adding the tower to my boat took years off of it” or “the new tower definitely turns heads!”


Finding the right wakeboard tower for your boat can seem like a task, we understand. There are so many to choose from and many options with each model.

If you are still deciding on a purchase, or know someone who is we are here to help.

First things first – PRICE!
Determine your price range and let us know what it is. Does that price range include accessories too? We can find a tower in your price range that you’ll love.

Next – DESIGN!
If you have a certain style or design you like, let us know. We can work with that.
Some prefer a standard windshield mount style like a stainless steel H2O tower or an aluminum Vapor tower, while others like the more modern look of aluminum billet plating shown on the Torrent and Wave towers. With over 10 different models to choose from, we are sure to find a wakeboard tower style you like.

Finally – BOAT
Our towers are extremely universal. This means that almost every wakeboard tower will accommodate almost every boat. We do not make one certain tower for one style of boat. We make several styles for all boats!

Best of all, we urge you to research.

With several different manufacturers out there, we try to maintain the best record. With over 20 years under our belts, we have set the bar high and expect you to expect that from us.

Here is hoping that the new year brings you much joy and many blessings, on and off the water!

Highlights of the Vapor Wake Tower

vapor-wake-tower-highlightsThe Vapor Tower carried by Big Air is one of the most attractive and sturdy wake towers available on the market today. If you need the reliability of a rigid pull in order to practice your most difficult tricks, the Vapor Tower may be exactly what you are looking for. Here are a few product highlights:

Appearance

The Vapor Tower is a very stylish wake tower, thanks to its swooped design and factory-polished finish. Made from high-quality polished flex-reducing aluminum, this is one wake tower that will definitely add to the overall style of your boat. The tubing is rigid and thick, which gives The Vapor Tower a strong and impressive appearance. The tower is available in polished anodized, polished, or black powder coat finishes, depending on your preference.

Design

The Vapor Tower is designed to fit any boat that is between 72” and 108” wide. This means that almost any boat on the market will be able to accommodate the versatile Vapor Tower. Product design highlights include:

• Very easy installation (normally two or three hours for installation)
• A telescoping top section makes it easy to install The Vapor Tower on any boat
• Secure design does not moan, rattle, or creek in choppy water
• Tower is fully collapsible and can lay down flat within 60 seconds for low clearance areas or for storage
• From mounting points, the tower stands approximately five feet, with an inward taper of 12 degrees
• Swivel rope head design boasts free rope movement
• Pre-drilled for wiring installation ease
• 66″ – 70” front-to-back stance. *Due to UPS ship-able boxed dimensions, newer revisions of the Vapor tower will have a 66 inch front to back stance, instead of 70 inches.
• Tower flexure is reduced with the help of finite element analysis structures
• Capability of accommodating the Big Air Bimini, Collapsible Bimini, and Super Shadow Bimini
• Backing plates and mounting hardware included
• Accessories and wakeboard racks are sold separately

Warranty

The Vapor Tower offers an impressive 5-year warranty, so you do not need to worry about receiving a poor-quality wake tower that will not withstand heavy and frequent use. If something happens to your Vapor Tower within the 5-year warranty time-frame, you will be taken care of.

Optional Integrated Tow Point Navigation Light

Big Air offers a tow point navigation light for those who are interested in improving visibility while on the water. The light boasts a 2-mile nautical radius and is certified by the U.S. Coast Guard. Integrated into the tow knob section of the wake tower, it is compatible with towers that are 2013 or newer. Available in a standard halogen bulb or an LED option.

Learn More

If you are ready to increase your ability to perform wakeboard tricks with ease, contact Big Air to find out more about the Vapor Tower today.