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Choosing the right watersports rope and handle.

S-Lines Waterski Ropes for sale, Watersports Warehouse, Cape Town

Gone are the days of using one rope and handle for all activities. Just like finding the right oil for your car, it’s essential to choose the right rope and handle combo for the specific watersport activity you’re doing. Whether you’re waterskiing, tubing, or wakeboarding, the right gear can enhance your performance and ensure safety. Read on to discover the perfect rope and handle setup for your needs on the water.

Before You Tow: Ensure a Solid Tow Point

Before we jump into the specifics of ropes and handles, it’s crucial to have a solid tow point for your watersports activities. Ski and wake boats typically come equipped with built-in poles or towers designed for towing. If your boat lacks a ski pole or tower, make sure the tow point you’re using can handle the strain of towing.

For boats with outboard motors, you’ll generally need a bridle—a section of rope with loops at each end that runs a pulley with a quick connect attachment around your outboard. Bridles without pulleys are available for jetskis, offering quick and easy attachment without the need for D-shackles.

airhead self centering tow harness for sale. Watersports Warehouse, Cape Town

Recreational Waterski Ropes & Handles

For recreational waterskiing, the standard rope length is 70 feet (21.3m) with a handle length of 5 feet (1.5m). These ropes need to have some stretch to make the pull of the boat more forgiving at high speeds, reducing the shock to your arms from slack in the rope. Standard waterski ropes are available in 8 or 10 section styles, allowing you to customize the length for different skiers.

Handle Choices:

  • Long Vee Handles: Ideal for beginner slalom skiers, making deep water starts easier by holding the ski steady as the boat pulls away.
Masterline Sport EVA Long v Rope and handle waterski package for sale, Watersports Warehouse, Cape Town
  • Short Vee Handles: Better for experienced skiers, offering less roll and a more consistent pull from the boat.
masterline monster handle for sale Watersports Warehouse, Cape Town
  • Grip: A soft EVA foam or suede grip is comfortable and great if you don’t use gloves, while a tackier brushed grip handle offers better grip and durability.
Masterline Suede sv Rope and handle waterski package for sale, Watersports Warehouse, Cape Town
Masterline Performance 8 Section Rope and Handle for sale, Watersports Warehouse, Cape Town

Tournament Waterski Ropes & Handles

Tournament ropes are shorter, at 60 feet (18.25m), the starting length for running a slalom course. These ropes are pre-stretched for consistency in competition and should only be used by experienced water skiers.

S-Lines R3 Series Slalom line/Waterski Ropes for sale, Watersports Warehouse, Cape Town
S-Lines Competition Slalom Waterski Handle for sale, Watersports Warehouse, Cape Town

Handle Customization:

  • Widths: 13-inch or 12-inch handles.
  • Bar Diameter: Ranges from 0.888″ to 1.183″. Thicker handles are better for open hand grips, while thinner bars support a closed hand grip style better.
  • 3-Event Skiers: Jump and trick rope and handle packages are also available and are specific to each of those events.

Wakeboard Ropes & Handles

Wakeboarding requires ropes with low or no stretch to provide a consistent pull from the boat, essential for edge control and delivering lift and pop off the wake. Most wakeboard ropes are 75-85 feet long (22.8m – 25.9m) with sections to adjust the length for different riders and boat wakes.

Follow the basic rope and handle wake package for sale, Watersports Warehouse, Cape Town
masterline defence wake line for sale Watersports Warehouse, Cape Town

Materials:

  • Low Stretch Poly-E Rope: Easier on the body and more forgiving for beginners.
  • Non-Stretch Dyneema or Spectra Line: Ideal for maximizing boat wake performance. Dyneema is thicker and less prone to tangling, while Spectra is lighter but should be coated to prevent tangling.

Handle Features:

  • 15-Inch Bars: Easier for surface spins and tricks.
  • Grip Materials: Options include EVA foam, suede, neoprene, and various bar shapes to suit individual preferences.
  • T-Bar Sections: Help with spin tricks.

Wakesurf Ropes & Handles

Wakesurfing ropes are shorter, around 25 feet (7.62m), with more stretch to help spring you into the sweet spot on the wave. Some ropes feature a bungee section for additional speed into the wave and knots along the length to pull yourself into position.

Follow wake surf rope and handle package for sale, Watersports Warehouse, Cape Town
O'Brien Team surf rope for sale. Watersports Warehouse, Cape Town

Handle Considerations:

  • Typically feature small handles or knots since the goal is to discard the rope once you’re riding the wave.
  • Beginners may benefit from a handle but should be cautious when throwing it back into the boat.

Barefoot Ropes & Handles

Barefoot waterskiing requires non-stretch lines similar to wakeboarding for consistent speed and pull from the boat. These ropes are typically 80-85 feet long, made from Dyneema or Spectra.

Handle Features:

  • 15-Inch Width: Similar to wakeboard handles with a super grippy brushed finish.
  • Toe Loops and Stiff Tubing: Available for advanced barefoot tricks.
Masterline Barefoot front toe Handle for sale, Watersports Warehouse, Cape Town
Masterline Barefoot backward toe Handle for sale, Watersports Warehouse, Cape Town

Kneeboard Ropes & Handles

Kneeboard ropes are usually the same as waterskiing or basic wakeboarding ropes made from stretchy Poly-E rope but advanced kneeboarders might prefer a Dyneema or Spectra line to assist with tricks and spins. These ropes generally have sections to adjust the length for beginners.

masterline elite wake rope/handle package for sale Watersports Warehouse, Cape Town

Handle Features:

  • 15-Inch Width: Facilitates spins.
  • Grip: A soft EVA foam grip is comfortable and great if you don’t use gloves, while a tackier brushed grip handle offers better grip and durability.

Tube Ropes

Tube ropes are usually shorter, at around 60 feet, to reduce the risk of dangerous whips. They have more stretch than other watersports ropes to prevent damage to the tube and passengers when slack is taken up. The ropes thickness varies depending on the size and rider capacity of the tubes.

Airhead 6 person bling tow rope for sale. Watersports Warehouse, Cape Town
Airhead 2 Person Tube Tow Rope - ahtr-22

Connection Options:

  • Quick connects can be used for jetskis, simplifying attachment and detachment.
Image link to Airhead quick connect
  • Tow Bridles: These are recommended and used if you don’t have a tow pylon on your boat.
O’BRIEN PONTOON BRIDLE ROPE

Choosing the right rope and handle combo for your watersport can significantly enhance your experience and safety. Make sure to select the appropriate setup for your activity, and enjoy your time on the water with confidence!

If you get stuck or are still unsure on whats best for you, give us a call, drop us an email or stop by the shop and we’ll happily assist you in finding the correct rope and handle setup. Also remember to give us a follow on Instagram and Facebook for regular updates.

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