The most eye-catching of all the towable boat tubes we’ve tested, the O’Brien Sombrero is inspired by the traditional Mexican hat it bears the name of...
With four padded seats on the outer tube, riders are meant to sit or stand facing inwards, holding onto the handles placed around the inner dome. However, we found you could also sit with your bum in between the tubes and your body facing outwards.
The handles are well placed, facilitating all manner of positions that you either choose to try or are forced to adopt during the tow. The pull-up straps at the entrance are a great addition to any design and did make boarding the O’Brien Sombrero noticeably easier.
We were expecting a lot from the Sombrero, considering its price tag and outlandish design, and whilst it was by no means a disaster, it didn’t quite live up to these lofty hopes.
The ability to fit four people at once is a bonus and the variety in riding styles did mean that each new seat or orientation felt like an entirely new experience, helping to ensure that the Sombrero’s enjoyment doesn’t go stale over the years.
The downside is that there is no optimal position to sit in for comfort or thrill and a lot of the ride is spent trying not to crash into your friends as you struggle to stay in your seat.
This may sound hypocritical given how much we enjoyed being thrown around on some of the other boat tubes on test but the Sombrero’s movement mainly involved discomfort without the compensation of large adrenaline bursts.
Due to its size and weight, it never got airborne over any of the wakes or waves and stayed resolutely planted however hard the driver or riders tried to unsettle it.
In this regard, the O’Brien Sombrero should appeal to those looking for a kid-friendly towable, as it is a fun looking tube that can take four people and works well at relatively low speeds, providing a stable ride in and outside of the wake.
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- Eye-catching design
- High capacity
- Easy to get on
- Not the most thrilling ride
- Big and heavy
At higher speeds, the stability goes AWOL without any big jumps or heroic saves to compensate, and larger riders in particular may struggle to find a practical riding style.
Capacity: 4 people
Thrill rating: 2/5
Comfort rating: 4/5
Overall rating: 3/5