A wakeboarder with one hand on the handle, catching some air.

Wakeboarding ropes are not the same as water ski ropes. While waterski ropes can have some stretch to them, wakeboarding ropes should have very little stretch to none at all. Other key features to look for in your rope include...

Ergonomic Handles

Wakeboard handles are wider than water ski handles. Most wakeboard handles are 13 to 15 inches wide. In comparison, most water ski handles are 11- to 12-inches wide. The larger handle makes passing the handle for tricks that involve rotation easier. Wakeboard handles typically have softer grips like chamois to make it easier on your hands without the need to wear gloves. On the other hand, water ski handles usually have little to no padding to give skiers the best control and because skiers often use gloves. Some wakeboarding ropes even have a second grip near the handle; this second handle allows a rider to wrap the rope around their body. This technique enables you to release the second handle in the air to add a rotation to a spin as the body unwraps from the rope.

Stiff Material

Catching air on a wakeboard

A wakeboarding rope is usually made of either two materials. One material, called polyethylene, has minimal stretch. The other material, called Spectra, has no stretch at all. A polyethylene wakeboarding rope is fine for recreational or beginning wakeboarders. Most serious boarders and pros use Spectra ropes. This is so they are sure that the rope won’t move during their moves. The main reason wakeboarders prefer lines that don't stretch is due to their lack of recoil. Wakeboarders build line tension to jump the wake. Using a rope that can stretch will cause a recoil effect when the rider leaves the wake. This recoil will pull you off-axis in the air, making it hard to land your trick or even causing you to crash.

Ropes that have stretch are a wallet-friendly option and is definitely an option for getting started. However, we recommend making the investment in a good quality rope and handle right from the start. That way, you will not only get used to the rope but also progress in your wakeboarding adventures.

For more info on wakeboarding, water skiing, or any other watersport adventures, visit your local Sun & Ski Sports.