Angel wings float: an epic, overwrought product review

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Photos by my lakefriend, SarahRose Bernhardt.

A decade ago, I was ushered into Amazon Vine, an invite-only review program with an oddly cloak ‘n’ dagger level of secrecy. I’m still not totally sure how I got the invite, but it probably has something to do with the fact that I’ve been reviewing shit on Amazon since 2001 (nerd alert: this was my first review). As part of the program, I get weird shit to review. I don’t have to review it positively, but I do have to review it… whether it’s a Barbie Dream Jeep with an MP3 jack (wtf?) or a shitty sleep mask.

Most recently, I got this thing: FUNBOY Giant Inflatable Pool Float Angel Wings. Over Memorial Day weekend, I took it out to a friend’s place on Lake Washington and did some very thorough testing of the product. Extremely thorough, in-depth, hands-on research. Way more than is necessary for a supposedly cool pool float, but whatever: never let it be said that I ever did anything half way. TRY-HARD FOR LIFE! Here are my thoughts:

Meet the FUNBOY

First, can we talk about the branding here? FUNBOY?! WTF is with this ALL CAPS, double entendre brand name? Is this a pool floaty or a marital aid? When I told my lakefriend that I’d be bringing a FUNBOY floaty out to her place, I got immediate side eye and the jokes started writing themselves.

“Bring your FUNBOY,” she told me. “I can’t wait to meet the FUNBOY.” It’s like the cabana boy of yesteryear, but now in pool floaty form for the 40something cougars.

I arrived at the barbecue with my FUNBOY in tow, still in its blue box with the handle. I did my unboxing on the dock for an appreciative audience of a two-year-old and his parents. There was much discussion of the name.

You need to know this thing is massive. I didn’t take measurements, but laid out flat on the dock, the angel wings float probably has a seven-foot wingspan and is maybe four feet tall.

Inflation was easy once I actually read the instructions and got the dual-valve inflation holes set up correctly. Being a Seattleite who only sees the sun 12 weeks a year, I don’t know shit about pool floaties, but you have to put the black dual valve thingers into the holes first, then stick your inflation pump thinger into the holes. There are three holes, and once I had my valve things figured out, it only took me about five minutes to pump up the FUNBOY.

(…that’s what she said!)

The maiden voyage of the FUNBOY

Apparently rainbow unicorn floaties are like sooooo 2017. The idea here is clearly to impress your friends on Instagram. Fie on you, rainbow unicorn floaty! In this era of 10-week trend cycles, FUNBOY clearly wants angel wings to be the new hotness.

I slid onto the FUNBOY (…this copy writes itself, people!) and pushed out into the cool waters of Lake Washington. I had a drink in hand, although I’m such a lightweight these days that “drinking” for me means a huge tumbler of La Croix with a splash of 7up and a half-shot of vodka. (WOO! I am a micro-dosing party animal!)

This leads me to my first concern about the FUNBOY: where is the cup holder? This thing costs $128, and for that price I feel like it should really have a place to put one’s dang La Croix / 7up / barely cocktail, but it does not.

But whatever: I can just hold my drink.

I floated around for a while by myself, and found the FUNBOY to be deeply satisfying. The FUNBOY’s massive size (wink wink ow my eye) keeps you mostly out of the water, and really just your feet dangle. I liked the way the wings cradle you into the middle — is it weird to say that a pool float feels cozy? It was sort of like a Thundershirt, but for a woman floating in a lake.

After a couple minutes, I told my lakefriend that she should get in with me.

“But the water’s cold!” she shouted from the dock.

“Don’t be such a pussy,” I shouted back, and then as I paddled my way closer so she could board the FUNBOY with me, I clarified, “Actually, DO be such a pussy: strong, flexible, and resilient! Be a pussy and be life-giving and miraculous.”

My friend hopped on and lo: we learned that the FUNBOY can easily accommodate two women at a time.

After some solid three-way action with the FUNBOY, my friend hopped off and I wrestled the floaty out of the water. This leads me to my second concern about this thing: where is the handle? Again, the price point here is $128… it feels like a handle isn’t too much to ask. The FUNBOY is huge and unwieldy and hard to get a grip on (ha ha ha?), and I ultimately found it easiest to carry over my head with two hands, but it seems like a major oversight not to have a handle. I mean, the box it comes in has a handle… but the product itself has to be muscled out of the water? It just doesn’t seem right. Don’t make the Instagram models sweat, FUNBOY!

But tell us, Ariel: what was your emotional experience with the FUNBOY?

As the barbecue was winding down, I decided to take the FUNBOY out again for a solo sunset cruise.

I was maybe 10% buzzed, and maybe 15% stoned (reminder: it’s legal in Washington), which is to say I was very gently one-fourth inebriated, drifting on a free floaty thing that was sent to me in the mail.

The rare Seattle sun was orange and low in the sky, peeking over the skyline of Seattle in the distance. I leaned back on my FUNBOY, took a deep breath, and spread out my arms, and basically just bobbed along on wave after wave of gratitude.

I laughed out loud! Just a lady on a free floaty thing, LOLing to herself and feeling super grateful.

I thought to myself, Thank you to all the events that have transpired to get me to this place of thankful joy, floating in a lake on a pair of free angel wings.

Cuz holy shit the past few years have felt hard for me, and I will take and fully fly in these little free floaty thing moments of sweetness, and be as fully present in them as I was in all the dark awful moments that came prior.

Then I did a move that one of my dance teachers calls “The Crowd Pleaser” and laughed some more.


Ok, so here’s the tl;dr about the FUNBOY Giant Inflatable Pool Float Angel Wings:

  • This thing is expensive
  • It’s huge and kind of awesome
  • It can comfortably hold two people
  • For this price, I really think it should have a cup holder, handle, and possibly a solar USB charger
  • I cannot guarantee that you will have moments of gratitude while floating on it, but I did

Comments on Angel wings float: an epic, overwrought product review

  1. If I had a somewhere to swim like a lake nearby (not the local pool) I would buy the fuck out of this and fulfill my destiny of relaxing as a drunk angel hahaha life goals!

  2. I ended up reading a bunch of your amazon reviews last night, because that’s how I spend my spare time, and I couldn’t help but wonder how you handle the stuff and what you do with it. Does it all stay? Do you pass along the crap or the close-but-not-right items? It seems like a super cool and kind of weird thing to do, with some pros and cons to it. Any chance of a post on that?

    • Oh, you went fully down the rabbit hole — ha! There’s a lot of hilarious stuff in there… some intentionally hilarious, some unintentionally hilarious. Did you find this review of a product called dr. brand needles no more wrinkle smoothing cream? Barf.

      The Vine program has strict rules about what you’re allowed to do with the stuff you get (you can’t sell it, and you’re not even supposed to donate it) and I will say only that I sometimes enlist the help of friends & family in testing out products. It’s also worth noting that I have to pay taxes on the assessed value of the products… so it’s not actually free.

      It’s definitely a weird program. Looking around my home, sometimes it feels like half the stuff in any given room is a random freebie that I never would have bought for myself, but end up loving… like my weird fake fireplace, my overkill blender, and my favorite tshirt.

  3. A post script: I submitted this post as a review to Amazon, and it got bounced back with a strong warning about not adhering to community standards… I think the pussy part was too much? HA!!

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