Swimming is nice and all. But if you’re around water all summer—or even for a long weekend—it gets boring bobbing in the waves or doggie paddling to and fro. Fortunately, there have never been so many fun ways to play on the water. From paddleboards to pontoon bikes, here are our picks for the summer’s coolest water toys.
THE STANDUP PADDLEBOARD
Standup paddleboards, or SUPs, used to be a rare sight. Now they’re everywhere, and for good reason; they’re great exercise (especially for your stomach and back muscles) and surprisingly swift.
While inflatable models used to pale in comparison with their ridged cousins, the newest inflatable boards feel solid, glide smoothly, and pack up small for easy portability and storage. NRS has been at the top of the inflatable SUP game for a few years now, and their latest offering is no exception.
Liquid Force Trip 2016
A great board for those just learning to wakeboard, and also for intermediate-level boarders who are starting to attempt more acrobatic feats of water wizardry. If you’re going to stock one board to satisfy lots of people, this is a great option.
THE WATER TRAMPOLINE
Rave Sports Aqua Jump Eclipse 120
You’ve been on a water trampoline, and you recall being bummed out about how little spring the thing had compared to the trampolines you’d used on land. If that sounds familiar, chances are good you were on a water “bouncer,” not a water trampoline.
Compared to a tramp, water bouncers are cheaper and don’t feature springs. Basically, they’re good for sunbathing.
If you’re looking for exercise and big air, a true water trampoline delivers a totally different experience than a bouncer. This model from Rave Sports is seriously springy option at an affordable price—at least compared to many other models, which can be 3-4 times more expensive.
THE JET SKI
Yamaha V1 Sport
You could go nuts on a model that costs as much as a halfway decent jet boat. But honestly, if you’re going to spend that much, you might as well just buy a jet boat. The V1 Sport is a long-time industry bestseller that delivers a stable, comfortable ride and enough oomph to make the girl you’ve got on back squeal.
A board long used by many of the world’s top knee boarders, the Sozo is still fun and accommodating when strapped beneath less able bodies. It’s cozy, maneuverable, and also pretty badass looking.
Evoke Navato 120
At your disposal: two locking storage hatches, paddle holders, and YakAttack mounts for your GPS and other gadgets. The high-backed seat is another nice touch—one you’ll appreciate 30 minutes into a loop around the lake. For comfort, ease of entry, and crowd-pleasing performance, it’s tough to beat this kayak from Evoke.
THE PONTOON BIKE
Whether you’re serious about cycling or just looking for a new way to get from A to B on the water, Schiller’s pontoon bike is a blast. The twin pontoons deflate to make transporting this bad boy very manageable. And at $4,500, it’s less expensive than many high-end road bikes.
THE WATER SKIS
Ho Sports Freeride
The forgiving shape of this ski makes it adaptable to skiers of all skill levels—even when the conditions on the water aren’t ideal. Its “shark fin” provides superior control and edge hold, allowing more advanced skiers to push the rooster-tailing limits.
THE ULTIMATE TUBE
Heritage Margaritaville Easy Rider
With a flimsy backrest and a barely functional cup holder, the Easy Rider is an ideal tube for wasting a summer day drinking beer and chuckling to yourself about all the assholes trying to cram exercise into what should be leisure time. Seriously, that dude on the water bike?
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