Is Subwing the Coolest Thing Ever or an Accident Waiting to Happen?

Norwegian Simon Sivertsen was sailing through the Greek islands with his brother on an attempt to circumnavigate the world when he struck on an idea. 

The water was so clear that diving the reefs almost felt like flying. He wanted to take it a step further and feel like a sting ray so he grabbed a piece of driftwood, attached it to a rope and dragged himself behind the boat. The Subwing was born. 

After years of refining the design, the Subwing represents a dream that has become reality. It’s like an underwater surfboard towed behind a boat. But is it more dangerous than it looks?

The Subwing has won several design awards and it’s been attracting attention even more lately through a viral video recently produced by David Wolfe. 

But is the Subwing, which allows users to dive and twist and turn underwater behind a boat, the coolest thing that ever came to water sports or a dumb idea that’s bound to get somebody hurt?

“This is one of the most stupid things I’ve ever seen,” Robert Piparo commented on Facebook.

“That is so dangerous,” said John Dutcher. “I wonder how many people will drown while using it. If you let go while you are too deep…. I don’t think people realize how hard it is to swim to the surface from deep water without flippers or pushing off the bottom.”

“Looks like a great way to blow your ear drums or get hurt,” commented Doug Hahn. “As soon as your under water the boat has no idea what’s happening to you.”

On the Subwing website, the makers clearly acknowledge the dangers, and there are several. For starters, the boat is not supposed to go more than 4 knots. For sailboats that’s easy, but for power boats, keeping such a low idle speed is essential. 

Here are four more dangers you face on a Subwing:

  • The board will automatically dive under speed, so if you let go or the boat speeds up, the board is diving.
  • The best length of line to use is between 20-30 feet, which can put you in harms way of passing boaters especially if they can’t see you underwater.
  • It’s imperative you do not use any artificial breathing apparatus. This has to do likely with the rapid ascent and descent the board creates.
  • Lastly, the board requires both hands or it will go into a spin if you hold onto only one end. That’s why they installed a rear rope handle, but it sounds difficult to transition from one hand to both hands, a skill that’s essential to freeing up a hand to clear your ears. 

While it definitely takes some technique and comes with a handful of dangers, the Subwing still looks like a ton of fun and something worth trying out. You can get your hands on one for just $295 from the company website. 

Photo credit: Facebook @Subwing