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Parasailing on South Padre Island

Parasailing with Breakaway CruisesAs part of a fun filled action packed week long winter vacation on South Padre Island, we had scheduled ourselves to go parasailing over Laguna Madre Bay and South Padre Island. But each day for five days, the conditions were not favorable for parasailing - thanks to some heavy winds and choppy seas. But the wind finally died and we immediately rushed over to , who had recently won an award as "Category Winner" in the "Activities" and "Eco-Tour" categories of the South Padre's Best Award. So I figured they were safe enough to tow our family 600' above the bay.

We (Mrs Texas Outside and our oldest daughter's family which included two boys ages 2 and 5) eagerly jumped aboard the boat and headed out to the bay. Being the gentleman that I am, we let another couple go first - no, we were not scared or timid, we were shaking because it was a little cold! The first couple made it look easy - both were strapped into a harness, sat on the back of the boat, the boat accelerated and the parachute Back for a perfect landingmagically opened, and they were gently lifted into the sky. Both of the grandkids saw this and their eyes went wide open, they cuddled closer to mom and dad, and looked scared to death! No telling what would happen when they were up for their ride.

As the first couple were flying 600' feet above Laguna Madre Bay, the oldest grandson and his mom got suited up and ready to go. He still looked very nervous but when the first couple returned safely with smiles on their faces and a big "WOW, that was fantastic," I think some of the fear left and the oldest grandson bravely stepped up to the launch platform, grabbed his harness so tight his knuckles were white as he hooked onto the parachute, and suddenly off they went. We were waving and cheering frantically and after a couple minutes he did make a little arm wavr back to us. After a safe landing, he was all grins and high fives and full of bravado and cheering his little brother on as he got ready for his flight.

Strapped in and ready for lift offDo you see an arm wavingGentle lift off Up and away

The 2 year old eagerly stepped up to he platform with a big grin on his face - I don't think he realized what was about to happen. He returned with he same big smile he left with! He said he loved it. And shortly after he landing, the spouse and I were flying over the bay - what a view of South Padre Island, Port Isabel, dolphin frolicking in the bay, and the Gulf of Mexico. And to top it all off, the sun was just starting to set. It can't get much better than that?

Ready for the 2 year old to take offTake off with a nice form from dadWay up there check out the viewNot the best of landings

Sunset over Port IsabelWe had parasailed years ago in the early days of parasailing and it was quite an adventure - the boat was a modified ski boat with a pole and 100' of line and a parachute. The boat took us out to a platform being towed by another boat, where we were strapped into a harness, and sometimes took off without being pulled face first into the platform or being drug through the lake before we were lifted into the air - and that's if we were lucky. Then they tried to land us on the platform without drowning us in the water or ramming us into the floating dock. Then it took about an hour for them to coil the line, air out the parachute, and get us back to shore with all your bumps and bruises. At that time we loved it and thought it was a real adventure. As I was explaining this to my grandson, who thinks I predated the turtles, I had to tell him our parasailing adventure was not before the dinosaurs! We also tried parasailing with a friend who bought a chute and some line and proceeded to find out that the wind was blowing the wrong way and the boat wasn't powerful enough to get us in the air after we were drug across the sand and face first into the lake.

None of that happens when you parasail with Breakaway Cruises. You walk onto a wide platform on the back of the wide stable customize boat, sit down on the rear platform as they attach the parachute, and as the boat accelerates the chute opens and you are gently lifted into the sky. The 600' of line is released by an automated winch system which also automatically pulls you gently back to the platform in a standing position. No sand, no cold water, no bumps or bruises, and no pain - how cool is that?

Getting ready to go parasailing with Breakaway CruisesGettng our harnesses readyGetting the chute readyGetting air in the chute

Now I understand why Breakaway Cruises was selected as "best of category" - they are efficient, friendly, and have a variety of fun things to do. In addition to offering single or tandem parasailing, they offer:

  • dolphin watch tours to view the dolphins playing in the bayFirst couple about to go sky high
  • eco tours where you search for dolphin as well as learn about a variety of fish, crabs, stingrays and assorted marine life brought on board from dragging a net behind the boat
  • fishing charters on South Padre Island and Port Isabel's newest and most spacious cruise and fishing charter boat
  • land and sea cruises on the Aqua Dog, a part of the cruise goes to an uninhabited beach
  • waverunner tours where you can get up close and personal with the dolphins, catch a wave along the jetty, and check all the working shrimp boats
  • snorkeling tours to view and swim with all the sea creatures in Laguna Madre Bay
  • sunset, dinner, fireworks, and special private party cruises

Make sure you don't leave the island without calling Breakaway Cruises (956-761-2212) and signing up for one of their fun adventures.

Return to our South Padre Vacation Article.