Beach fun gets fitter with new toys and designs
Going to the beach and lying around on a towel all day doesn’t cut it for everyone. For active people, the sand and surf are an extension of the gym, with nonstop movement ruling the day. Here are a few toys to help you keep your aerobic fitness, coordination and neuromuscular reaction time honed while the rest of the family binges on Cheetos, hot dogs and Red Bull.
Aerobie Squidgie Disc: The 8-inch-diameter flying disk is made of a flexible rubber designed not to hurt the hands of players, the teeth of disk-catching dogs or the heads and backs of sunbathers hit by it.
Likes: Soft enough to catch easily without stinging, hard and hefty enough to fly true without getting blown around. Floats.
Dislikes: Less durable than the normal hard disk. Doesn’t have the glide, air-float and distance of the plastic disks. Must work a bit harder to keep it straight.
Price: $6.75. www.aerobie.com
World’s slowest swimsuit
Rocket Science Sports Swim Drag Pants: The full-length stretch leggings are designed to catch water in extra material and folds in order to artificially increase the difficulty for a swimmer. The idea is to build greater strength, endurance and speed.
Likes: It works. Swimmers have used drag devices for years, including drag shorts and drag belts that are worn over regular Speedos. Rocket Science Sports claims that the key advantage of this long-leg unisex design is proper body positioning while in motion. Perfect for a triathlete itching for a workout as the family tends the barbecue.
Dislikes: Double the price of the more commonly used drag shorts.
Price: $70. www.rocketsciencesports.com
Bike path carver
Trikke T78 Deluxe: This new, lower-cost version of the venerable self-propelled three-wheel “carving” vehicle moves forward by leaning it side to side and pushing off on the outside foot like a skater. It has a steel frame and leather hand-grips.
Likes: Flowing, exhilarating all-body movement that, once coordinated (takes 10 minutes to get the hang of it), provides an excellent workout yet can feel as effortless as flying. The bird’s-eye view of the standing position is quite fun and comfortable, including for overweight folk who find the seated bike position irritating. Typical cruising speed of 10 to 15 miles per hour puts the wind in your face and gets your heart pumping like cycling. Air-filled 8.5-inch rubber tires provide better grip on wet and sandy bike-path surfaces than the skateboard wheels found on lower-end models. Friction brakes on the rear wheels provide good control. The adjustable handlebar height accommodates users from under 5 feet tall on up. The 24-pound frame folds down in seconds to fit in your car.
Dislikes: As with in-line skating, the Trikke’s side-to-side carving takes up a wide space on the bike path, which can annoy some cyclists. (But most other onlookers love it; shy people may not like all the extra attention they get.)
Price: $389. www.trikke.com
Smashball by Wet Products: An age-old beach game involves two players with simple wooden paddles, spaced 15 to 20 feet apart, batting a small rubber ball back and forth. No net or court boundaries are involved.
Likes: Fun, simple, challenging, cheap and engrossing. Takes focus and builds coordination. No complicated rules: Just hit the ball harder and stand farther and farther apart as you get better. Some people use a racquetball (not included) to make the game a bit harder. If you play even 5 minutes, you get winded, sweaty and happy.
Dislikes: Does not include a closable bag, so it’s easy to misplace the ball or paddles. Spare balls are available on Amazon.com. The quality of the thin paddles may be iffy and can be ruined by tossing them around or getting them wet. Best to buy in a sporting goods store after you do a close inspection.
Price: $9.99. www.wetproducts.com
What a haul
BeachTuff Lazee Move: This plastic cargo hauler is composed of a snap-together deluxe beach chair, cart and table on wheels that rolls easily across sand.
Likes: No sweat carrying all your gear from the car out to the sand. The dolly-like design, in which the 4-foot-long folded chair snaps into the 2-foot wide cart at a right angle, provides enough space to load up everything you need for the day: ice chest, boogie board, toys, volleyball, padded footballs, a couple of smaller folding chairs. The foot-tall, 4-inch-wide wheels roll easily over sand.
Dislikes: Although you can buy an optional cargo net, you will still need several extra bungee cords to keep items in place.
Price: $309.99. www.beachtuff.com
Tough little speaker
Scosche Boom Bottle H2O: The waterproof, sand-proof, sink-proof (It floats!) and shockproof wireless Bluetooth speaker is shaped to fit in a water bottle cage. It’s 4.5 inches tall by 2.75 inches wide and weighs just 12 ounces. Includes a USB-charged battery and attached carabiner clip.
Likes: Convenient, rugged music-blaster for biking and the beach. The bright-yellow-and-black plastic cylinder syncs wirelessly to a phone or tablet music library located as far as 33 feet away. It blasts loud enough for a small house party, with excellent sound quality; the bass is realistic and resonant, with none of the typical distortion of cheap speakers. Simple three-button controls include up-and-down volume and an on-off/pause/skip button. It has a near eight-hour battery life (as claimed), won’t get lost (due to the clip), increases a cyclist’s safety on the road by not blocking ambient traffic sounds (unlike ear buds) and can be connected to other audio players via its auxiliary input.
Price: $100. www.scosche.com
Kwik Tek Dry Pak DP-44 Alligator Waterproof Wallet: The 4- by 4-inch thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) pouch seals with two cam-lock knobs and is big enough to hold a few keys, money, ID and credit cards. It includes an adjustable lanyard.
Likes: It works. Nothing gets wet when you play in the water. It floats when you leave a little air in it. If you don’t want to wear it around your neck, it can also be tied to any attachment point on a bathing suit.
Dislikes: The item’s cardboard packing insert can tear or stretch it by accident if you don’t remove it carefully. Also, it’s too small for a passport or cellphone (for that, go to the larger DPG-912 model, $23.36).
Price: $7.99. www.amazon.com
Blow up, stand up
ULI Fat Ass Quad surf/river board: The 9-by-3-foot inflatable stand-up paddleboard with four fins inflates to a maximum of 18 pounds per square inch easily with a small hand pump (ULI means ultra-light inflatable). It weighs 22 pounds, 12 ounces. The kit includes a hand pump, gauge, center handle and a D-ring to attach a leash.
Likes: Take it anywhere — without a car rack. Blows up in five minutes with the included pump. It claims to be rigid enough for a 250-pound adult to ride breakers. Soft, comfortable and extra-buoyant.
Dislikes: Duffle bag ($84.95) not included by should be at this price.
Price: $1,295. www.uliboards.com
Wallack is the coauthor of “Fire Your Gym: High-Intensity Workouts You Can Do at Home.” email@example.com