What Are Some Features of a Wakesurf Rope?
The wakesurf rope is an essential piece of equipment that is too often just an afterthought in the buying process. The goal of a wake surfer is to ride behind the boat without the aid of a rope. However, without a rope, getting up and learning new skills is challenging to say the least. Riders use the rope not only to get up out of the water but also to pull themselves into the "sweet spot" of the wake, which allows them to cast the rope to the side and carve away. An experienced rider may only hold onto a wakesurf rope for a few moments, so what makes it so important?
Most high-quality ropes will have thick braids, knotted sections, and even padded segments. These features provide the rider with a comfortable and controlled way of pulling themselves forward or releasing themselves further back on the wake. This control is important for the rider to find the "sweet spot" in the wake, which is where the swell is providing the best push forward. Getting into the sweet spot is where the riders usually feel the most comfortable riding without the aid of a rope.
Cheap ropes will have little to no flotation, which will make picking up the rider for the next pass much harder. Better ropes will have some floatation or extra foam sections, which will allow the rider to see and grab the rope with ease.
It is very important that the handle used for wakesurfing is a surf specific handle and not a wakeboard or waterski handle. Water ski handles and wakeboard handles are 12 or more inches wide and can be a safety hazard for a wake surfer when they fall. A wakesurf handle is much smaller and usually shaped in a classic triangle or a t-bar shape. The triangle shape will be the most stable for beginner riders to learn with while the t-bar shape will be slightly safer by preventing any limbs for getting caught inside.
Another option is to use a rope that has no handle at all. These ropes typically have a significant knot and or foam piece at the end to provide a good area for getting out of the water. This option is the safest of the three, but it will be much harder for new riders to use when getting up out of the water.
The length of rope needed to find the optimal position on the wake will vary depending on the boat, the amount of ballast, and the speed of the boat. The rope must be long enough to allow the rider to move up and down the wake to the desired position but not so long that there is excess slack that could potentially cause a rider harm. Higher-end ropes will have sections that can connect to the boat at different lengths.
By understanding the features of a wakesurf rope, you can make an informed decision about the best choice for you and your boat. For more info on wakesurfing, or any other water adventures, visit us at your local Sun & Ski Sports.