Airhead Revolution ($299.99)
Our 12-year-old tester quickly dubbed the Airhead Revolution “so much fun!” —especially after it launched her younger sister, and later Mom, into the water. After repeated rides, however, even the Revolution’s most enthusiastic fan had endured just about enough. Such is the fate of a tube that spins its occupants in circles, much like Disney’s infamous teacup ride.
Yes, as the name implies, the 80-inch-diameter Revolution revolves … like a record, baby. A central tow point, featuring a heavy-duty stainless-steel swivel secured with Kevlar strapping, is located beneath the tube. Start to accelerate and multiple radius-length pockets, created by sewing a webbed support strap in half lengthwise, catch the water and commence the rotation. We found the speed of that rotation manageable at about 10 mph. Accelerate to 15 to 20 mph, however, and the rate of spin increases diabolically fast. Unless you’re relatively strong, the centrifugal force will win the fight.
Airhead has done what it can to keep riders in place. Riders lie across the Revolution in opposing directions, on opposite sides of an inflated central fin. Additional inflatable leg-holders are positioned between the riders’ knees, allowing them to use their legs for added grip. Padded grab handles feature neoprene knuckle guards below. The inner PVC bladder is fully protected by an 840-denier nylon cover, with neoprene panels up top in contact areas. Inflation is via a single Boston-style valve.
Yes, it’s possible not to spin. Just thread the tow rope through the “no-spin” strap. But what’s the fun in that?
Best for: Those who like a challenge — and have a strong stomach.
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