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How long should the rope be?

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  • How long should the rope be?

    First off the tow boat is my bass boat and we dont have a ski pole. Just the transom hooks.

    We were using a 75 foot ski rope and when cutting out wide and then going back in to hit the wake the rope would drag in the water.

    What i was wondering is how long the rope should be?

    And im wondering if shortening the rope would help with it dragging in the water?
    Malibu Skier.


  • #2
    Re: How long should the rope be?

    Shortening the rope should help a little just by geometry alone, but the problem might be that you have the rope attached so close to the water with your application that you'd have to be like 10 feet back to keep it from dragging.

    If you really want to ensure it's not dragging, you might consider a pylon. I haven't reasearched them much, but I assume they have removable ones if you don't want it on all the time. And pretty sure you can get one for a bass boat for $200-$300.
    sigpic
    2005 Glastron GX205
    -Volvo Penta 5.0 GL
    2004 Yamaha XLT 800 Waverunner

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    • #3
      Re: How long should the rope be?

      Rope length is a matter of preference, but most would find 75 ft is too long if we're talking about wakeboarding. I know of very few wakeboarders who use anything longer than 70 ft...and they are the absolute best I know. Most use 55 or 60-ish. Keep in mind that you are yet another 6 to 10 feet longer for your particular setup...because you're attaching to the rear of the boat, while most wakeboarders are attaching close to the center of the boat where their tower hookup point is. So for wakeboarding on YOUR boat, you're effectively using the equivalent of an 81 to 85 foot rope...definitely too long.

      Rope length depends exclusively on where your wake is shaped the best for whatever tricks you're trying to do. Beginners who are first learning to do wake-to-wake jumps and such will use a shorter rope (45 to 50 feet maybe??), simply because the wakes are closer together when you get closer to the boat (and often bigger)...both of which makes it easier to clear the 2nd wake. But this totally depends on the boat.

      Then as people get better and more advanced, they'll generally gravitate to a longer rope because it will allow room to swing wider and build more speed (energy) to be able to jump longer and higher...and again basic geometry says that a longer rope will allow more room to jump higher as well. But that's getting prorbably more advanced than you are at this time, especially behind a bass boat. Even for those pros running faster boat speeds and running longer ropes, their ultimate length is limited by where their particular boat's wake is shaped the best. If you are riding back so far the wake has crested, then there's not much wake there to play with...and that's boring. So shorten it up and get into the sweet spot for your wake.

      I believe most wakeboarding ropes people purchase are between 55 and 65 feet long. Better ones come in multiple sections so you can adjust them for your preference.

      Most waterski ropes are purchased at 75 ft long, and again the better ones come in 8 sections that can be easily removed too allow multiple different lengths (this feature is primarily utilized for competition slalom skiing...but also often for just fine-tuning rope length for individual preference when recreational skiing)

      The fact that yours is 75 feet tells me you likely have a waterski rope. If you are wakeboarding with a waterski rope you're adding some degree of difficulty...as waterski ropes are designed to stretch and have small handles, while wakeboard ropes are specifically designed to NOT stretch and have larger/easier to grab handles. If this is the case, shortening the waterski rope will also remove some of the inherent stretch...which might offer you secondary help in addition to the length change.

      You can feel free to experiment until you find your happy place for your preference and boat. There's definitely no fixed answer to rope length. But for your setup I'd suggest as a random starting point knocking off about 20 feet. Don't cut it though...just do it with a knot so you can change your mind later and go longer or shorter from there if you choose to.

      Keep in mind that as a general rule, if your rope is going slack at any time, on any length of rope, on skis or on a wakebord, this is simply an indicator of rider error and bad technique...and has nothing to do with the length of the rope. So if you shorten the rope and ride with the same technique, it will still go slack and will still drag...even with a pylon or even a tower.

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      • #4
        Re: How long should the rope be?

        Ok thanks I think im gonna try shortening to about 50 feet.

        I forgot to mention it but the other thing that was frustrating was that i was behind the biggest part of the wake. so i know shortening will help me get in the air a little bit.
        Malibu Skier.

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        • #5
          Re: How long should the rope be?

          Just long enough to hang the ex wife
          ANOMALY
          1994 Bayliner Reflexx
          90 hp Merc / Force Sport Jet

          If you do not like my advice, Remember , My Boat Runs , So can yours
          If you are not ready to spend $25 for a manual for your boat then sell it
          He Man Outboard Haters Sport Jet Club .... president

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          • #6
            Re: How long should the rope be?

            Haha wow. Mine hasnt left me yet so that might be a little premature!
            Malibu Skier.

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            • #7
              Re: How long should the rope be?

              Not trying to hijack the OPs thread, but it sounds like a recommendation is to have different ropes for different choices. Skis, wakeboards and kneeboards, there are ropes available for each of them.

              So are separate ropes recommended just for the experts, or for the novices too? My adult family of 4 all share the same set of skis, same wakeboard and same kneeboard, and use one rope for all three toys. Of course we all stink at each of them, so not sure it matters. Or maybe its a reason why we suck?
              PMs of any type will be promptly answered.

              -----
              2006 Tahoe Q4 Sport,
              19.6', 4.3L V6 Mercrusier I/O, Red
              No live wells, fish finders or rod holders.
              sigpic

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              • #8
                Re: How long should the rope be?

                We mostly just kneeboard and because i havent built a pylon yet we were dragging the rope some.

                I took about 14 feet out of the rope and it worked great this weekend. Made it alot easier to cut and hit the wake.

                Were doin pretty good only thing i have trouble with is grabbing the handle behind my back. I really need one of the longer wakeboard handles.
                Malibu Skier.

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                • #9
                  Re: How long should the rope be?

                  Oh by the way Tahoe which launch do yall use at Lake Belton? Weve been using Sparta Valley but on sunday the little parking lot was full. So we had to park on the side of the road.
                  Malibu Skier.

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                  • #10
                    Re: How long should the rope be?

                    Originally posted by TahoeQ4Pilot View Post
                    Not trying to hijack the OPs thread, but it sounds like a recommendation is to have different ropes for different choices. Skis, wakeboards and kneeboards, there are ropes available for each of them.

                    So are separate ropes recommended just for the experts, or for the novices too? My adult family of 4 all share the same set of skis, same wakeboard and same kneeboard, and use one rope for all three toys. Of course we all stink at each of them, so not sure it matters. Or maybe its a reason why we suck?
                    just like what craze said there are many different options on a good mainline, they usually start at about 65' and go to about 80' all in one rope, if you look at the picture every black part you see is a different section, the ropes aren't cheap but they last forever and never sink.
                    Attached Files

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                    • #11
                      Re: How long should the rope be?

                      run the boat at the speed you board, and pull the rope in until you think its at the sweet spot of the wake, then tie a loop in it.

                      If you are anal about your ropes, just be sure to take the loop out at the end of the day. If you leave it in there for a couple of outings, it will get so tight you cant get it out.
                      Fun boat: 2004 Stingray 190LX, Merc 4.3 Carb, Alpha I, SE Sport 300 Hydrofoil, Hi 5
                      Ski boat: 1985 Ski Nautique 2001, Perfect Pass

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                      • #12
                        Re: How long should the rope be?

                        Originally posted by rrkyle View Post
                        We mostly just kneeboard and because i havent built a pylon yet we were dragging the rope some.

                        I took about 14 feet out of the rope and it worked great this weekend. Made it alot easier to cut and hit the wake.

                        Were doin pretty good only thing i have trouble with is grabbing the handle behind my back. I really need one of the longer wakeboard handles.
                        I am no expert, by any means. I have been kneeboarding since I was 6, but am still an amatuer at best. The easiest way to get a hold of your handle behind your back is to grab for your other hand not the handle. You always know where your hand is. Just find your other hand & the handle will be there. I have always used a "ski" handle.

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                        • #13
                          Re: How long should the rope be?

                          Originally posted by TahoeQ4Pilot View Post
                          Not trying to hijack the OPs thread, but it sounds like a recommendation is to have different ropes for different choices. Skis, wakeboards and kneeboards, there are ropes available for each of them.

                          So are separate ropes recommended just for the experts, or for the novices too? My adult family of 4 all share the same set of skis, same wakeboard and same kneeboard, and use one rope for all three toys. Of course we all stink at each of them, so not sure it matters. Or maybe its a reason why we suck?
                          No, you don't need different ropes for everything, but it may help speed when switching. Rather than adjusting sections of rope for each application, if you have different ropes already at different lengths, you can switch them quickly.

                          I have two ropes aboard, but the thicker ski rope is really just a spare. I run two lengths - 60' for wake boarding and kneeboarding if you want more wake, and 75' for skiing and kneeboarding if you just want to slalom. I typically just use my thinner wake boarding rope and handle (it holds less water) and just swap out a 15' section.
                          1998 Moomba Outback, Indmar Blackhawk 350ci

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                          • #14
                            Re: How long should the rope be?

                            Wow what an old thread. Ive been riding at 50 going wake to wake and hitting 180s. Thats about all my pathetic wake allows. I can almost get the 360 but i the rope always gets away from me.
                            Malibu Skier.

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