Tubing season gets off to soggy start in New Braunfels
Thousands expected to float on Comal River over summer months
Not even mother nature could disrupt the start of tubing season in New Braunfels on Friday, as hundreds of people spent the day floating along the Comal River.
The luxurious waterway helps rake in nearly $470 million per year for the city.
"We have the most water of anybody in Texas. It's 72 degrees year round, crystal-clear to the bottom, so where else would you go?" said Judy Young, director of the New Braunfels Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Young said the river is currently 80 percent full, a testament to the sacrifices New Braunfels residents must make to ensure the river has an economic impact.
"Fortunately for us, we have some of the highest water restrictions in the country. We are at a point where we have as much water as we did last year," Young said.
Texas Tubes owner Colie Reno could only shake his head as rain poured down for several hours Friday.
Although the weather kept visitors away from the river, Reno said the rain does have a long-term benefit.
"You got to have this," he said. "This rain is what we use to get us through the summer. You may lose today, but it may help the rest of your summer be great."
Mother nature could not keep Thomas Blankenship's family from its first tubing experience.
For the last several years the family has travelled from New Orleans to Texas for Memorial Day weekend.
"Usually we go on Lake Travis [in Austin], but we decided to do something different this year so let's come tubing," Blankenship said.
While some visitors prefer the relaxed atmosphere of simply floating in the river, Thomas' daughter, Sydney, said the excitement of tubing down the rapids near Schlitterbahn Waterpark was something she'll never forget.
"You go down and it just shoots you right out," Sydney said. "It's really fun."
Haiel Haifa has been tubing along the Comal River since he was a kid.
On Friday he and a dozen other Warren High School seniors spent their "senior skip day" floating on the river.
"When you're a little kid you do it with your parents, you do it with your family," Haifa said. "Then you come with your high school friends. You relive the past memories but make new ones."
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