If you are new to watersports, it is important to know that all tow ropes are not created equal. Wakeboard tow ropes have several features that distinguish them from ski ropes. Different tow ropes can also affect speed when water skiing and wakeboarding, so finding the right rope is important. Your tow boat speed and the length of your water skiing and wakeboarding ropes go hand-in-hand. Here are things to consider when looking for a tow rope that will work best for you when skiing or participating in other watersports.


In general, an average starter length for wakeboard tow ropes for beginners is 45 to 50 feet. Advanced wakeboarders and riders doing tricks could have up to 60 to 70 feet of length. For water skiers, most normal-length ropes range from 60 to 70 feet, depending on the age and level of the skier.


Wakeboarders want a stiff wakeboard rope that won't recoil during airborne tricks. A stiff rope with little to no stretch will aid in flips and turns because it allows the rider to lift themselves into the air easier. Water skiers, on the other hand, want a rope with stretch, especially for negotiating a slalom ski course. If you are a dual watersport athlete, opt for a rope with a little stretch that will accommodate both recreational wakeboarding and water skiing.


No matter what type of water sport you favor, keep in mind that boat speed is related to the length of your tow ropes. The faster your boat is going, the longer the tow ropes it can accommodate. If you get stuck in the wash of the wake, either speed up your boat or shorten the tow rope. An average tow boat speed should be about 16 to 25 miles per hour depending on the skill level and weight of the rider.

The right tow rope and boat speed will make for a great ride out on the water. Use this as a guide the next time you are looking for a tow rope to ensure the one you are using is right for your water activity and skill level. For expert advice about tow ropes for waterskiing and wakeboarding, visit your local Sun & Ski Sports.