Wednesday, June 29, 2005

The famed Jump-Roll:

There are many tricks you can do while tubing behind a boat. The simplest is a jump across the wake. More complex moves are barrel rolls and jumping over another tube. A barrel roll is accomplished while being whipped around a corner by the boat. You must lay on your tube and when you have a lot of angular momentum you simply fall off the outside of the tube, bounce off your back, hold on tight, and pull yourself back up when you come around. The faster you are being whipped, the easier and quicker it is to get your body around. It is also less painful if you know how to do it because you can just quickly skip off the water without as much drag. Of course, there is the potential of botching it and crashing at high speeds.

Jumping over another tuber is a great trick. You must be able to jump at least 18" off the water and you need very good timing. The trick is especially easy with a good driver and a good "set-up man." The set up man must drag his leg and stay in the wake while the driver whips the jumper out of the wake. If the driver knows what they are doing, they'll give the jumper a nudge back toward the wake and the jumper simply has jump high as he gets to the inside of the wake. Without a good "set-up man" jumping someone takes a lot more skill. You have to wait for a chance when one tuber is moving quickly toward the other and jump, usually off of flat water, over the other tuber.

Finally, we come to the most advanced trick by far. It is the jump-roll. This trick requires great skill, balance, and guts. A great driver is also essential. The tuber must first be whipped well out of the wake so that he can have a lot of angular momentum as he goes across the wake. As he hits the wake he has to simultaneously jump off his knees and whip the tube over his head. Once in the air, the tuber must keep control of the tube, complete the rotation, and land right-side-up on the tube. The guts factor comes in when you think of what you are really doing. The best speed for doing tricks on a tube is 26-28 mph. However, to do a jump roll, you also must be flying at the wake at greater than 15 mph. The combined velocity at launch is very high and you must force your body to do some blind contortions in mid air. Needless to say, there is a great potential for pain if the trick is not successful. Below is a picture of an attempted jump-roll.

On this particular attempt, the tube made it all the way around but I lost control of myself in the air and ended up in a funny position, landing on my side next to the tube.

I personally have never successfully landed a jump-roll. In about 10 attempts I have found varying success. In the next few weeks I will attempt the jump roll behind Jason's boat, which has a tower and creates a bigger wake. The tower makes jumping easier, as does a big wake, so I should have more air time to complete the rotation. The only tuber I know who is a master of the jump roll is Evan Steensma. Somehow he can do it; I don't know how, but he's awesome.


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