Tow floats in Swimrun are increasingly required by Swimrun race organisers for solo participants and very occasionally for the traditional pairs format. Owning a tow float is a good investment for anyone venturing out into open water. Here we weigh up the pro’s and con’s to give you the best safety system. Tow floats are not to be confused with pull buoys!
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The Restube is the best option when it comes to performance. It is worn very unobtrusively and is only deployed as a safety system, pulling a chord engages a little gas canister which inflates the Restube. There are a few drawbacks when using a Restube; it won’t provide any additional visibility in the water and while there is the option to inflate the Restube by mouth, this isn’t practical in an emergency situation. In summary, a great option for races although we would pre-inflate it for use in open water training.
Swim Secure are a well-known and respected brand in water safety. While their devices are clearly labelled as being a ‘non life saving’, the additional buoyancy along with the wetsuit should enable you to hang onto it and signal for help. Swim Secure floats are bright and great for being seen in the water. We have seen Swimrunners use both the traditional tow float and the wild swimming bag. The drawback for this type of tow float is certainly when running, it can bobble about and be a trip hazard.
Another strong contender from Lomo. It is bigger than the Swim Secure tow float and has a number of useful grab handles which makes it well suited for Swimrun. It also doubles up as a dry bag which is pretty neat for wider use outside of Swimrun.
Special mention has to got to the Ruckraft. While not practical for a Swimrun race, the Ruckraft is a fabulous piece of kit for your own Swimrun cross-county adventures.