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View Full Version : Para-sailing Anybody?


Vern Swieringa
12-10-2004, 06:44 PM
Hey, I was just looking for something to ask for for Christmas. Has anyone ever tried para-sailing behind their MC? :eek: :eek3:

Footin
12-10-2004, 07:19 PM
Yes, I own a parasail. I don't use it much, but when the conditions are right at the right lake it is a lot of fun.

Mag_Red
12-10-2004, 08:26 PM
I have a fixed winged kite. So how much is a parasail????? What kind of release do you use and how do you attach it to the boat??

Jerseydave
12-10-2004, 09:55 PM
We borrowed one from a friend about 8 years ago.

DO NOT ATTEMPT IT ON A WINDY DAY!!!

We had fun, but there was so much wind, I got my rider up and could not get him down! Imagine driving into the wind and all I had to do was keep my prostar in gear at idle and the parasail stayed up on its own.

After about 5 minutes of this, I decided the only way to get him down was to turn the boat so that the wind was either at our sides or our back. Well, needless to say as I turned 90 degrees to the wind, it felt like the parasail was going to tip the boat over (not kidding).
Another 90 degree turn and the wind is now pushing the parasail so fast, I quickly had to speed up the boat so that he wouldn't pass me.
We did eventually get him down after that, but I won't do that again.

Keep in mind that a wet parasail will not float forever. You only have a certain amount of time to retrieve it and your rider.

Vern Swieringa
12-11-2004, 07:10 AM
They range from $1,300 to 1,700 depending on manf. I don't know too much about them other than doing a little web surfing. Thought I could get some expert advice, both pro and con, from true watersports enthusiast. :worthy:

Farmer Ted
12-11-2004, 10:28 AM
How much are those kites that kite surfers use? Might be a cheaper option?

jimmer2880
12-13-2004, 06:31 AM
I've been on a couple sails many many times.


First, it takes an EXPERIENCED staff to do it. I've seen (and been a part of) many accidents from people not really knowing what they're doing.

We take off from the boat ramps (no sandy beaches around my part). Whatever you do, don't buy a used one. The older ones (older than 15 years) are very technoligically (sp?) inferior to the newer 'chutes.

Have you seen the movie of the lady standing on the parasailing dock when all of a sudden, she takes off? I had that happen once when the rope was caught under the engine-box & the driver didn't realize it. All he knew was that the rope was tight, so he hit it. 10 feet of slack later, I took off completely horizontally. Didn't take a single step!

Another time, the 'chute holders didn't hold up the sides high enough. We were flying on a really long rope (hence, lots of rope weight/bounce). The 'chute didn't open quick enough & I went for a drag. Sliced my elbow open, 5 stitches. Doc didn't give me any anti-biotics & I ended up in the hospital for 5 days with celulitus (sp?).

Yet another time, on an older 'chute, was turning around on our 100 yard wide river & got caught by a cross-wind. Boat was just about full-throttle to get me back over the river (The wind drug me over the docks) when the rope broke - AT THE PILON! All 200' of rope came back & hit me in the life-jacket. I managed to land 10' off the docks. That was a lucky one! These things come down fast, I'm not sure how many bones that would have broken.

Not to mention the dozen or so people I saw get drug down the boat ramp because they ran at the wrong time.

But - for all the mishaps, they are fun as heck. Especially when you're too tired, or it's too busy to do anything else. If you do it when it's busy, be sure to have a boat following to keep everyone else far enough away.

jimmer2880
12-13-2004, 06:32 AM
Unfortunately, I believe my parasailing days are over as my buddy who owned the only 'cute we used anymore was just murdered by a crazy ex-boyfriend of his current girlfriend. :rant:

I wish we were in Texas! That b@stard better FRY!

Vern Swieringa
12-13-2004, 05:35 PM
Hey Jimmer,

Thanks for the info. My wife read it and said, "See, that's why your not getting a para-sail." :eek: I have a couple of teenagers at home yet and I would hate to kill them before they leave the house. :o But seriously, my biggest concern is how often would I use it. I would only fly it on Lake Michigan (with lots of sandy beaches) but the wind blows quite a bit off the lake, especially in the afternoons when I would hope to use it the most. From what I have been hearing, you really want a pretty calm day to fly those things.

Sorry to hear about you buddy in Tex. hard to imagine someone being that jealous that we would be willing to spend the rest of his life in prison. :noface:

FrankSchwab
12-13-2004, 06:37 PM
Hey Mag_Red -
A fixed-wing kite? A hang glider?

I've gotta second jimmer2880's comment: "First, it takes an EXPERIENCED staff to do it. I've seen (and been a part of) many accidents from people not really knowing what they're doing."

I haven't done any boat towing, but I've spent a lot of time getting towed behind everything from an ultralight to a Cadillac in my Hang Glider. Other than towing over the ground (which is only a little bit harder than water in an accident) it's the same process, the same dangers, especially if you're using an elliptical paraglider wing rather than an old WWII vintage round chute. It's not something ya just wanna hook up and go with.


/frank

Mag_Red
12-13-2004, 07:42 PM
Hey Mag_Red -
A fixed-wing kite? A hang glider? It's a fixed wing kite not a delta wing. ie if the tow rope breaks, you go down like a rock! :headbang: I'm sort of amazed that my parents took us up in that thing back in the 70's. It's now mine. Haven't flown in years, but I wouldn't have any problem taking you for a ride :D I'd have to trust the driver if I went up again.

Bert
12-13-2004, 07:44 PM
We borrowed one from a friend about 8 years ago.

DO NOT ATTEMPT IT ON A WINDY DAY!!!

We had fun, but there was so much wind, I got my rider up and could not get him down! Imagine driving into the wind and all I had to do was keep my prostar in gear at idle and the parasail stayed up on its own.

After about 5 minutes of this, I decided the only way to get him down was to turn the boat so that the wind was either at our sides or our back. Well, needless to say as I turned 90 degrees to the wind, it felt like the parasail was going to tip the boat over (not kidding).
Another 90 degree turn and the wind is now pushing the parasail so fast, I quickly had to speed up the boat so that he wouldn't pass me.
We did eventually get him down after that, but I won't do that again.
Keep in mind that a wet parasail will not float forever. You only have a certain amount of time to retrieve it and your rider.

Couldn't agree more. I had the same experience and will never tow one again. I also didn't like the upward stress on the pylon. I don't think they are designed for that.

jimmer2880
12-14-2004, 06:06 AM
... But seriously, my biggest concern is how often would I use it. I would only fly it on Lake Michigan (with lots of sandy beaches) but the wind blows quite a bit off the lake, especially in the afternoons when I would hope to use it the most. From what I have been hearing, you really want a pretty calm day to fly those things....

I've been up in them during windy days for special events, I'm the only person my buddy would allow (or - was I the only one stupid enough... I can't remember) in it on windy days. We would only fly on those days for some kind of function like ski show, charity event, etc. When there's a cross-wind, it's no fun at all. I could have swarn many times that the chute was going to roll-over on me. Once, we got caught in a very sudden tail-wind that completely collapsed the chute. Luckily my buddy saw it happing from the get-go & made it a non-issue.

But - don't let me talk you out of buying one. They are very fun especially when you're in the 'chute with someone you can trust driving. We usually flew his about 2-3 times per year. If that's enough for you, then go ahead.

If you end up getting one, it sounds like there's enough experience on this board that if we could all get together for a reunion, it would be a heck of a parasailing 101 demo.

Mag_Red
12-14-2004, 11:14 AM
Here you go. Looks like a complete kit! (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B0002J1PK8/sr=1-17/qid=1103040728/ref=sr_1_17/002-0867943-0421612?%5Fencoding=UTF8&n=3375301&s=sporting-goods&v=glance)

AirJunky
12-14-2004, 11:26 AM
Better run it past your insurance co. before you make the big step. Chances are they will raise your rates at the very least & cancel you altogether at the worst.

phecksel
12-14-2004, 11:37 AM
Better run it past your insurance co. before you make the big step. Chances are they will raise your rates at the very least & cancel you altogether at the worst.

One of my past insurance companies specifically excluded para-sailing.

Friend had one that he bought used. Two bad experiences later, it was on EBay. First one sent a person through a tree, no serious injuries. Second one was me attempting to ride. Several things went wrong, I ended up with a deep cut in my hand, and bruises. We were lucky it wasn't more serious. Parasailing, not worth the risks.

robisjo
12-14-2004, 01:27 PM
We have been doing it for about 8 years in Northern CA. It is a lot of fun. We only do it a couple of times a year because it is a lot of work and you need people that have done it before and know what they are doing. There are some precautions to take. We always do it in the morning before the wind picks up and before the crowds come out as the driver has enough to worry about without having to worry about wave runners cutting in front of you and boats following right next to you (hard to make a wide turn with boats on boths sides of you). With some precautions, I think its reasonably safe. I do carry a $1M umbrella liability policy just in case.

FrankSchwab
12-14-2004, 03:57 PM
It's a fixed wing kite not a delta wing.

Ah, what we would call a Flat kite - popularized by Bill Bennett and various others in the late 60's to early 70's. Lead to the development of the delta wing ski kites, thence to the "bamboo bombers" of the hang gliding craze of the early to late 70's.

Here's an article from Dave Broyles that you might find interesting:
Dave Broyles on Towing kites/gliders (http://www.kite-enterprises.com/articles/Texas.htm)

/frank

Mag_Red
12-14-2004, 05:47 PM
:purplaugh Thanks Frank! I loved the writing about the flat kites.......boy were they dead on! :toast: I almost had some friends of mine, back in the late 70's, fly me into some over head power lines. :eek: I saw them, but the observer was too busy waving at all the boats following us that he didn't see me signaling that I wanted to come down. Luckily they saw the lines in time to slow the boat down. :dance:

milkmania
12-14-2004, 09:19 PM
Here's an article from Dave Broyles that you might find interesting:
Dave Broyles on Towing kites/gliders (http://www.kite-enterprises.com/articles/Texas.htm)

/frank

hmmmmm.....

I keep seeing the words "victim", "stupidity", "talent", and "ton of bricks" in this guy's story.....I only read like the first 4 paragraphs:(

Vern Swieringa
12-14-2004, 10:55 PM
How do you delete a message?

Vern Swieringa
12-14-2004, 10:57 PM
Which way to go :confused: Some of you guys have had hair raising near death expereinces :eek3: while others have enjoyed gliding over the waters :popcorn: I'll keep pondering :rolleyes: And keep listening to what anyone else has to say about para-sailing

FrankSchwab
12-15-2004, 12:27 AM
I think the answer has to be education and training. If you have an extremely experienced crew and the right equipment, you can drag just about anybody into the air - I enjoyed sitting on the beach in Mexico one day, drinking Pacifico's and watching a Parasail operation dragging 250 pound tourists off the beach.

Without extreme experience, you have to at least know what you're doing. You need to know what the right equipment is (for example, is that a round chute, an elliptical chute, a flat kite, a delta kite? How about the harness system that keeps you from plummeting to your death? Do you know what a weak link is, and why you might want one?), and you need to know the basics of safe operation.

If you have no experience, and have no idea whether the equipment you have is gentle and forgiving, well, the "I keep seeing the words "victim", "stupidity", "talent", and "ton of bricks" in this guy's story.....I only read like the first 4 paragraphs" comment from milkmania is what happens then...

/frank

milkmania
12-15-2004, 01:27 AM
I'll admit I have no knowledge of parasailing...

the idea is interesting to me, the story I was reading was quite entertaining, I can't say I learned much from it though.

but, either way....cool link and found it interesting and humorous.:)

lakes Rick
12-16-2004, 01:06 AM
Probably 15 years ago, we picked up an old Parasail..

It smacked one guy on the rocks when it rotated just after taking off and came back to earth..

The wind took another sideways and swung him through some big fir trees... Why no one died still amazes me... I think the chute is still in someones attic..

Those mexican boys on TV make it look WAY easier than it is... They should have a disclaimer " Don't try this at the lake with your drunk friends"...........

gene dobies
12-16-2004, 10:51 AM
I learned a lot from the stories, sounds like fun but I'm not going to think about even attempting it.