There’s nothing like being the first kid on the block with a new toy. For charter yachts preparing for the season ahead, as well as recreationally cruisers that just wanna have fun, here are some of the latest and greatest in water toys.
AquaBanas. Talk about taking the party to the sea. These sturdy inflatable platforms are a cool way to relax or entertain. There are several sizes and shapes, from those perfect for picnicking to those that can dock a jet ski. All are module, meaning it’s easy to handle, set up and store. “We have several popular toys and some of the newest are still to be experienced in the Caribbean. AquaBanas is our newest water toy,” says Sam Powell, toyshop sales manager at National Marine Suppliers, headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, FL, with locations in St. Thomas and St. Maarten and service to Antigua. Tent-shaped AquaBanas start at $2,237. www.nationalmarine.com
Electric Orca. Touted at the next-generation of jet-ski, this lightweight (under 600-pound) machines come with a 23kWh battery pack and up to 180 HP. “This new toy offers a fast, adrenaline-fueled ride without the emissions. No fuel, no maintenance. It’s ideal for superyachts,” says Ally Ford, office manager of the UK-headquartered company, Superyacht Tenders & Toys, with offices in Cannes, France and Fort Lauderdale, FL. These limited edition, high performance, electric jet skis have a carbon hull and top deck and can be customized to match the mothership.
Lift Electric Hydrofoil. Fly over the waves, or flat calm, with the greatest of fun on an eFoil, manufactured by Isabela, PR-based Lift. This toy employees state-of-the-art watersports technology to enable riders to experience the best of surfing, hydrofoiling and electric propulsion in one. “The incredible sensation of flying over the water and exploring new sceneries from your eFoil is what makes our watercraft fun. Foiling is guaranteed to be a favorite activity for any boat. The eFoil is also quiet, easy to break down for storage, and maintenance-free,” says Nick Leason, CEO and founder. Prices start at $12,000. www.liftfoils.com
NautiBuoy Inflatable Platforms. These seaworthy stages built by UK-headquartered NautiBuoy Marine Ltd provide the perfect location to relax at water level with a glass of champagne, safely mount a jet ski, jump on a paddleboard, snorkel with kids, easily perform hull maintenance and cleaning, or simply extend the usable area of the yacht. “Its compact design means it can be stored above or below deck and inflation or deflation takes less than five minutes. A modular design means that multiple platforms can be linked together in multiple configurations, making it fully customizable,” says Robert Hall, owner of Aqua Sports in Antigua, which is the only registered Caribbean dealer for NautiBuoy. AquaSports has a sample unit that displays the two options of deck finishes, the internal design and the interlocking points. Prices on request. www.aquasportsantigua.com
Photo-Capable Underwater Scooters. New amazing underwater scooters such as the Seabow, manufactured by China-based Sublue, that have photographic options and extended batteries will soon be the new must-have on charter yachts, according to Thierry Vigneron, regional sales manager for St. Maarten-headquartered Budget Marine, with 13 locations throughout the Caribbean. This tri-speed scooter offers one-handed use for greater flexibility, has a battery life up to 75 minutes, can dive to 130 feet and has an extendable underwater photography platform that allows for accessories and mounts. Budget Marine plans to sell these in future seasons. In the meantime, water toy enthusiasts will find snorkeling equipment, inflatable SUPs, fun floats and more in-store. www.budgetmarine.com
SEABOB. Billed as the world’s fastest water sled, this luxury water toy is versatile, exciting, and most importantly, fun, says Joan Moya, who handles public relations for Fort Lauderdale, FL-based Cayago Americas, which manufacturers the SEABOB for the German-headquartered company. “This watercraft can be ridden on top of the water, and it can also be used to scuba dive and snorkel reaching up to 130-feet. With PIN-protected settings, the owner can control the maximum speed and diving depth, making it safe for all ages to use. Also, for yachts, the SEABOB takes up much less space than other water toys like jet skis and kayaks.” Prices start at $9,415 for basic models. www.seabob.us
SmartKat. Described as the world’s lightest inflatable catamaran, this 15-foot sailboat ticks all the right boxes: it’s perfect for beginners or pros, can be single- or double-handed, is certified to winds of 22 to 27 knots, and offers a motorboat option. “It’s easy to set up and takes about 20 minutes to do so,” says Janis French, president and CEO of Caribbean Inflatable Boats & Liferafts, Inc., in St. Thomas, which sells the SmartKat and the Smart SUP, an inflatable stand-up paddleboard. The SmartKat packs into two bags and weighs less than 50-pounds total.” Prices range from $6,350 to $7,200, with the main difference being regular versus racing sails. www.caribbeaninflatable.com
Subwing. The latest in towables, this toy consists of two wings mounted together, which can be tilted independently of each other. “You simply hang on to the wings by your arms and maneuver by pointing the wings in the direction you want to go. Tilt both wings downwards to dive and upwards to resurface. A roll is achieved by tilting the wings in opposite directions. You can glide through the water like a dolphin while performing barrel rolls and underwater acrobatics, explore the underwater marine world, or just relax on the surface and enjoy the ride,” says Simon Sivertsen, CEO of the Norway-based company. Price: $199. Available via Amazon in the US, EU and Australia. www.subwing.com
Water Slides for Yachts. Tall, lightweight, leg or leg-less, all colors. These adjectives describe just a few details of the slides customed designed and built by Freestyle Slides, based in St. Petersburg, FL. “We pride ourselves as being able to bring the owner or captain’s ideas to life,” says Phil Smithies, sales executive. The company can build slides from 10- to 50-feet in height. freestylecruiser.com