Wakeboard ropes are different to water ski ropes. Quality wakeboard ropes have virtually no stretch. Unlike water skiers, wakeboarders rely on their ability to load up the rope to propel them off the wake and pull through tricks. With a substandard, stretchy wakeboard rope, your tricks may be stopped short. There is value in getting a wakeboard-specific rope; it will improve your performance and make wakeboarding more fun.
Wakeboard Rope Materials
Wakeboard ropes are made out of two different materials.
1) Low stretch:
Usually made of polyethylene. Poly E is a bit more forgiving and the least expensive of available wakeboard ropes. Poly E will stretch two to three percent of its length under normal riding load. The give in the rope helps absorb the shock of cutting through the boat wake as a wakeboarder crosses it which benefits beginners but is detrimental to more advanced riders.
2) No stretch:
It is as strong as a wire; no-stretch Dyneema rope also outperforms steel and other synthetic rope materials in terms of both tension-tension fatigue and bending-bending fatigue tests. Dyneema stands up to salt water and has strong UV and abrasion resistance.
Spectra is a fiber 10 times stronger than steel, remarkably, however, Spectra is ultra-lightweight. Wakeboard ropes made from Spectra will float, are ultra-durable and have zero-stretch.
Wakeboard Rope Coating
Why? The coating adhesive on some wakeboard ropes protects them against UV light, adds strength to the rope material and prevents tangling.
Wakeboard Rope Length
The length of your wakeboard rope can vary from 55 to 75+ feet depending on your experience level, boat wake and personal preference. A good wakeboarding rope length for a beginner to start with is around 65 feet.
Once you are comfortable riding, pick a length that makes you feel comfortable jumping and clearing the wake. Wakes are different shapes and widths at different distances behind the boat. If you are having trouble clearing the wake, try shortening the rope. A shorter rope places the wakeboarder at a narrower section of the wake (the narrowest part of the wake being closest to the boat).
As your skill level and experience increase, you can gradually increase the length of your rope. With a longer rope you can generate more speed into the wake and catch more air as you pop off the wake. The longer your rope, the longer distance and more time you spend in the air.
Handle features have evolved to accommodate the demands of every wakeboarder. There are different materials, shapes and sizes designed specifically for your comfort and performance.
Weight and Materials
Handles are made from EVA, Aluminum and even carbon fibre. As handles get lighter and stronger the prices go up accordingly. There are different kinds of handle grips. You will find everything from rubber to chamois. Handle material is often stamped with a texture to increase the grip.
Handle Length and Features
Wakeboarding handles are 13-15 inches wide (that’s wider than the 11-12 inch water ski handles). Wider handles make it easier to perform tricks that require you to pass the handle behind the back.
Consider the diameter of the handle as well. Women and kids have smaller hands than men so consider a handle with a small diameter which they can grip more easily.
V handle, T handle
V and T handles are attached to your main handle. They allow you to pre wrap the handle behind your back and avoid passing the handle during a trick.