Shopping For Tow Ropes and Handles
We sell every type of watersports ropes to suit all needs and budgets including Wake Ropes, Ski Wopes, Wakesurf Ropes, Kneeboard Ropes, Towable Tube Ropes, Spectra Dyneema, Tow Bridles, Tournament Ski Lines, and Tow Ropes Accessories.
Water Ski Ropes
Waterski ropes are usually 60-75 feet long and are made of a slightly stretchy polyethylene (Poly-e) rope that is designed to be forgiving and cushion a certain amount of the load on the arms as the skier loads the line. Competition / Tournament ski ropes are split into sections (between 5 and 10) which enable the rope to be shortenned in pre-determined lengths during slalom competitions, thus increasing the skill required to complete the slalom course. Waterski handles are generally 12 inches wide. Easy-Up water ski handles are available and are aimed specifically at beginners. These are like normal ski ropes but they have the addition of a large "V" section that you put the tips of the skis in to keep everything nice and stable during deep water starts. Recreational / family skiiers can still ski with a larger 15" wakeboarding rope but these lack many of the characteristics required to progress to intermediate standard in skiing.
Wakeboarding requires a rope with minimal stretch and a wide handle in order to perform tricks and get air. Wake Handles are generally 15 inches wide as opposed to Waterski handles which are typically 12 inches wide. This is because the wider handle makes it easier to perform rotational tricks that require the handle to be passed behind the rider's back. Wakeboarding Ropes are generally made out of two different materials, polyethylene (Poly-e) and zero stretch Spectra / Dyneema. Most experienced wakeboarders prefer (and get the benefit from) zero stretch wake ropes but recreational / family wakeboarders are unlikely to see much benefit, especially when the high cost of Spectra Wake Ropes is taken into account. The majority of Wakeboarding Tow Ropes are between 60 and 70 feet long with 5 foot long sections along the first 20 feet or so. Rope length when wakeboarding is actually a matter of personal preference but the profile of the wake produced by the tow boat also plays a part in deciding how much line length is required in order to be in the sweet spot of the wake. Recreational / family boarders can still wakeboard with a smaller 12" ski rope but these lack many of the characteristics required to progress to intermediate standard in wakeboarding.
Towable Inflatable Ropes
Towable Tube Ropes are typically 60 feet long and are designed to deal with very specific loads depending on the size of the tube being towed (in short the larger and heavier the tube, the stronger the rope needs to be). The characteristics and tensile strength of a Tubing Tow Rope are very specific and definitely not the same as the type of rope you can buy in DIY stores. The most important factor when buying a Towable Tube Rope is deciding on its rider capacity rating (and therefore its "break strength"). Choosing a rope with too low a rider capacity could cause it to suddenly fail when under heavy load, which does not sound like the end of the world but a loaded line can recoil back into the boat at high speed which is not desirable. If in doubt buy the next size up i.e. if you have a 3-man tube then buy a 4-man rope not a 2-man.
Wake Surfing Ropes
Wakesurfing ropes are usually only about 20 feet long and either have a small handle or knots for the rider to grip onto. The purpose of a Wakesurf rope is simply to get the rider up and surfing, at which point gravity takes over and the rope is then thrown back into the boat. Slightly off topic but a word of warning. If you are considering getting into wakesurfing and you have a boat with an outdrive (i.e. the gearbox and prop are fully visible at the rear of the boat and form part of the steering system) then please think twice. Wakesurfing involves getting extremely close to the back of the boat and if you fall forward then it is all too easy to come into contact with the drive system. Wakesurfing should only be enjoyed behind a boat with a fixed shaft prop and a rudder where everything is tucked safely under the boat and out of harm's way.
You can use more or less any wake or ski rope to go kneeboarding, but purpose made kneeboarding tow ropes are available and these work especially well with the Hydro Hook when you are learning. The Hydro Hook (a.k.a. Aquatic Hook) is a simple plastic flip-up hook (or plastic block) attached to the nose of many recreational kneeboards to enable the tow handle to be attached to it and take all the load during deep water starts. The handle is simply placed behind the hook, which then takes all of the pressure off the rider's arms when the tow vehicle powers up. Once up to speed and composed, the rider can then pull the handle toward them, which detatches it and gives them full control. As you progress, you might want to consider using a decent 15" wake handle for your kneeboarding as this makes it easier to perform rotational tricks where the rope is passed behind your back.
If your boat has an outboard motor and twin D-Rings then in order to tow anything (wakeboarder, skiier, towable tube etc) you will need a Tow Bridle / Towing Harness. Tow Bridles simply connect to the two D-Ring tow points on the stern of your boat via strong caribiners and form a "V" shape from which the tow rope is then attached. Most tow harnesses have an integral float to prevent them from sinking and coming in contact with the boat's prop. For general wake/ski use a basic ski harness will suffice but for larger towables a heavy duty bridle will be required.