Water Trampolines & Water Bouncers: Ultimate Guide – Light As Air Boats icon

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Water Trampolines & Water Bouncers: Ultimate Guide

Trying to decide on a water trampoline conjures up lots of questions and some worries. 

Are they safe?  Do I get a bouncer or a trampoline? What’s the difference? 

What brand is the best? What size is the best?


This guide will answer those questions and more. It’s our goal that when you make your choice you do it with confidence.

Read on for the definitive guide on buying a water trampoline. 
For sake of ease and not to be redundant, we will often refer to both water trampolines and water bouncers as bouncers throughout the article.

Table of Contents

What’s The Difference Between A Bouncer And A Water Trampoline?



Water trampolines are essentially a real trampoline.  The jump mat is supported by a steel frame the same way a backyard trampoline is.  The frames are rigid and have stainless steel springs that provide the bounce.   
A water bouncer gets its bounciness from the surrounding inflatable tubes.  There are no springs, and the mat is attached directly to the inflatable tubes.  
You may see the term “Frame-less Trampoline”.  However, without a frame it is not a trampoline.  It’s really a bouncer. 

Which Has the Best Bouncing Performance?



Bounciness is the biggest difference between the water trampoline and the water bouncer.  
The rigid structure of a trampoline holds the mat tightly so the springs can give the jumper a huge bounce.  Just like on a real trampoline.   
On a water bouncer the mat is attached directly to the inflatable tubes surrounding it.  The water absorbs a lot of the bounce so a water bouncer provides a much smaller bounce. 
Why Would You Want a Water Bouncer Instead of a Water Trampoline?



So, why would someone want a bouncer and not a water trampoline?  First, the bouncer is super safe and perfect for little kids.   Small children can manage it easier than a trampoline.  
There is another advantage to a bouncer.  They make wonderful places to lounge.  Teens and adults like to hang out on them.  
And the fact that they are round makes them more social than a standard mat.  
It’s kind of like dining out.  A long rectangular table makes it impossible for a party of 8 or 10 people to all talk to each other.  But, a large round table allows more socialization.  
And because it’s not super bouncy, you can climb on and hang out without being juggled around.

Benefits Of A Water Trampoline

Great for exercise

 

Jumping on a water trampoline provides great cardio.  Also, you must swim back to the trampoline or to the land when you jump off which is an added workout.

They’re Pretty Safe

Compared to many other sports, jumping on a water trampoline is very safe.  Injuries are rare, especially if you follow all the safety precautions.  Click here to go to safety tips.

Family Fun

 

Nothing beats a water trampoline for crazy summer times.  Kids can burn off a lot of energy.  A trampoline provides fun for a whole summer and a whole lot of kids.
The bonus is at the end of the day, they are a great place to hang out and dip your feet in the water.
The bigger the trampoline or bouncer the more people can enjoy it.  

Age of User

The age of the user is an important consideration when selecting your bouncer or water trampoline.  Little kids do best on a bouncer.  Older kids will prefer the height and exhilaration they get from jumping on a real trampoline.  

Also, a bouncer is safer for a young child.  They can get a thrill from some bounciness but aren’t going to go super high like they would on a trampoline.

Safety

Life vests are a must.  Most water trampolines carry a 
suggested age of use.  They are not safe for children under 5 or children who cannot swim at all. 

Never swim under a water trampoline. 

It is also important to anchor your bouncer or water trampoline securely and to check it often for any defects.   
You should always inspect areas around and under your bouncer before each use. Check to make sure the water is deep enough and free of all rocks, logs, sand bars, and underwater obstructions.  



Make sure the trampoline is a safe distance from above water hard objects. 

All brands advise against acrobatics on a water trampoline.  Most spine injuries occur from improper landing during a somersault.  You should also not use your bouncer as a springboard to jump onto other objects.

Price

Prices range from several hundred dollars for a bouncer to thousands of dollars for a 25’ water trampoline.  The top brand name water trampolines start at $2,300 and can go over $3,000. 

A 14’-17’ bouncer runs around $1,700-$1,800.  Trampolines cost more because of their steel frame and springs. 


Top 3 Brands

If you want your trampoline to last, your best bet is to go with one of the three top name brands. 

Rave Sports, Island Hopper, and Aquaglide are the most well-known brands on the market.  They’ve been around long enough to improve their products year over year

All three offer attachments, warranties, and excellent customer service.  
The warranties are better than new or smaller brands because the established brands have more to lose.  They have built a reputation and want to keep it. 

A manufacturer who has been around for years has also refined their product line from year to year to make their trampolines safer and stronger.  
The top brands also have more attachments and ways to configure added fun allowing the owner to customize their bouncer set-up to their specific needs.

Rave Sports

Rave is the best-known name in water trampolines and bouncers.  They have a limited lifetime warranty for personal use, and they stand behind their products.  
The seams of the trampolines and bouncers are heat welded not glued which makes them stronger and more able to resist wear from bouncing.  
Rave’s bouncers use commercial-grade, reinforced PVC treated with anti-mold/mildew and UV protection.  It’s not uncommon for a Rave bouncer or trampoline to last ten plus years.

Island Hopper 

This manufacturer has been in business for 28 years.  They coined the term banana boat in the 90s.  They also stand behind their products and have excellent customer service. 

Island Hopper isn’t as well-known as Rave Sports, but their line is their equal.  The seams of their bouncers and trampolines are heat-welded.  They use the heavy-duty 1100 denier .9mm reinforced pvc material. 

And they ship fast.  Shipping is usually within one to two days. 

Aquaglide

Aquaglide is a premier brand offering the most variety in configurations and accessories.  
In addition to bouncers and trampolines, they offer water parks, lounges, platforms and covered inflatable table seating areas.  All of these can be attached to each other to custom design a water park or beach club.  
They even have full-size water parks for resorts and camps.

Size

Today’s water bouncers and trampolines come in sizes that range from 10 feet all the way up to 25 feet across! 

The most popular size for both bouncers and trampolines is the 15’-17’.  This mid-size bouncer/trampoline can hold from 3-5 adults. 

An 8-foot bouncer generally holds 1 adult or 2 children.  
The Rave Sports O-Zone Plus is an 8’ bounce and slide combination.  It’s made for little kids because the jump surface is only 5 feet.  

If you go with a 25-foot water trampoline, you have room for 4 adults or 8 children.  While the 20-foot water bouncer holds 5 adults or 10 children.  The bouncer has more space because there are no springs taking up some of the room between the mat the inflatable surround.  
The biggest sizes are offered by Rave Sports & Island Hopper.  
 
The 20’ Island Hopper Acrobat Water Trampoline runs about $4,500 and is perfect for camps and resorts.  It’s commercial grade too with galvanized steel frame sections that bolt together.  

Water Launchers

Nothing is more fun for campers than to launch off a high platform, and bounce on a water launcher into the water. The top two brands for water launchers are Fat Boys Blob and the Water Blob.   
Both brands make solid, long-lasting products.  

Fat Boys Blob


Fat Boys Blob set a world record in 2012 for highest water launch and is part of the Nitro Circus.  The Fat Boy was designed by a team of engineers from BYU.  It has a peanut shape divided into two sections.  
One section constricts the air and the other releases it.  As the launcher jumps into the constricted section, speed increases maximizing the energy transfer.  
Then in a second, the energy is transferred into the other section launching the person flying into the air.  The Fat Boy has buoys on the sides eliminating the need for anchors.  Set-Up is about thirty minutes.
On the Water Blob, kids catapult each other into the air on the huge air filled, commercial grade, super pillows. 
There are 3 sizes.  The Classic Blob is 30 feet long.  The Super Blob at 35 feet, and the Extra-Large Blob at 40 feet.  
A child sits on the end of the blob in the water, and the next child in line jumps from a good height.  This launches the first child high in the air.  Then, the second child crawls to the end and gets ready to be launched.  
These high-quality launch products are made in the USA and there are a variety of colors.  
The blob can be anchored with a 30 lb – 50 lb anchors attached to the D-Rings. 

Weight Limit

Water trampolines can handle more weight than a bouncer because of the amount of steel supporting the mat.  In fact, they support between 400 pounds up to 1,500 pounds. 


The biggest trampolines are the Rave Aqua jump Classic 25’ which can hold up to 9 children at a time and up to 2,000 pounds!  

Island Hopper also has a 25’ trampoline.  Their stated max capacity is 5 jumpers and 1,000 pounds. 
Remember you lose some jump space due to springs taking up space.  So, on a 25’ giant trampoline you get about seventeen feet of jump space.
 
Aquaglide’s Ricochet Bouncer can hold up to 1,000 pounds.  Their guidelines say that equates to 3 adults or 3 children bouncing depending on weight or 5 adults or 5 children lounging.  
If you want more room, we suggest skipping the 17’ and going to the 20’ or 25’.
 
For most brands, the 17’ doesn’t really add kid capacity.  
Bouncers come in 20’ too.  Rave has a 20’ bouncer that you can get up to 10 children or 1500 pounds max.  Now if you really have a gang, you will want to check out getting a water park


Anchoring

The weight and type of anchor depends on things like lake bottom, wind, and waves.  
There are multiple ways to anchor your new water bouncer. 
You can buy an anchor kit or simply make one yourself.  The top brands all sell anchoring kits to accompany their trampolines & bouncers.  
But it’s easy to do it yourself too.  All you need is a cinderblock and rope or cable.  Just attach the rope to the cinderblock and the other end to a D-Ring on the bottom of your bouncer.  
For very windy conditions attach your rope or cable to a heavy septic tank cover.
You may need to place an anchor on each side of the trampoline.  Push your bouncer out to the right depth and let your cinderblock sink to the bottom of the water.  
Some people only use their bouncers on the weekends.  In other words, their bouncer doesn’t stay in the water for the season.  
Just attach a buoy to the end of the anchor line.  You will easily find your anchor point when putting your bouncer or trampoline back in the water.

Accessories

There are lots of accessories that make a bouncer or trampoline even more fun. 

A ladder is pretty key and most water trampolines come with one.  A rope ladder works well.  So does a metal ladder.  Pull the ladder out of the water when not in use to prevent barnacles and slime from attaching to it.

The one accessory everyone wants is the slide.  
All major brands offer a slide that attach with straps to D-rings on the tubes of the bouncer.  
A fun accessory is the log.  Swimmers try to walk out on the log without falling in the water.  Slides and logs run from about $500-$700.  
Another popular accessory is the Launch.  

The launch adds a variation of jumping to a bouncer or trampoline.  It’s a huge pillow that when jumped on sends the kids soaring.  It’s an awesome way to hit the water with a bounce.  
Rave, Island Hopper and Aquaglide all offer their version of a launch.

Some brands get creative with their accessories.  
Island Hopper has a Gator Monster Head and Tail that function as slides.  They attach to the ends of the water bouncer making the bouncer itself the alligator’s body.
You can get a full water park which can save you some money than buying pieces separately.

Water Parks

Water parks are really a combination of a bouncer or trampoline with attachments.  
A water park usually has both a slide and log.  Rave Sports has an inexpensive option that is very popular.
The Rave Splash Zone Plus offers a choice of a 12’ or 16’ bouncer with a slide and log.  It’s $1,600 for the smaller size and $2200 for the larger.  
It even has a boarding platform to make it easier to climb back on.  The price point makes it one of Rave’s best sellers.  
Working our way up from that price point is the Island Hopper 15’ Classic Water Trampoline with the added Slide and Log.  The price point is right at $4,500.  Island Hopper has other attachments you can add too.  
Rave Sports’ 15’ Trampoline with slide and log is a little over $4,000.  Of course, you can go up to the bigger trampolines and add attachments as well.


If you have deep pockets, Aquaglide makes the most incredible Water Parks with even cabana like platforms for adults. 

With the many attachments and configurations, Aquaglilde is your top shelf brand for camps and resorts or to host all your lake friends.  
The Aquaglide configurations come in 6 Mini Park packages. 
Check out the Mini Park 6 which includes the Revel Lounge, 2 Decks, a six-foot Spire and the 10’ Velocity Slide
Both the Spire and the Velocity are great for climbing and jumping off. 
It’s a $10,500 package that includes a covered lounging platform with seats and a table where adults can chill.  
There is even a package just for adults.  


Check out the Lakefront Mini Park 1.  It comes with a bouncer, slide, log and a lounging area for adults.  All for a little over $5,000.  
The Lakefront Mini Park 3 is your adult chill space.  It has four big pieces for about $7,700 with 2 hang out areas (The OG Lounge and the Revel Lounge). 

The OG lounge is a great hangout for family-sized groups.  It has barstool seating, a raised table, cupholders and a shaded canopy top.  Six adults can enjoy some beverages while the kids swim.  

The Revel Lounge also accommodates six people.  It features laid-back floor seating around a family-size table, the Revel Lounge includes inflatable backrests and mesh-bottom footwell and cooler cutouts. The entire layout sits beneath a canopy top cover for added shade. 
 

Durability

Buying a water bouncer or creating a whole water park is an investment.  You want it to last for years to come.  While you can purchase some inexpensive water trampolines or bouncers, they end up not lasting as long.
The hassle of repairs, the down time and lack of durability to save a couple of hundred dollars isn’t worth it.  
Imagine hauling a leaking bouncer out of the water.  After you drag it in to land, you have to find the hole which is usually so small it can’t be seen.  Then, you have to patch the hole and reinflate.  Lastly, you have to relaunch your bouncer and hope that you patched the right place.
It’s just better to bite the bullet and invest in one of the top 3 brands.  They last and are proven winners. 
Since the established brands have been around for decades, the top companies have durability figured out.  Many people have had their water trampolines for ten years or more.  

How to repair

Should your trampoline get a whole, a patch kit is included with instructions on how to repair it. 

The first step is to locate the leak or puncture.  Locate a leak by spraying the tube with warm soapy water.  Bubbles will form around an area with a leak.  Make sure to use marine waterproof glue with the patch kit.

Once repaired, it’s good to order a new patch kit to have on hand for the future.  You don’t want to have a big weekend of fun planned and have a random leak end the adventure.   
 

Warranties

Aquaglide’s three-year warranty covers both commercial and residential use.  The warranty primarily covers manufacturing defects and seam failures.  If it is under three years but over two years, the warranty may be pro-rated. 

Some parts are considered consumable and fall under normal wear and tear.  Things like straps, handles etc. may or may not be replaced.  Aquaglide may choose to repair or replace the item.
Island Hopper has a 5 Year “no Seam Blow Out” limited warranty.  The warranty only applies to the original owner.  This is pretty standard. 

Seams and welded connection points are covered against separation for five years. 

Accessories like ladders, and jump surfaces are covered for one year. Handles and D-rings are not covered.  Nor are damages due to mishandling, over inflation, under inflation, ordinary wear and tear etc. 
Basically, it’s a great warranty for what is most expensive and what you need to depend on…. the tubes and seams.
Rave Sports offers a Limited Lifetime Warranty for personal use on bouncers and trampolines. 

Rave doesn’t make you register the product.  All you need is the receipt.  If you buy through a dealer, your dealer will provide you with proof of purchase. 

Their three-year limited manufacturing warranty protects the seams, valves, and material.  They also offer a warranty for commercial use. The three-year limited manufacturing warranty covers workmanship on seams, valves, and PVC material.

Color



Believe it or not, color is an important consideration when purchasing.  If you are on deep water, you will want brightly colored trampolines so your children are visible to boaters. 

In a cove, you can go for the green color that blends nicely with the natural surroundings.  Both Rave Sports and Island Hopper offer these two-color options.  

Aquaglide’s white and grey trampolines have more of a luxury look, and the white surfaces stay cool in the sun.

Required Water Depth


It’s important to consider how much water you have.  The bigger the trampoline the deeper the water required.  Figure about 8’ for a bouncer and 10’ for a trampoline in general

Make sure to read the depth requirements of your bouncer before purchasing.  Each brand has their specific requirements which are listed in the description. 

Make sure to take tides into account.  Measure the depth with the tide out.  Also, a trampoline should be at least 30 feet from any docks, boats, or other obstructions.

Storage

Make sure your trampoline is clean and dry before storing it for the winter.  It’s important to remove all the air so you can easily store your bouncer. 

We recommend the use of a high-speed inflator/deflator for proper deflation and flattening of the water trampoline. 
Keep your trampoline or bouncer off a concrete floor. Fold the bouncer and store it in a closed container.  A garbage pail with a lid works great to keep critters out.  Keep it in a cool, dry place like a garage. 

Transport

Lift and carry your water trampoline to the water.   Never drag it.  It takes 2-3 people to carry your bouncer.  For the largest trampoline, 4-5 people will need to carry it to the water. 

When deflated, a water bouncer or trampoline will fit in a large vehicle like a pickup truck or SUV.

Salt Water 

Water trampolines and bouncers can easily work in salt water.  Consider getting a stainless-steel bouncer to avoid rust.  When taking your bouncer out of the water hose the metal down to avoid corrosion. 

Rave Sports Aqua Jump Eclipse 200 is the perfect trampoline for salt water.  Bouncers are great for salt water because the tubes connect to the jump mat with nylon rope. 

If using a metal ladder for boarding either the trampoline or bouncer, make sure to hose it off to avoid corrosion.

Ease of Set-Up

Set-up is straight forward for a water trampoline.  Open the box being careful not to cut the trampoline itself. 

Roll your new trampoline out on a flat surface.  Locate the valve and unscrew it.  Turn the valve one quarter turn clockwise to make sure it is closed. 

Inflate the trampoline tubes to almost full.  Attach your anchor ropes to the D-Rings on the trampoline.  Attach the ladder. 
Attach the springs to the tubes and to the mat.  Then, fill the tubes completely.  The tubes should feel as hard as a basketball. 

Use handles to carry your trampoline to the water.
Bouncers are quick and easy to set up.  Open the package and lay the bouncer out flat like a pizza.  Lace the mat over the center of the bouncer tube. 

Align the warning labels so that one label is centered on the tube panel where you will attach the ladder.  All that’s left is to attach your anchor to your anchor line.

FAQs

How deep should the water be for a water trampoline?

Anchor your water trampoline in at least 10 feet of water. 

Consider docks, boats, and other things that someone could hit when bouncing off the trampoline.  Make sure to be at least 30 feet from anything a jumper could hit.

What is the best way to anchor a water trampoline?

A cinderblock or two with a length of rope is perfect for anchoring your bouncer or trampoline.  Attach a buoy to the end of the rope to easily find our anchor each time you put your trampoline in the water.

What is a water trampoline made of?

The tube material is very important in how long your trampoline will last.  Rave Sports, Island Hopper & Aquaglide use commercial grade pvc fabric, and the seams are heat welded to prevent leaks.  Heat welding connects the layers of fabric into one layer by fusing them together.

Can I use my water trampoline on land?
Water trampolines and water bouncers are designed for the water and injuries are likely if used on land. 
The jump mat only sits 12”-18” off the water surface with the water providing some of the leg support.   
A regular trampoline’s jump mat can be 3 feet off the ground.
That distance absorbs the bounce. 


Water Trampoline Games

Monkey in the Middle

A new twist on an old favorite.  Someone stands in the middle of the trampoline.  The other 2 players stand around him and throw a ball over his head.  
The person in the middle has to catch the ball while the others toss the ball back and forth overhead to the person on the other end.  
If the person in the middle catches the ball, the person who threw it is in then in the middle.  
Set a timer.  Whoever is in the middle in 5 minutes has to jump off into the water!
Hot Potato
Best for at least 3 players.  Using a medium sized ball the players begin to jump and toss the ball back and forth.  Anyone who drops the ball goes overboard and then is back in the game!
Dodgeball
One to three players are on the trampoline while others are in the water.  Those in the water take turns throwing a ball at those on the trampoline who try and dodge the ball.  If someone is hit, they go in the water and the person who threw the ball takes their place on the trampoline.

In Closing

Water trampolines and bouncers can provide years of fun for families.  Get the one that will grow with your family.  And be safe out there!
Yours in Wind, Water, & Waves,
Dave
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