Understanding rope stretch

SlalomSteveSlalomSteve Posts: 196 Baller
edited June 28 in Skis Fins Bindings
All of the recent talk about rope brands has highlighted for me an aspect of ski gear that I do not understand, and that is rope stretchiness. There are ropes that are stiffer and ropes that stretch more, ok. But what is "good" and what is "bad," what is "forgiving" vs what is "performance," how does one distinguish "higher quality" from "lower quality," etc?

It seems like the general vibe is that stretchy ropes are more forgiving on the body but less ideal for pure performance. But then why is Masterline's top-of-the-line competition rope the most stretchy one (the Optimized 2.0)? And if stiff ropes are better for performance, why do people say to replace ropes once or even twice a year or else they become "dead." I've also seen some comments that certain ropes are lower quality because they are too stretchy, but again, I don't understand the correlation, when there are expensive stretchy ropes too.

It's not my intent to have this turn into a debate about specific brands being better or worse, or whether a brand's pricing is fair or not (that's being handled elsewhere lol). I just want to better understand in general the pros and cons about rope stretch or stiffness. I ask in part just to know more about gear, but also because I'll need a new rope before too long and have no idea what to target. I'm skiing 32-34mph, 15off and taking looks at 22off, I'm 34 years old and in good health. I've been on the Masterline regular mainline rope (not pro or optimized).


  • jhughesjhughes Posts: 1,221 Mega Baller
    And at various line lengths. A 15 or 22 offer is dealing with way more rope than someone at 38. It's not even the same planet as far as what's going on at short vs long line and 18 feet less of whatever the line is.
  • oneskioneski Posts: 132 Baller
    I think MattP is dead-on. The rebound (or unloading) of a “stretchy” rope during the edge change bothers me much more than the stretch (give) when you load off the buoy.
  • UWSkierUWSkier Posts: 1,937 Mega Baller
    For me as a 250 lb skier starting at 22 off, a stretchy rope is super disconcerting when you go to make your initial moves of pulling out, gliding, and turning in. It feels like I'm going to tip right over on my left side and I end up with way too much lean angle on my pullout, then get sprung up like it's a bungee cord as soon as I start to let up on the intensity at the start of the glide. Yes, I can recalibrate my mental lean angle vs intensity expectations, but even correcting for that, a big body puts a lot of energy into a springy rope that has to go somewhere when trying to get free of the boat.
    boats are like girlfriends you love them however there is another one around the corner - bananaron, July 21, 2020
  • swbcaswbca Posts: 796 Crazy Baller
    edited June 29
    Why isn't there a single specification for slalom rope ? Going to a tournament and getting a stretchy rope when you practice with a solid rope can be a real disadvantage.

    This problem was solved in the early 70's when AWSA contracted to have official AWSA polypropylene rope made. Compared to the the random polyethylene ropes on the market at the time, it had very little stretch. Ropes are much stronger now but stretch specs for tournaments could still be standardized.
    Home of the world's first submersible slalom course.
  • BlueSkiBlueSki Posts: 975 Mega Baller
    To @MattP’s point, I have played with different letter settings on ZO since using the ML Opt line. That wasn’t what triggered me to mess around with settings, but I wonder if a more controlled rebound is one reason I have liked the change.
  • scokescoke Posts: 805 Crazy Baller
    Spot on regarding the rebound. As a taller skinny goofy guy, this is where I felt it, off second spray.

    Basically in south Florida the chatter was the differential of:
    Soft to load-Quick to unload
    Quick to load-Soft to unload.

    I can't stand the #1 of above which were the gimmick ropes, i mean optimized ropes.
  • 03RLXi03RLXi Posts: 41 Baller
    edited June 29
    When you're all talking stretchy, how much in real terms do they stretch? Actual measured stretch distance in millimetres or inches when at maximum load compared to minimum load
  • DragoDrago Posts: 1,795 Mega Baller
    SR SL Judge & Driver (“a driver who is super late on the wheel and is out of sync”)
  • 03RLXi03RLXi Posts: 41 Baller
    Feet? So the pros are dealing with a rope stretching and changing in length by roughly the amounts of their shortenings. WOW!
    And for humble me (who is likely pulling less than half the max load they do) on 18.25m, 15' off, probably about the same stretch. Never knew. Thought stretch would be less than 0.1m

  • liquid dliquid d Posts: 1,439 Mega Baller
    Feet at full length, not when you get to 39/41....maybe 3-4 inches. Disclaimer- i have not put a gauge on it at 39/41.
  • DragoDrago Posts: 1,795 Mega Baller
    @liquid d - yeah, much less at shortline, but that's at 44 lbs, a big open skier pulls 800 lbs+ (?)
    Anyway, it's more than most think.
    Optimized is about 20%*sarcastic font*
    SR SL Judge & Driver (“a driver who is super late on the wheel and is out of sync”)
    liquid d
  • SlalomSteveSlalomSteve Posts: 196 Baller
    It seems the majority of people don't really like much stretch. So why is the Optimized 2.0 used at so many tournaments?
  • BigSprayBigSpray Posts: 22 New Baller
    @Drago the possibility of a rope that is tied correctly and the correct length stretching feet is veruley impossible. Need to see proof.
  • BigSprayBigSpray Posts: 22 New Baller
    edited June 30
    Maybe this conversation should of been had prior to the bashing of a new rope company as a school/life project and placing a new rope company with no real history of quality or longjetivy on a pedastoll
    Per slalom Steve from is post at the beginning
    “There are ropes that are stiffer and ropes that stretch more, ok. But what is "good" and what is "bad," what is "forgiving" vs what is "performance," how does one distinguish "higher quality" from "lower quality," etc? “
    Very interesting.
  • DragoDrago Posts: 1,795 Mega Baller
    @BigSpray . Grab one of the 3 new ropes you have been comparing, tie off the handle end, attach long line to a strain gauge, and add 800#.
    Let us know,
    SR SL Judge & Driver (“a driver who is super late on the wheel and is out of sync”)
  • skialexskialex Posts: 1,378 Mega Baller
    Wow…For a guy that was out for 15 years… you picked it up really fast!
    A rope out of the box, it usually hurts my scores (classic loops, slide.. not so much)
    A dead rope also hurts my scores at a degree… I like quality stuff when it comes to my skiing, Chinese ropes of some other brands, are not my preference. ML Deluxe and opt2 are really good quality ropes and now s lines are also of the same high quality.
    As far as this topic, I’m reading with great interest and thinking of giving a try at the less stretchy ropes, in relation to what it feels off the second wake and the way to the buoy.
  • BigSprayBigSpray Posts: 22 New Baller
    Never stopped skiing. Just did not ski tournaments
  • BigSprayBigSpray Posts: 22 New Baller
    @drago let’s clearly here are saying under a load a 60 foot 15 off of greater will stretch feet or will stays stretched out feet? Under a load yes I can see that. After a set and remeasuring the rope I don’t see the rope staying that long.
  • DragoDrago Posts: 1,795 Mega Baller
    Nope, not what I said.
    SR SL Judge & Driver (“a driver who is super late on the wheel and is out of sync”)
  • dave2balldave2ball Posts: 1,104 Crazy Baller
    @Drago if I remember correctly Makai was an off shoot of straight line when George Chickerolli was the owner. It was the first 80 plus’s strain rope. It may of been 100 strain. It was great until 32 off then it got a bit too stiff for most skiers.
  • ALPJrALPJr Posts: 2,863 Mega Baller
    What happened to Straightline?
  • dave2balldave2ball Posts: 1,104 Crazy Baller
    @ALPJr not really sure. After the owner passed away I believe they were purchased by corporate company. I believe they are still around not sure. Diffidently not in the mainstream
  • DragoDrago Posts: 1,795 Mega Baller
    @dave2ball --I think you're correct and my guess is 100 strand.(!) George had health problems and Makai didn't last long. Did he own Straightline, sell it off and start makai ?
    Straightline became crap and MasterLine saved the day. Freestyler was in there somewhere
    SR SL Judge & Driver (“a driver who is super late on the wheel and is out of sync”)
  • dave2balldave2ball Posts: 1,104 Crazy Baller
    edited June 30
    @Drago George past of CA. cancer. George just started an off shoot with makai.the bare footer Scott PellAton was involved with straight line but I don’t know to what degree. I do know they built ropes in there garages when starting out. I believe a corporate company bought them sometime after George past.
    I just posted I believe they’re still around but not mainstream. Not quite sure.
    George was a class guy. Talked quite a bit with him at the SF boat shows.
  • ALPJrALPJr Posts: 2,863 Mega Baller
    edited June 30
    We used SL mostly mid 90’s to mid 2000’s. Mostly using InTow since then. New ropes have always felt a little rubber bandy to me the first few sets.
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