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Choosing and Using a Water Trampoline or Bouncer
You can have your own cottage water park that will keep the family actively entertained for hours. Not only are they a fun, active playground, water trampolines also double as a swim raft for lounging and playing. Water trampolines come in many sizes, shapes, qualities...and costs. Getting it installed correctly can also avoid retrieval problems when the next wind storm breaks out.
Water Trampolines with Springs:
True water trampolines such as the Rave Aqua Jump pictured here are built similarly to trampolines used on land. A heavy duty inflatable tube provides the support for the trampoline jumping mat. Springs connect the tube to a jumping mat. A safety pad covers the springs. For a true trampoline experience, with lots of height in the bounce, this is the right choice for kids, teens and adults alike. Quality counts, as water trampolines are not cheap. The tube should be made of heavy gauge, fabric reinforced PVC. Seams should be heat or RF welded. All components must be UV and mildew resistant.
Until recently, all water trampolines were built using a steel, tubular frame. The steel frame is strapped to the tube and the jumping mat is connected to the frame. The AquaJump Eclipse designs from Rave have eliminated the steel frame making them lighter, easier to install and provide more jumping surface than ever before.
Aquaglide Supertramp water trampolines retain the steel tubular frame and are designed for superior bouncing performance. They are built using an eight sided, rigid steel frame to ensure that all of the jumper's energy is focussed, providing a bigger sweet spot and better bounce than round trampolines.
The most popular models are between 14 feet and 20 feet in diameter. They will accommodate a family and friends, with room for loungers to watch the jumpers.
Water Trampoline Bounce Platforms:
Lighter, portable and less costly, a bounce platform like the Aquaglide Rebound pictured here, is a great choice for younger children and families. You don't get the bounce height with a bounce platform that you do with a true water trampoline, as the flexible jumping mat is attached directly to the inflatable tube without springs. This makes the Rebound and other products like it, portable and easily anchored. As the kids get older though, interest may wane.
Again, quality counts. This is a much more competitive market with many inferior products. Be sure that you check the thickness and material of the inflatable tube. Heavy gauge, fabric reinforced PVC is the best. Seams should be heat or RF welded. Look for a heavy duty but pliable matt which is open on the bottom. All materials must be UV and mildew resistant.
The most popular models are between 12 and 16 feet in diameter. They will accommodate a family and friends, with room for loungers to watch the jumpers.
Locating and Anchoring
Water trampolines and bouncers are typically anchored for the season and setting them up, although easy to do, requires some effort and the right tools. You will need a high speed inflator or high output shop vacuum to get the tube easily and properly inflated. An anchor connector with a shock chord on the anchor line will absorb vertical movements and wave action.
You will need a lot of space around the trampoline away from boat traffic and docks. They should be used only in larger bodies of water with depths of at least 8- 10 feet. Do not use the product in swimming pools or shallow water. You will need a location that is most protected from wind, of sufficient water depth, and free of obstructions above and below the water. A minimum of 150 lbs of anchor weight is recommended. Many people use the concrete anchors used for anchoring docks or rafts like the one shown in the picture at left. These are available at most building supply and dock centres in cottage country. Larger water trampolines in open areas will need even more weight.
Care and Maintenance
Even though the material used to make water trampolines and other quality inflatables is initially treated with a UV protectant, long term exposure to sunlight will damage the product. Regularly application of a UV protectant to the exposed surface of the tube will ensure the life of your product, and may be necessary for your warranty. Manufacturers recommend using 303 UV Protectant or Aurora Polyguard. Monthly application while the product is in use is recommended. You can find learn more about this protectant at www.303-products.com or www.auroramarine.com .
Check the inflation of your tube often. It may appear to have lost air early in the morning, but will expand once the sun warms it. Maximum expansion will occur in the heat of the day. Under-inflation can cause excessive wear and reduce bounce height. Over- inflation can cause stress on the seams. Proper inflation will also discourage marine animals from chewing.
StorageA little care will keep your water trampoline in great shape for many years. To avoid getting pin holes, never drag it on shore, against docks, over rocks etc. Lift it out of the water with several people to avoid scuffing.