Every time you think you have seen the ultimate new toy on the water at Smith Mountain Lake, another makes it’s debut. Of course that’s wonderful when you live on a lake and love to be in the water, which is why many of us live in this area. Lori Wolak of The Lake Channel writes a fun and informative article on all the water paraphernalia her family has owned.
Every summer seems to arrive with the need for a new water toy or two. Before we were married, my husband had a jet ski and an older model boat. He had a tube and towrope, as well as a pair of water skis and a kneeboard. He had two young sons from his previous marriage, and I had one.
1998 was the year we got married and built our new lake home. My husband decided that we needed a newer boat, as the old one could not really pull a skier, so we got a new boat. We enjoyed the new multi-purpose day boat during our honeymoon, as well as the next three summers of boating. I also got a non-inflatable float for staying cool by floating while sunbathing, as it was particularly hot that year.
Now that we had a new boat, we needed new tubes, since we now had three children. The kids all love being pulled around on the tubes. We found out that it is much more fun for two to tube than one alone, so we got two new tubes and tow ropes. We even went tubing with adult friends sometimes, because it was so much fun to bump into the other tuber and bounce off.
Around that same time my husband decided to get a pair of the trainer skis for the kids, so they could learn to water ski. He got them the type that has the rope holding the skis together, and did succeed in getting the kids up on the skis. One of the boys is now a very good skier, one prefers kneeboarding, the other mostly likes to go tubing.
In 1999, we got the kids an inflatable island. They play a water version of king-of–the-hill on it. This can keep younger kids busy for hours, while one parent can relax in the sun or prepare meals and do yard work, whichever happens to be the case at the time.
In 2000, we got a new three-seater jet ski, so that we could all go out on the jet skis at one time, rather than having to take turns.
In 2001, we were trying to think of what to get for the kids as a bonus for getting great report cards. We wanted some kind of boat they could take out on their own, and debated the relative merits of canoes, pedal boats, and rowboats as well as their costs. We ended up getting the pedal boat, which the kids still use for fishing, or just striking out on their own. Sometimes adults take it out for a little quiet time on the lake, or some exercise.
Meantime, we also needed to get some bigger beginner skis, and a new kneeboard. The new skis were to enable both kids and adults to learn to ski, as I had not been able to get up on the skis we had. The new wide buoyant skis did the trick – my sister and I were both able to water ski the last time she came to visit. The new kneeboard was a gift to my husband, because the old one was hurting his knees. The newer molded padding is much more comfortable, and we have all enjoyed going for a spin on the new kneeboard.
One of the boys decided he wanted to learn to wakeboard, so we got a beginner wakeboard with straps rather than bindings. It was also lightweight, to help with the learning stages. A new adjustable length towrope was needed so that we could switch between kneeboarding, skiing and wakeboarding easily.
By now, the water toy storage area is getting a little crowded. We keep adding a few new vests for kids that are getting bigger, visitors and even pets. Fishing tackle has multiplied, as the kids have needed more sophisticated tackle and tackle boxes over the years. I got more of the nice floats so I could share them with visitors. We got about a dozen noodles, and have fun playing with them or just using them as an easily transportable float.
In 2002, we replaced our multi-purpose day boat with a combination ski and wakeboard boat. One of its major selling points was a heater, which could be used to extend the season a bit, to enjoy our water toys a little longer. It also has a variable wake which can be adjusted for skiing or wakeboarding. We needed a new wakeboard, and picked one that both adults and kids could use. We started learning to wakeboard and the kids have had varying degrees of success with it.
In 2003, after attending a totally awesome wakeboarding tournament, we decided to jump in feet first and accommodate the entire family with two additional wakeboards, as well as improved bindings for the wakeboard we bought last year. Having very good equipment has made a big difference in learning and advancing to new skill levels. We are all fired up and planning to enter into next year’s wakeboarding tournament.
I still don’t know what new toys are in our future, but I think we have to make some more storage room somehow.