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All you need to know about the different kinds of Watersports Ropes

All you need to know about the different kinds of Watersports Ropes

A rope is not just a rope. And it's common for people to not understand that. There are waterski ropes, wakeboard ropes, surf ropes, tube ropes, and more. Let's dive into it and I'll explain all that you need to know so that you'll be more informed out on the water next summer. 

A rope is not just a rope. And it's common for people to not understand that. There are waterski ropes, wakeboard ropes, surf ropes, tube ropes, and more. Let's dive into it and I'll explain all that you need to know so that you'll be more informed out on the water next summer. 

Waterski Ropes:

A waterski rope is typically 75 feet to start. There are often different colored sections in the rope that you can shorten or length to your personal preference. This will bring a beginner skier to an optimal part in the wake. I usually take off the first 15 foot section that's closest to the boat and just pull people at a 60 foot line. This helps minimize some slack build up on new skiers. And it often brings them to a better part in the wake. Different boats create different wakes. A large wakeboard boat might put out a huge wake that someone has to cross at 60'. Therefore 75 is better. But general rule of thumb is water skiers are pulled at an average length of 60' or as we like to call it, 15' off. 

Waterski ropes are meant to tow a single skier. They have a lot of stretch to them. Stretch and give is extremely important when your slalom skiing because it will help protect your shoulders. When you cross the wake on a slalom ski when the boat is going 34 mph, you yourself are actually traveling much faster. You may be moving 45mph. If you hook a turn and you get slack in the rope, if you didn't have any stretch, you'd get pulled over the top nearly every time. 

Wakeboard Ropes

Wakeboard ropes are also 75' to start. There are often a few different sections in them that you can remove to get you at a better point in the wake to hit for tricks. Try shortening your room and testing it. It might make wake to wake jumps easier! 

The biggest difference between a high end wakeboard rope and a high end ski rope relates to stretch. Wakeboard ropes are traditionally a static line, meaning they don't stretch at all. You can identify them right away because they will be super thin and covered in a rubber coating. That coating just helps keep the rope from stretching. If you can grab the rope (hands a few inches apart) and push it together, you shouldn't see it bunch. If it does, it's either a less expensive wakeboard rope or it's a ski rope. 

The next thing that differs about wakeboard ropes is their handle. It's often longer than a ski rope. This allows you to generate more power and speed into the wake because you have a better angle of pull against the boat. (just take my word, it's physics) Having a wider handle will help you when you're performing spins or rolls because there is more of a handle for you to grab. 

Surf Ropes

Surf ropes are the easiest to identify. They are the shortest: 20-25'. They also have the smallest handle, or no handle at all. And they are the thickest rope. The handle is just to help you get up on plane and out of the water. Once you have your balance, and you've found the sweet spot in the wave, you'll probably toss the rope to the side. Having a thicker rope lets you pull yourself in closer to the sweet spot. That's really all you need to know about them! 

Tube Ropes

We sell three different kind of tube ropes at Sun Sports+. 2k, 4k, and 6k ropes. Think of it this way; the larger the number, the thicker the rope. The thicker the rope, the more people it will pull on a tube. The "k" really just refers to the amount of tension or pressure the rope will endure. (i.e. in thousands of pounds of pressure) So a 2K rope will hold 2 thousand pounds of pressure or the equivalence of up to 2 riders on a tube. 

Rope Maintenance  

The health of your rope directly correlates to the safety of the person you're towing. Don't leave your ropes unattended out in the sun. UV rays will weaken your rope over time. A general rule of thumb is replace your ropes every 2-3 years. Also, if you're buying a new tube, just do yourself a favor and buy a new rope. Safety never takes a holiday but accidents will surely ruin one. Tube ropes range in price from $25-$35. It's worth it! I had a tube rope break on me years ago when we were kids. It came flying back into the boat and hit my little sister right in the forehead. It's scary! And I don't want that to happen to anyone else.

Don't just take it from me. Take it from the Wizard! Listen to this quick video of the wizard on rope safety. 

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