Hey Guys and Gals if you are having the time of your life behind a boat chances are you use a rope at some point. There is not much but there is some confusion about the differences between ropes and their purpose for different sports. In this little episode we are going to talk only about the basics of a rope some of the differences and why they matter.
The material. All good quality ropes regardless of wake boarding, water skiing, wake surfing, wake skating, tubing or whatever are usually made from some type of polyethylene. This is a big class of plastic and has many many uses beyond ropes. Thousands frankly. Depending on the quality of your rope you may use a basic polyethylene or if you have a high end rope you likely have a UHMW polythylene. What are the basics here?
Well first off lets talk stretch ropes. Sometimes referred to as dynamic ropes. Skiers generally want a rope with a little stretch. This gives them a some forgiveness going into a buoy in a slalom course or while free skiing and does not yank their arms off.
Knee boarders are another category of riders that tend to prefer ropes with stretch for much the same reasons as skiers.
Wake surfers generally prefer a rope with a lot of stretch as well for much the same reason. While you are bouncing around behind a boat that last thing you need or want is a rope that is going to yank you off the board which is especially easy since your feet are not attached.
Another place where you generally want a rope with a lot of stretch is when you are pulling towables, i.e. tubes and other similar tow behinds. Again this is partly to not have the riders get jerked around and also to keep the tube from being easily ripped apart from a quick snap of the rope.
Now lets talk non stretch ropes. Sometimes referred to as static ropes. Wake boarders and Wake skaters on the other hand tend to prefer a rope with little to no stretch. The main reason for this is when pulling into the wake you want the rope to be as responsive as possible to give you the most power into the air.
There is always some personal preference here. Like the rest of life there is nothing set in stone but generally speaking this is true.
Other overlooked features are twisting and float. The most basic ropes are going to be loose twisted polyethylene with stretch that do not float and compared to higher end ropes may twist up.
The next level of rope pricing generally gets you a tighter woven rope that will have less stretch but likely still sink.
After that you will then find ropes that will have some type of float feature like a neoprene core or silicone jacket both of which will allow the rope to float so you do not run over it and help with getting tied up in knots a bit. From there the world is your oyster.
The best ropes ropes will have some kind of floating feature, resistance to knotting up and abrasion resistance to keep it in good shape. It is easy to see a high end rope only to retail for $100 to $200. This is just for the rope. We can talk handles another time.
Do you need these features. Well as always it is up to you. Like so many things in life I never see anyone regret getting the higher end stuff when it is a minor overall cost to the sport you like and want to enjoy.