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Watersports Tow Ropes


The standard length of a recreational waterski rope is usually about 21.3m, including a 1.5m handle. For general water skiing, the rope & handle needs to have some stretch. This is important as it makes the pull of the boat more forgiving at high speeds and reduces the shock to your arms from any slack in the rope. For general water skiing, the rope and handle should have some stretch.

Image link to Airhead 1 Section Eva Grip Ski Rope
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The type of handle you use for water skiing depends on your ability & skiing style. A handle with a long vee section makes deep water starts easier for beginner slalom skiers by keeping the ski steady as the boat pulls away. A short vee handle is better for experienced skiers as it has less roll & gives you a more consistent pull from the boat. The grip on a waterski handle should also suit the type of skiing you intend to do. A soft EVA foam grip is very comfortable & great if you don’t have gloves, but a tackier brushed grip handle gives you far better grip & is a lot more durable.

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Tournament ropes are made to start at 18.25m -which is the starting length for running a slalom course & have sections precisely set to competition standards. These are pre-stretched for consistency in competition & at a shorter length with less stretch, should only be used by experienced waterskiers.

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High end tournament slalom handles offer customisation in handle width & bar diameter. If you’re a competition skier, this means you can personalise the handle to the size of your hands. Tournament slalom handles are available in either 13” or 12” inch widths & range from 0.94” to 1.183” in diameter. Bar diameter is mostly personal preference, but a thinner bar sits in the fingers better if you grip with an open hand & a wider bar diameter supports a closed hand grip style.


You don’t need the forgiving stretch of a waterski rope as much for wakeboarding because it’s done at slower speeds. Wakeboard ropes generally have low or no stretch, providing a more consistent pull from the boat. This helps with your edge control on wake approach & delivers more lift & pop off the wake. Most wakeboard ropes are 22-24m long & come with sections so you can shorten or lengthen the rope to suit individual riders & wakes of the boat. This also means you can bring beginners closer to the boat for a flatter, narrower wake, or give advanced riders a bit more length so they can hit the sweet spot.

There are three materials that wakeboard ropes are made from:

LOW STRETCH POLY-E rope makes wakeboarding easier on your body & is more forgiving for beginners. It’s a cheaper option than non-stretch wakeboard rope so it’s a great budget option to have on the boat for everyone to use.

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Connelly Proline Reflex Wakeboard rope handle Package

NON-STRETCH DYNEEMA OR SPECTRA line is best if you want to get the most out of your boat wakes. Spectra & Dyneema lines are made from the same material as Poly-E ropes but have been woven into a much thinner, stiffer rope. Dyneema line is thicker than Spectra & a little less prone to tangling. Spectra is a lighter weight wakeboard rope than Dyneema but is thinner, so we recommend coated Spectra to prevent tangling.

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masterline method wake package for sale Watersports Warehouse, Cape Town
masterline defence wake line for sale Watersports Warehouse, Cape Town

With a wider bar & comfier grip, wakeboard handles make life better for the rider. For surface spins & spin tricks in the air a bigger bar makes your handle passes that much easier. Wakeboard handles are available in a wide range of bar shapes & grip materials to suit each individual rider. A basic handle is round with an EVA foam grip like a waterski handle. Others prefer an elliptical or hexagonal grip. And for added comfort, consider a handle with a suede or neoprene finish.


Getting up close behind the boat is the aim of wakesurfing so you don’t need a crazy long rope. Wakesurf ropes are only about 8m long & have way more stretch than your wakeboard or waterski ropes. This is so that the rope will stretch underload & then release to spring you into the sweet spot on the wave. Some wakesurfing ropes even come with a bungee section to give you some extra speed into the wave. Wakesurfing ropes often have a series of knots along them, allowing you to pull yourself into the correct position before throwing the rope back to the boat and surfing the wake rope free.

O'Brien pro surf rope

As the idea is to get rid of the rope entirely & starts are easy, wakesurfers don’t necessarily require you to have a handle. Wakesurf rope and handle packages will usually feature just a small handle or knot in the end. For first timers it’s better to have a handle but watch your head when they throw it back into the boat!


It’s not a good idea to use your long wakeboard or waterski for an inflatable tube. Tube ropes are shorter, usually around 18m, compared to other watersports ropes, which reduces the risk of riders being whipped out dangerously. Tube ropes also have more stretch than other types of watersports ropes, which helps prevent damage to the tube or injuries to passengers when slack is picked up in the line.. This is so you won’t damage your tube or injure passengers when it picks up slack in the line. Tube ropes are shorter, Thicker tube ropes are required for larger tubes, and all our tube ropes indicate the maximum number of people that can be towed safely.

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O'Brien 4 person inflatable tube rope for sale Watersports Warehouse, Cape Town
O'Brien floating tow rope

Like all watersports ropes, tube ropes have a loop at each end that can easily be attached to the quick connect on your tube and the tow point on your boat. If you’re towing from a jetski, quick connect bridles can be used on the back of the ski so you don’t have to loop the rope through itself every time you want to tube. Shock Tube Ropes are also a great idea to protect your boat and tube from damage.

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I hope this article was of use, and if you are unsure about anything, please give us a call or drop us an email and we’ll assist you. Also, remember to follow us on Instagram for regular updates.

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