Wakeboarding combines the fast-paced, aquatic fun of waterskiing with the maneuverability and trick-based excitement of snowboarding. Like the former, the wakeboarder is towed across the water by a boat or jet ski, sometimes at incredible speeds.
Like the latter, the wakeboarder can use their momentum to perform dazzling tricks, jumps, and flips to enhance their enjoyment of the sport further.
The equipment required for wakeboarding is quite simple – you need a boat, a board, and a person. However, you also need a rope to pull the rider, and not just any cable will do.
Wakeboarding ropes are unique and are specifically designed to allow the wakeboarder to generate the force needed to perform the tricks that are the hallmarks of the sport.
So, what are the qualities that make for a good wakeboarding rope? Furthermore, what is the best wakeboard rope on the market today? In the following article, we’ll attempt to answer all of these questions and give our endorsement for the “best wakeboard rope” to invest in today.
Whether you’re just getting into wakeboarding or merely looking to upgrade your rope, it’s reasonable to have questions about what makes for a good wakeboarding rope.
Here, we’ll address some frequently asked questions about wakeboard ropes, as well as questions about other equipment and the sport itself.
What’s the Difference Between Ski Ropes and Wakeboard Ropes?
Many people – even those who have been wakeboarding for years – think that waterskiing ropes and wakeboard ropes are interchangeable.
However, pros know that the best wakeboard ropes have virtually no stretch to them, while many waterskiing ropes do. This lack of stretch allows the wakeboarder to build up power using tensile strength.
This built-up power is essential to performing the sort of tricks one often associates with wakeboarding.
Those that use overly-stretchy ropes, poor quality ropes, and ropes not explicitly designed for wakeboarding, are selling short their experience while potentially putting themselves at risk of serious injury.
How Does the Rope Come Into Play During Wakeboarding?
Like many other sports, wakeboarding requires both practice on the water and education off the water.
Learning hand signals, balance, safety methods, and other various techniques is essential and highly recommended for anyone looking to attempt the sport.
That said, there are loads of techniques and tips associated with the wakeboard rope itself.
Short ropes are easier to handle and control, so these are best for beginners. Once you master shorter cables, you can invest in longer ones, though there will likely be an adjustment period from one to the other.
Riders who want to learn good board control need to get used to maintaining constant tension on the rope.
Without this tension, it is challenging to turn, let alone perform tricks. A lack of tension can also cause the rider’s arms to be “jerked” by the pull of the boat, potentially resulting in injury.
What Sort of Materials Do Manufacturers Use to Make Wakeboard Ropes?
While there is no “perfect material” for wakeboard ropes, most manufacturers have come to an agreement that the following make for the best lines.
It’s also worth noting that many wakeboard ropes are coated to protect against UV light, add strength, or prevent tangles.
This is a type of polyester comes in bead form and goes into manufacturing thousands of different products. Though inexpensive and readily available, Poly E has more stretch to it than many other wakeboard ropes.
This flexibility makes it a bit more forgiving for those still learning the sport but can cause control problems for experienced wakeboarders.
Spectra is unique in that it is essentially steel in the form of a fiber.
In fact, it’s roughly 10 times stronger than steel and highly resistant to chemicals, water, and ultraviolet light while still being lightweight enough to float in water. Unlike Poly E, Spectra has no stretch to it whatsoever.
This could be seen as the “best of both worlds” material. No-stretch, stronger than steel, and most other synthetic rope materials, Dyneema is perfect for saltwater and holds up remarkably well to tension tests.
Does the Handle Matter at All?
Oddly enough, it’s not just the rope that plays a role in how well a wakeboarder performs, but the handle as well. Handles come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and – like the ropes they attach to – are made of many different materials.
Depending on your approach to the sport, what you look for in a handle will vary quite widely and may require a fair bit of trial and error.
How We Reviewed
To identify the best wakeboard rope on the market today, we evaluated manufacturer specifications to come up with a list of the best products on the market.
From here, we narrowed down the Pros and Cons of each product until we – finally – arrived at a “winner” worthy of our endorsement.
The Best Wakeboard Ropes
Below are the finalists in our search for the best wakeboard ropes. In each section, we’ll outline the product’s specifications, pros, and cons.
Of course, though we will eventually crown a leader, it remains possible that one of the other products will better suit your specific needs.
Airhead Spectra Thermal Wakeboard Rope
- Dyneema Thermal wakeboard rope provides zero stretch for crisp instantaneous response
- Thermal-coated Dyneema line is stiff and rigid, resists kinking and twisting, floats and boasts a 2,000 lb. break...
- 70 foot long with a 5 foot handle bridle and 4 section mainline (5,50,5,5,5)
So far, our review hasn’t been shy about the benefits of Spectra, the stronger-than-steel fiber that is virtually revolutionizing a range of industries and sports, including wakeboarding.
This particular model claims to offer “zero stretch for crisp, instantaneous” response. These features are all included in a bright green, 70-foot package that contains a five-foot handle bridle and four-section mainline.
The Airhead Spectra Thermal Wakeboard Rope is rigid and relatively inflexible, boasts a 2000-pound break resistance, and floats in water, making it a near-perfect solution to the range of unique problems wakeboarding poses.
For added durability, the entire length of the material boasts waterproof PVC tubing. If you’re willing to pay a premium price for a wakeboard rope that really performs, the Airhead Spectra Thermal Wakeboard Rope is a great choice.
Though there are minimal complaints of the plastic tubing fraying (which does not affect the performance of the rope) and some issues with it tangling in storage, it’s pros vastly outweigh its cons.
- Lightweight, but very strong.
- Stronger than steel, with a 2,000-pound break strength.
- Provides the lack of flexibility on which experienced wakeboarders rely.
- One of the most expensive models on the market per foot.
- There are complains that the stiff line tangles quite easily.
RAVE Sports Elite Wakeboard/Kneeboard Rope
- 3 section: 75' (22. 86 M), 3 removable 10' Sections
- Ez grip: 15" (30cm) raised diamond grip EVA handle
- Thick: 5/16" Polypropylene
The Sports Elite Wakeboard and Kneeboard Rope from RAVE is a versatile fabric rope with an included foam wrapped grip. The 70-foot long rope boasts an attractive price, utilizing a three-section, 5/16″ polypropylene mainline.
For added versatility, the cable features three removable ten-foot sections, allowing the user to shorten the rope as desired.
For added efficiency on the water, both the handle and rope of the RAVE Sports Elite Wakeboard Rope float and are resistant to corrosion and mold.
The PolyPro rope has also been treated with UV protectant and pre-stretched to provide more consistent performance on the water. The manufacturer claims that the cable meets or exceeds WSIA standards.
If cost is a primary factor in your choosing a wakeboard rope, the RAVE Sports Elite model fits comfortably in the majority of sportsmen’s budgets.
It doesn’t have many unique features or innovations but will provide an excellent experience for beginners and those just looking to have fun on the water.
- A fair price and a reliable product.
- Treated, pre-stretched rope will perform well on the water.
- Removable sections allow users to shorten and lengthen the rope as needed.
- Low price, but no frills either.
- Some customers receive the wrong color when ordering.
AIRHEAD Wakeboard Rope, 15″ EVA Handle, 3 section
- 15 in. Squid patterned EVA-wrapped grip with a floating aluminum core
- 5/16 inch, 16 strand, UV treated low stretch buoyant rope
- 3 sections for wakeboarding at 45, 55 or 65 feet
For those who want to try an Airhead brand wakeboard rope but don’t have the budget to invest in the Spectra model, the company does offer a wide range of lower-cost, beginner models like this standard wakeboarding rope with 15″ EVA Handle.
The cable is a pre-stretched 5/16 inch, 16 strand nylon rope. Though longer than most ski ropes, this wakeboarding rope maxes out at 65 feet, though it does have removable sections to create 55 and 45-foot lengths as needed.
The handle is an EVA wrapped grip with an aluminum core which – along with the rope itself – will float in water for quite a while if the wakeboarder takes a tumble.
- UV-treated and low stretch nylon wakeboarding rope
- The handle is broad and accommodates multiple grips
- Three sections to adjust the length as needed
- Shorter than other ropes.
- Frays easily and may not last as long as other models.
Full Throttle Wake Board Tow Rope
- 75' line, 16-strand, 640 filaments, 16 mm
- 1750 lbs. tensile strength
- Removable sections: 55', 5', 5', 5', 5' handle section
Full Throttle’s Wake Board Tow Rope is a heavy-duty, sectional non-stretch wakeboarding rope that allows the user to adjust their experience in removable five-foot sections.
It features a comfortable ribbed handle, a rope keeper, and its 16-strand, 640-filament material has been rated with a tensile strength of 1,750 pounds.
If versatility is something that you’re looking for in a wakeboarding rope, this Full Throttle model can offer it while still maintaining a low enough price for the average user.
The leading case against this particular model is the lack of detailed information on the manufacture of the rope, including what materials it is made of (though nylon is likely) and where the manufacturing takes place.
- Reasonably priced compared to most other models
- Multiple 5-foot sections for a versatile experience
- Comes with a floating handle that features a built-in rope keeper to avoid tangles.
- Even the manufacturer’s site contains little information on the rope
Ronix Stitch Grip T Wakeboard Rope and Handle
- Ronix Combo 5.5 Dyneema BarLock - Hide Grip "T" Wakeboard Handle w/ R6 Rope - Asst. Color
This 80-foot, six-section Wakeboard Rope from Ronix features a T wrap handle and 12-strange Dyneema Rope. Dyneema, as we mentioned, is the synthetic rope material that is designed to maximize corrosion-resistance in saltwater while being both stretch-free and stronger than steel.
While the hide stitch grip increases comfort, the rope itself is wholly designed for performance and should appeal to all wakeboarders regardless of their experience levels.
Users who want versatility in rope length (it has a whopping six sections) and are looking for a nearly indestructible rope that will maximize fun times out on the water while minimizing dangers would do well to consider the Ronix.
- Virtually unbreakable, corrosion-resistant Dyneema.
- Six different sections for dialing in the user experience.
- 3D molded grip for extra control.
- One of the higher priced ropes on the market.
- Many users receive the wrong color from sellers.
Though the Ronix Stitch Grip Wakeboard rope may boast the most impressive features, its price point may be a bit too high for all but the most serious wakeboarders.
For less, users can invest in the Airhead Spectra Wakeboard rope, which offers four detachable sections, 70 feet of towing capacity, and boasts virtually indestructible material, much like the Ronix.
For the money, we’re happy to declare the Airhead Spectra the best wakeboard rope. Though many of the ropes on this list may suit your unique needs, the Airhead Spectra will provide the most versatility and reliability for people.
Last update on 2021-01-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API