Kanab Utah is a very beautiful place to live and central a lot of recreation. It's an hour and fifteen minutes to Lake Powell, two hours to the north rim of the Grand Canyon, forty-five minutes from Zion National Park, and about two hours to Bryce Canyon National Park. It's a small town with two stop lights and is very touristy during the summer. That's where I live.
A couple years ago we bought our first used boat. We are now on our third boat and have named it Kounterintelligence. The "K" was on purpose and they got the lettering done before I could tell them to change the c at the end to a $ sign. I figured the name rather summed up boat ownership and the $ sign would also be appropriate. This will help set the scene for our next adventure.
The manufacture of the DYNA X cord we carry once told me he knew someone who used it to pull skiers on A lake. DYNA X cord floats with a break or tensile strength of 1250 lbs. and is the same size as 550 paracord.
I took a very short look at the tensile strength of a couple of ski ropes. One said beginner at 600 lbs. and another was intermediate at 800 lbs. Okay, I thought, an advanced one was probably about 1,000 lbs. and I quit looking. I just used the ropes we got from the dealer where we bought the boat. I even towed a broken-down boat off of Lake Powell with the least expensive of the ski ropes we had. The boat was probably about a nineteen-footer full of people and gear. It took about half an hour to get them to the dock.
We had decided to go to the lake for the day. Light bulb let's take some DYNA X cord and see how it does. It had a break strength rating of 1250 lbs. which was better than the ropes I had looked at, so it should be fine. This was a last-minute decision. My son and I made a quick woven loop in the ends of the cord to attach to the boat and tube. We used two strands of paracord along with the end of the DYNA X cord. We thought it would be better to have a larger surface (three pieces of cord) than a small single piece of cord hooked to the tube attachment. Just to be honest, our quickly woven loop ends held just fine. However, the DYNA X cord weaved in them gradually pulled tighter and tighter bunching up the weave to the point that at the end of the day we had to cut them off the attachment points. The point of what we were doing was to test the cord more than the attachment loops we had made.
We attached the cord to the boat and tube. The tube was large and was designed for two rider which we had. The first immediate test of the rope came quickly. I pushed the throttle forward and we started to move only to feel the boat pulling way harder than it should. I turned around just in time to see the front of the tube nosing under the water and the riders going in head first in front of it. I backed off the throttle and stopped. My riders had positioned themselves to far forward on the tube and the nose went into the water allowing them to do a nice face plant in front of it. Giving instructions to start farther back on the tube we tried again. Long story short we pulled that tube all over the lake for about four hours. We sent it and the riders back and forth over the boats wake without any problems. Once I let some slack get in the rope without slowing down soon enough. The tower on the boat groaned as the slack tightened up and jerked the tube forward. This was the hardest jar of the day on the rope and riders.
Success so far. Time for the three-person hot dog. The loop hadn't fully tightened up on the tube attachment, so we were able to hook up the hot dog. This toy was designed for smaller children rather than the tree adults we put on it. It was the first time we used it. All hooked up and away we go. The rope held just fine. It was the riders having the problem. The hot dog was a lot harder to ride. It required a lot of balance and it was hard to keep the nose from going under water when going over a little wave. To keep the nose from dipping into the water we only let two riders on at a time, one on the back and one in the middle leaving the front of the hot dog further out of the water. This worked well, and we pulled the hot dog around for about an hour.
It was hard, but we got the rope off the hot dog and back onto the tube again. More fun. By the end of the day the loops had completely tightened on both attachment points and we cut them off.
The cord had worked just great. I was pleased. My wife and son thought this was a fun experiment as well. To everybody else it was just a smaller rope.
Now the part where I tell you not to try this at home (or the lake in this case).
After getting home I looked up ski and tube rope break strengths again. This time I'm seeing ski ropes with 1,600 to 1,800 lb. break strengths. I don't know where they were the first time I looked. Better yet, I found a chart that listed the break strength recommended for a tube and two riders with a combined weight of 350 lbs. It suggested just under a 2,400 lb break strength. We had three on the hot dog at first. For three people combined weight of 500 lbs. the chart recommended a little over 3,300 lbs. break strength. The working load of a cord or rope is usually between 10 and 15% of its break strength. As you can see by these recommendations we were underrated for what we were doing. I'm surprised that the cord didn't snap. We did know that this cord has virtually no stretch (a static cord or rope) like many other ropes or cords that can stretch as much as 30%. We figured, before we started, if it did snap it wouldn't act like a rubber band. One other thing, The DYNA X paracord is much smaller than a regular boat toy rope. I would worry more if it got wrapped around a body part and yanked.
Last Christmas my daughter gave me a tee shirt with a nautical symbol background which said, "But did we sink". Anyway, I guess I'm just another fool on the lake.
M. Shane Sullivan, Owner/Manager of Paracordgalaxy.com