As with many things when it comes to this popular watersport, choosing a tow rope for wakeboarding largely comes down to your personal preference as the rider. That said, there’s no denying the importance of choosing a high-quality rope! Before you choose which rope is right for you, there are a few things to know and consider. There are a number of different ropes available that showcase certain features and specifications and identifying an ideal wakeboard rope comes down to understanding these, at least at a basic level. If you’re a beginner wakeboarder, some of this information may not influence your decision as much right away, but as you become a more experienced rider you’ll want to refer back to this information when choosing your future tow rope, as it will be a key piece to your wakeboarding gear to pull off your go-to tricks.
Why do you need a wakeboard-specific tow rope?
If you participate in other watersports then you may already have a tow rope, but keep in mind that wakeboard ropes differ from ropes used in other watersports, so if you plan to ride the wake you’ll want to invest in a quality wakeboard rope as well. First, wakeboard ropes are different because wakeboarders need the rope to pull off their tricks as their propelled through the water, this means they’re going to have virtually no stretch to them. If you have a stretchy tow rope, you’re going to struggle to pull off tricks, and if you’re a beginner wakeboarder this is also going to make the learning process take longer.
Having a quality tow rope designed for wakeboarding, however, is going to be a game changer. Wakeboard tow ropes will not only help you learn but will also make the experience that much more enjoyable by improving performance rather than hindering it. When it comes time to choose a quality rope, you’re going to want to look for three important things: material, length, and handle.
- Material, or Type of Rope
We mentioned before that a wakeboard tow rope should have very little stretch to it. This means a rope specifically designed for wakeboarding is going to be made of certain types of materials like dyneema, poly E, and spectra that are less stretchy and ideal for wakeboarding.
- Dyneema is a no-stretch material that has strong abrasion resistance, being as tough as metal but far more ideal for riding in saltwater.
- Poly E is a low-stretch material with a more affordable price tag than other materials. This rope is going to be better for beginners because of its shock absorption but could be a hindrance to more experienced riders trying their hand at more advanced tricks.<.li>
- Spectra is ten times stronger than steel but ultra-lightweight. The durability of this material makes it long-lasting, and as a bonus it will float on top of the water. This material is best for those riders seeking to hone their skills.
Note: Check that your rope is coated to keep it protect it from UV light and prevent tangling.
- Length of the Rope
Most wakeboard tow ropes are going to range between 55 and over 75 feet long. The length you need is going to depend on the boat you are using to pull the rider, the boat wake, and your rider’s personal preference. If you’re a beginner wakeboarder, you should look at ropes that are closer to the 65-foot length. This is generally a comfortable length that is closer to the boat, thus narrower wake, and gives you just enough freedom to learn some tricks and turns without being too short or restrictive. More experienced riders will prefer longer ropes for even more maneuverability, because as your rope length increases so does your speed and the air you can catch.
- Wakeboarding Handles
The final feature you should consider when looking to invest in a wakeboard tow rope is the handle. The handle is crucial since it attaches to the tow rope, which attaches to the boat, which then enables your rider to hold on and ride the wake. Because it’s so important, you should look for one that allows you to have a grip that is both strong and comfortable and matches your needs. Just like your wakeboarding rope, you’re going to find that when it comes to choosing a handle you have a variety to choose from to find the best fit.
For the size, the main thing you want to check is that the grip is comfortable. This is going to be different for different riders, but as a general guide a smaller grip is better suited for people with small hands, usually women and children, while a larger grip is better suited for people with large hands, usually men. It’s also going to be easier to perform tricks if you’re using a wider handle, so keep that in mind if you plan on popping ollies in the near future!
Once you have the right size, check the weight in your hands. A heavier or lighter handle isn’t necessarily a crucial consideration as a beginner, but remember you want the handle to feel comfortable over a period of time. Lighter handles are made of more expensive materials so you’ll have a higher investment, but they may be better and more comfortable as you become an experienced rider.
Which tow rope is best for beginner wakeboarders?
If you’re just starting out as a beginner wakeboarder, then you want a quality rope that’s going to help you learn how to ride the wake without adding any difficulties. The ideal beginner wakeboarder tow rope for many riders is going to be about 65 feet in length, made of a low-stretch material like poly E and attach to a comfortable, sturdy handle for you to grip while you ride. Keep in mind, however, that every rider is going to have different needs and preferences, so it’s always recommended that you talk to a professional before you buy!
And for more beginner wakeboarding help, be sure to check our out guide to choosing the right gear.