“ Manufacturer: Chad Valley / Type: Water Toy „
This seems be destined to be the least used toy of the summer - after all summer is nearly past and we've only had a couple of days where this could in fact be used. This toy was bought over 2 months ago and has sat languishing in it's box awaiting a sunny day to try it out, so when the sun broke through the clouds today - we were out like a shot.
WHAT'S IN THE BOX:
A double water slide with inflatable bumper at the end.
Surf rider - theoretically two - our box was short one, but this is being replaced by Argos.
There isn't much to this, you inflate the bumper, rafts and flag. These aren't very large and the children were able to blow these up themselves. There is no attachment to fit a hose, you simply slide your garden hose up the middle section and use a piece of string to tie the hose in place. The instructions are fairly lengthy, but the majority of the booklet is foreign language. The English section is short, somewhat poorly written and consists mainly of safety warnings. This isn't a major issue, you shouldn't need instructions to figure this out as it is very straightforward.
There is however one issue, and it is a fairly major one. You can't use an ordinary garden hose with any attachments with this as it won't fit into the slot. My husband wasn't at all happy with the idea of cutting off the fittings at the end of our hose to jam it into the opening and ended up buying another seperate hose just for this. I do see this as amajor design flaw. I feel that this slide really should have had an attachment for the hose, and barring that, the opening should have been large enough to accomodate an average garden hose.
Before setting this up - you do have to carefully search the garden for stones or bits of glass. We usually have more than our fair share of both and my husband spent quite some time making sure the area was clear. Obviously anything sharp can not only damage the slide but can also cause serious injury.
We did have an extra raft from another set, and I can't deny that my sons had a wonderful time with this slide. They really liked the fact that they could both slide at once instead of taking turns and really enjoyed racing each other. The inflatable flag is really meant to be left at the end but we took it out and used it as a starters flag, and they enjoyed race after race.
The overall design of this is very good. It has less inflatable parts than most, which simply means there is less to puncture. This is great fun outdoors and keeps the children happy and active. It does work quite well and the children really did have a wonderful afternoon.
The bumper was leaking from the beginning, and had to be re inflated several times. A missing part could happen to anyone, but it does mean an extra trip out for the rest of the set. Unfortunately, the surf rider that came with this was broken before the day was out as well, it developed a small leak. I will of course just be boxing this up and swapping for another set, but it does worry me that we had so many problems. Another issue, which will certainly be the same with any set is that the hose falls out constantly. The whole idea of just shoving it into a flap and tying it down just doesn't work. You can expect to be kneeling in the muck every 10 minutes or so replacing the hose, or you can just give up as we did and let the children take turns spraying the slide down while the other races or leave it running directly on the slide.
Another issue with this is that it does wreak havoc with your lawn in a very short period of time. When we lifted this up we found that quite a lot of grass had been pulled up, leaving large mucky holes in the garden. We did end up leaving this out overnight, but it certainly wasn't out in the garden long enough to damage the grass just from lack of sunlight. It was just the running and sliding motion, coupled with all the water managed to word as grass removal system. I can live this, it will grow back, but it is obvious that if we used this very often we would have a complete muck pit in the front. If a beautiful green lawn is your pride and joy, I would suggest you choose another garden toy.
I paid £11.99 for this on special - the full price is £18.99. Considering the price of a day out, I suppose it isn't too bad for even one really wonderful summer day - and we don't get many of them. If the next set lasts longer, I could see myself being very happy with this toy. I do feel that we just got unlucky with missing parts and a faulty bumper, but I don't really feel that this toy is made to last. I am also disappointed that we had to buy an extra hose, bringing my total for this toy up to roughly £20, and I feel the lack of an attachment part for the hose is a serious flaw. Still it is wonderful while it lasts and if you can get a few good days out of it, it is less expensive than a day out and so much fun. Despite every issue with this, my children were all smiles and had a wonderful time before the clouds came out and they came in, cold and tired I can not rate a product they have enjoyed so much too harshly so I am giving this three stars, but a rather wishy washy three stars. I can't recommend this unreservedly, but if you are willing to put up with the hose attachment, and don't expect this to last for years, you might well be happy with it.