Tips by David Ngiam
Photo : Wrapped Handle
Its also very important to use a non-stretch rope. Traditional ski ropes are a little springy, which is good if you slalom. However, for wakeboarding, a non-stretch ropes will give you more control in the air, especially if you’re working on spins and inverts. Generally, most wakeboard-specific ropes available on the market are non-stretch. You just need to choose one that meets your minimum length and extensions. Something with a 60′ basic mainline with two to three 5′ extensions would be good to start of with. Other features of the rope may include coated sleeves, etc, which doesn’t directly impact the performace of the rope, but makes it less likely to tangle up when keeping or letting out the rope.
Do note that the wakeboard handle is about 5′ in length. Some rope manufacturers mark their ropes as 65′ when they are actually 60′ (because once you add the handle, it make it 65′ overall), so do check if this is the case. If you’re not sure, just take out a measuring tape and start measuring. All the lengths described below refers to overall length (rope + handle).
When you first learn, its better to start with a short line, say 60′. As you get better, you’ll want to gradually lengthen the rope. The whole idea is like this…. with a shorter rope, the distance between the 2 wakes are not as far apart as compared when riding on a longer line, so its easier to clear both wakes when you first learn to wake jump. A longer line would however give you more run up to the wake, allowing you to build up more potential energy on your approach to give you that bigger air. However, wakes get smaller the further you are from the boat. The average intermediate to advance wakeboarder rides between 65′ – 75′. Much depends on it depends on the size of the wake as well.
As for handles, most handles are about 15″wide. Narrower handles would make it harder to pass the handle on spins and wider handles will make it too clumsy. Some handles come with a smaller handle about 2′ from the main handle. These are used for throwing ‘wrapped’ tricks. The other thing to consider about choosing handles is the type of grip and how thick the grip is, which is basically based on individual preferences. A good handle should also float on water.