New River Rules in New Braunfels Are Puttin' the Big Hurt on Tube Rentals on the Comal

ComalRiver.jpg
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Pristine beauty of the Comal River (with a gazillion beer cans on the bottom).

Twice in my life I thought I was going to die. Both times were on the Comal River in New Braunfels at the exact same place about 20 years apart. For those of you who haven't been, along the river is what appears to be a completely docile 3-foot waterfall that looks like part of a ride at Hurricane Harbor.

Flip over that thing backwards in a tube and you'll get sucked down to bottom of the river where you'll ask yourself, "What the hell am I doing at the bottom of a river? And where did the air go?"

The craziest thing about all that is the water is only about waist deep. Regardless, people loose their footing and come up breathless and crying (yes, myself included). My friends laughed at me. Bitches.

Regardless, the Comal River is beautiful and a great weekend road trip for many North Texans. Little trivia: It's the shortest river in the state at just 2.5 miles and it's purely spring fed. Bright green trees tower over the lazy river, where sunshine peeks through the leaves and sparkles on the cold water. It offers rare bucolic peace in the blazing hot Texas summer. Cold beer in hand, toes dangling a few inches above the water, there's good reason the tradition sticks for so many.

But, the past couple of years, the drought has driven many floaters out of the nearby party-centric Guadalupe River and over to the calmer Comal. (The Comal is less vulnerable to drought.) The last time I floated the Comal, two summers ago, by late afternoon it was like Interstate 35 through downtown on a Friday afternoon. Bumper to bumper. It sucked. I asked a guy if it was always like this. He said he lived there and floated the river all his life and had never seen it so crowded.

Well, all those floaters have dirtied up the river. Raise your hand if you've lost something in the river. See. Everyone. So, recently the New Braunfels City Council voted on some new river rules. Since most floaters hop on the Guadalupe outside the city limits, the rules mostly affect only the Comal.

The new rules ban all disposable containers. Also, coolers must be 16 quarts or smaller. The ban also includes paper towels, disposable utensils and those small plastic cups used for Jello shots (5 ounces or smaller).

I spoke with Maddy at Texas Tubes on the Comal recently and she said that business is significantly slower, "Over Memorial Day weekend, it took us three days to make what we use to in one."

She also cautioned that cops are diligently enforcing the rules, although most tubers are respectful of the bans.

I get the environmental precautions and respect the council protecting the river. Our alcoholic tendencies shouldn't be the detriment of the beautiful river.

But where there's a will, there's a way. Since a float down the Comal is only about two hours, just get creative with your non-disposable drink holder. Float once, catch a ride on the party bus back, reload and float again. Viola!

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19 comments
powersports
powersports

http://www.comaltubes.com has seen a 300% increase in visitors to their river tube rental facility!

This may be that they actively target families, so the ban didn't affect them at all.


CheeryBitch
CheeryBitch

Vodka-soaked orange slices count as food.

Kergo 1 Spaceship
Kergo 1 Spaceship

"Colorado Rocky Mountain High, I've seen it rain and fire in the sky".....maybe the greatest song ever. If you kick the vocal down a couple of octaves, and play it on the electric, said song transforms itself into the perfect punk folk song, ala/The Long Ryders.  A great state deserves a great song!  Heck, I'm high just thinking of "them" frosty, ragged peaks.   A great Colorado trip void of yuppies, posers and *ssholes: -take 287 north (the JBS National Highway) to the Oklahoma/Texas/New Mexico/Colorado state lines. -take a left and proceed to Sugarite Canyon. -proceed west to Raton, and pass over (he he) Uncle Dick W's Raton Pass. -take a left at Trinidad, Co.. ......enjoy the Spanish Peaks and Cuchara. -take 160 west to the Great Sand Dunes. -proceed on 160 West through Alamosa. -Now, either go West to Platuro, or South on 285 to Santa Fe.....and the journey ONLY BEGINS when you get to Alamosa, and you are four days deep. 

Kergo 1 Spaceship
Kergo 1 Spaceship

You thought you were going to die in The Comal?  Was someone shooting at you from the banks of said river?  My three year old has been over those falls, like 50 times!  Are you a yankee?  Heck, I've even been over "them" falls with my wife's Nana.  And she was like 93!!!  I call bit, The LDD.  In a related note, I once went down "the chute" headfirst without a floating device, and nearly met my dear, sweet maker.   ps-I have seen some GIANT water snakes at the put in at River Run Condo's; massive, just watch the bum!  These rivers have too many drunken a-holes.

Mike
Mike

On the Guadalupe, the river rules only apply to a short section - from Gruene Bridge down to Mill Dam.

Terrence
Terrence

This relates to food how? You were eating a biscuit at the time you almost drowned?

Josh's broken records
Josh's broken records

No offense L double D, but the Comal much like Space.. Is SG. That being said, where does the Guadalupe turn into water Nazi town? If it's still cool for beera down to the takeout at Gruene, then no sweat..Cept for the agua running 100 cfm right now, I ain't never floating again unless it's running 500 or so)...haven't been down there in about 5 years (damn babies) but we used to have a big time off of River rd down to Gruene. (I almost drowned a couple of times on the Comal too, but I was effing 9 or 10)

ObserverFan
ObserverFan

I went tubing in Colorado almost met my demise in a similar manner. I chose to get out of the river at the exact point of a black hole watery vortex of death. Someone had to literally pull me out and I almost lost my top in the process.

foodbitch
foodbitch

I, too, almost kicked it that exact same way. On my birthday, a few years ago. I scraped one leg up real good. Lost my sunglasses. The locals/dislodged article thieves on the banks laughed me as I screamed "I AM NOT OKAY!" Not my best moment.

Deb
Deb

Just as an FYI, and something I am considering for an August trip. A mini-keg (or a big one, I suppose) is indeed, a non-disposable container.

Kergo 1 Spaceship
Kergo 1 Spaceship

No, The LDD was making pasta when she went over the falls. 

kingbrad2534
kingbrad2534

We went last weekend, floated from the first crossing (Camp Huaco Springs) to Greune. That section is free of the can ban bullshit. Took about 6 hours in a raft, they told us when renting that a tube would take close to 10. Water was fast but low, had to pull the raft on most of the rapids. Still, wouldn't trade it for anything.  Lots of "No Can Ban Here" signs along River Rd.

Kergo 1 Spaceship
Kergo 1 Spaceship

Tubing in Colorado, and going down the Guad/Comal are two completely different animals....completely; it'd be like saying Red Barron's and Cane Rosso are the same.  Sure, they both look the same, I suppose, if you have vision problems (or you just smoked out).  "Vortex of Death".......really?  Maybe ya'll should just stick to food stories. 

Josh's broken records
Josh's broken records

Good to hear that part of river has been de-beered..and that's the only part of the river I partook in the last twenty five years.  Keep giving it hell Brad!

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