The best shark slides will have you swimming and playing with your kids in no time.

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Shark Slides

Shark slides arent new technology. In fact, they’re an old-school summertime favorite that has been a go-to activity for generations of kids and adults. But these days, there are better ways to enjoy the water than jumping in a pool or flushing a hose line down to the drain. Thats why its important to consider factors like comfort, safety, and convenience when selecting the best shark slide for your needs.

Type

There are several types of shark slides, each with their own benefits and considerations. The following are some of the most popular:

  • Inboard/outboard: This is the classic shark slide, which consists of a long board that sits on top of the water. An outboard motor powers the board, while a separate inboard motor powers the user.
  • Outrigger: Rather than sitting on top of the water, an outrigger shark slide hangs off the side of the pool, creating more of a ramp rather than a flat surface. Outriggers are typically shorter than inboards, making them easier to store and less likely to damage the pool walls.
  • Flume: Rather than a traditional shark slide, a flume features a wheeled frame with a steeply angled roof that creates more of a water chute than a ramp. Users can opt to sit on the frame or walk up and down as they please.
  • Rope swing: These swings hang from a single point in the middle of the pool and feature a length of rope or webbing that holds two or three users at once. The motion of the swing is natural and easy on the back and shoulders, but it requires careful planning to ensure everyone has enough space to swing safely.
  • Tube: Like flumes, tube slides also feature a wheeled frame with a steeply angled roof. However, rather than a water chute, this type of slide features a plastic or metal cylinder that curves around a corner and then drops straight down into the water. Tube slides are generally smaller than flumes and easier to store during the winter months.
  • Water stairs: Rather than a traditional ladder or platform, water stairs consist of a series of steps made from various materials, such as plastic, fiberglass, and stainless steel. Water stairs are ideal for shallow pools where the depth might otherwise prevent users from getting on or off the slide safely.

Pool Size

When choosing a shark slide, one of the first things to consider is the size of the pool. Before deciding on a specific model, take a close look at the dimensions of the pool to make sure it will accommodate the desired slide.

Its important to remember that even if a particular slide fits within the parameters of the pool, the installation process is still subject to local codes. Be sure to check with applicable building authorities to determine whether or not a shark slide is permissible in your community.

Material

The material used in the construction of a shark slide affects both the durability and weight of the device. Generally speaking, stainless steel, fiberglass, and polypropylene are common materials used to build these slides.

  • Stainless steel: Stainless steel is a durable material thats resistant to corrosion, impact damage, and ultraviolet rays. It also is lighter than other materials, so a stainless steel shark slide tends to be easier to use over long periods of time.
  • Fiberglass: Fiberglass is strong and rigid, making it a great choice for the framing members that support the shark slide. While it can withstand the elements better than stainless steel, a fiberglass shark slide is heavier and bulkier.
  • Polypropylene: Polypropylene is inexpensive, easy to clean, and resists cracking better than either stainless steel or fiberglass. However, polypropylene isnt as durable as the other materials, so it may crack after prolonged use.

Power

An electric shark slide uses power from an outlet, whereas a manual one requires the user to supply their own power. Electric shark slides are controlled by a switch on the wall, which allows the user to choose between high (power) or low (traction) speeds.

While both options will get the job done, opting for a higher speed could be beneficial depending on the application. For example, if the plan is to use the slide at a public pool, a manual one might be preferable because the pool staff doesnt need to worry about supplying power.

Comfort

Manual shark slides offer a greater degree of control, allowing the rider to adjust the angle of the landing by pushing or pulling the handlebar. This makes them more comfortable than an electric slide, which only offers a choice between high and low speeds.

However, the trade-off is that these manual models require more effort from the rider, which can lead to less speed and a less enjoyable experience.

Safety

As mentioned above, one of the primary concerns when installing a shark slide is ensuring that it complies with local building codes. However, another potential hazard that must be considered is the proper protection against shocks to the back and neck. A solid grip is essential for preventing too much torque when the rider takes a sharp turn and lands on the deck.

For this reason, a quality pair of handguards is an absolute necessity. They can protect hands from the blades of the steering wheel and improve the riders grip on the bars handle.

Also, wearing sunscreen is always recommended, but especially in the sunnier climates of the Southwest and Southern regions, protective goggles should be worn to shield eyes from debris and water splashes.