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Beginner's Guide to Buying Wakeboard Tow Ropes

Wakeboard Tow Rope Design and Characteristics

Choosing the correct Wakeboard Rope can genuinely improve your learning curve while you're getting the hang of the basics, but also dramatically improve your overall performance as you progress. Choosing the wrong one can have the complete opposite effect. Waterski ropes and handles may look the same as wakeboarding ones but the different needs of the Wakeboarder mean that the rope and handle are significantly different.

The Basics

Unlike water skiing, wakeboarding requires a wide handle and a rope with minimum stretch in order to "load the line" and perform tricks and get the maximum amount of air. Waterskiiers are generally doing everything they can to remain in contact with the water, whereas experienced wakeboarders are normally doing the complete opposite. For this reason, specific wakeboarding ropes and handles have been developed that service these needs.

Rope Material

Wakeboarding ropes are made out of two main materials, low stretch polyethylene (AKA poly) and zero stretch Spectra / Dyneema. Poly ropes provide a small amount of stretch but Spectra / Dyneem ropes do not stretch at all. In short, zero stretch ropes allow all of the power from the boat to be translated into momentum, which is highly desirable for serious boat wakeboarding.

However, not all of the characteristics of a zero stretch rope are desirable when you are a beginner. For a start, zero stretch ropes take no prisoners and a slightly stretchy poly rope will be much more forgiving when you get the dreaded wobbles or allow any slack to develop in the line. Poly ropes also take a little bit of the edge off the power running through the handle, which is very desirable during the early deep water starts and on practise landings. Zero stretch wake ropes are also expensive though and until you can truly benefit from the advantages they provide there really isn't a great deal of justification. Most intermediate to advanced wakeboarders will opt for zero stretch rope if given the choice, but even a beginner will notice the difference between a low stretch rope and a zero stretch rope.

To summarise, a really good boat wakeboarder who performs a variety of tricks with confidence (and success) can benefit from zero stretch rope. The rest of us will get on just fine with a good poly rope. Like golf clubs, spending more does not necessarily make you a better player and can often achieve the complete opposite effect!

Rope Length

The majority of Wakeboarding Tow Ropes are between 60 to 70 feet long but with sections along the first 20 feet or so of the rope to vary its length (known as take-offs). Rope length is a matter of personal preference but beginners usually prefer shorter ropes as the boat's wake is narrower and less choppy the closer to the boat you are. Experienced wakeboarders generally prefer longer ropes (up to 85' in some cases) as they can generate more momentum and therefore perform a wider variety of airborne tricks.

Wake Handles

Wakeboarding Handles are 13-15 inches wide as opposed to Waterski handles which are 11-12 inches wide. The reason for this is quite simple - a wider handles make it easier to perform tricks that require the handle to be passed behind the rider's back! In the same way that stretch in wakeboard ropes is not desirable, the same is true of flex in the handle itself. The more you spend on a wakeboard handle the less it will flex, which results in more power and a better feel. Basic handles are generally made from steel or strong nylon, mid range handles from hard machined EVA, and elite handles from zero flex lightweight materials such as extruded T6-6061 aluminium.

Jargon Buster

Feature
Description
15 inch HandleThe 15 inch handle makes this tow rope perfect for Wakeboarding or Kneeboarding
14 inch HandleThe 14 inch handle makes this tow rope perfect for Wakeboarding or Kneeboarding
13 inch HandleThe 13 inch handle makes this tow rope perfect for Wakeboarding or Kneeboarding
12 inch HandleThe 12 inch handle makes this tow rope perfect for Wakeboarding Water Skiing or Kneeboarding
11 inch HandleThe 11 inch handle is the perfect size for recreational Water Skiing
10 inch HandleThe 11 inch handle is the perfect size for recreational Water Skiing
1 Removable SectionThe single section main line is perfect for recreational use where multiple sections are not required
2 Removable SectionsThe main line comes with 2 removable sections to enable you to lengthen and shorted the main line as required
3 Removable SectionsThe main line comes with 3 removable sections to enable you to lengthen and shorted the main line as required
4 Removable SectionsThe main line comes with 4 removable sections to enable you to lengthen and shorted the main line as required
5 Removable SectionsThe main line comes with 5 removable sections to enable you to lengthen and shorted the main line as required
8 Removable SectionsThe main line comes with 8 removable sections to enable you to lengthen and shorted the main line as required
10 Removable SectionsThe main line comes with 10 removable sections to enable you to lengthen and shorted the main line as required
60ft Main LineThe main line measures a total of 60ft in length
65ft Main LineThe main line measures a total of 65ft in length
70ft Main LineThe main line measures a total of 70ft in length
75ft Main LineThe main line measures a total of 75ft in length
80ft Main LineThe main line measures a total of 80ft in length
85ft Main LineThe main line measures a total of 85ft in length
90ft Main LineThe main line measures a total of 90ft in length
Excellent QualityThis is a top end performance product that is built to a high standard and is of excellent quality
T6-6061 Aluminium BarThe handle is made from ultra strong and rigid T6-6061 aircraft grade aluminium
Natural Rubber GripThe handle is made from natural rubber which is extremely hard wearing and grippy in the hand
Tacky Handle GripThe handle is made from a tacky material which is extremely hard wearing and grippy in the hand
Double Braided RopeDouble braided rope is Poly rope wound around a nylon core for high strength with good shock absorption
Built-In Handle FloatsSoft integrated foam handle floats keep everything above the water and away from your prop
Integrated Handle FloatsSoft integrated foam floats keep everything above the water and away from your prop
Low Stretch Poly LineWound from Polyethelyne (aka Poly) which is a very forgiving monofilament fibre that is resistant to abrasion and floats well
Soft EVA GripComes with an EVA grip which is a tough elastomeric polymer that is very rubber-like in softness and flexibility
Quality Machined HandleThe machined handle is made from a solid piece of metal and has virtually no flex
Zero Stretch SpectraSpectra is an ultra-high molecular polyethylene fiber that has very high strength and zero stretch or recoil making it perfect for Wakeboarding
Zero Stretch DyneemaDyneema is an ultra-high molecular polyethylene fiber that has very high strength and zero stretch or recoil making it perfect for Wakeboarding
AWSA ApprovedApproved by the AWSA (American Water Sports Association) the sanctioning body for competition water sports in the United States and abroad
Soft Suede GripThe handle is covered in suede which is extremely hard wearing and grippy in the hand
PU Coated LineThe line is PU coated which is a full polyurethane covering that makes the line water resistant and flexible and tangle-free
PVC Dipped End CapsThe end caps are dipped in PVC to minimise roll and prevent abrasion and protect the fingers
Curved HandleThe curved handle makes life a little easier on the wrists as it offers a more ergonomic hand grip position
ARS Anti-Roll SystemThe Anti Roll System prevents the handle from rolling as the line loads up
Internal Foam FloatsInternal floats within the handle keep everything above the water and away from your prop
Ideal For IntermediatesThis product is perfect for those of an intermediate level
Ideal For Competition UseMeets all of the appropriate specifications for competition use
Ideal For Recreational UseThis product is perfect for recreation family fun use
Ideal For BeginnersThis product is perfect for beginner and for recreation family fun use
Tangle Free Main LineThe line is constructed in a handy way that prevents it from tangling when not in use
100% Carbon FibreUtilises 100% carbon fibre construction for the ultimate in stiffness and light weight
Rubberized Matt Paint FinishRubberized matt painted coating for excellent impact resistance and great looks
Rope Tidy IncludedComplete with handy velcro rope tidy to keep everything organised and safe when not in use


We hope you found this article useful but if you have a question that is not covered here or you just need some advice then please do get in touch and one of our friendly and knowledgeable staff will gladly assist you.

Advice Centre and Buyer's Guides

Choosing the right Water Sports Equipment can seem quite daunting at times, but it's actually very simple once you know a few basics. The team at here at www.actionsportsinternational.co.uk have therefore put these articles together to help you understand the differences between all of the various pieces of kit, what all the design features are for (and if you actually need them or not) and why some equipment will suit your needs and some definitely won't. At the end of the day, all we want is for you to feel confident that you are making an informed purchasing decision and are buying exactly the right gear for the job!

Advice on buying Wakeboards and Wakeboarding Equipment from www.actionsportsinternational.co.uk


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