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Which trick release?

shoeskimanshoeskiman Posts: 15 Baller
edited August 2011 in Trick and Jump
So after having a KW show release for many years we may upgrade out boat and change to a newer release.
With four or more types of releases available what are the major differences?

KW/Robbins/Masterline/ARE/Trick systems vortex.
Why would you recommend one over another?


  • ForrestGumpForrestGump Posts: 6,177
    Everyone I know uses a simple wrapped rope release. Mechanical releases just seem to bind.
    Shane "Crash" Hill

  • WishWish Posts: 8,198 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    WrApped rope release?????? What's that??
    >>> 11.25..a different kettle of fish. <<<
  • GAJ0004GAJ0004 Posts: 1,095 Baller
    I have a CASAD universal release, fits any boat 1994 or newer. On mechanical releases there should be an adjustment that controls how tight it holds on. Mine used to open on its own of enough of a yank was put on it. It may take a little tweaking to get it working the way you want it. The Masterline one looks similar to mine. I also have a Guardian release for a 1980's vintage Master Craft for when I go out on friend's boats.
    Gary Janzig Streetsboro Ohio, skis at Lake Latonka, Mercer Pennsylvania slalom,trick,kneeboard,barefoot
  • Chef23Chef23 Posts: 6,060 Mega Baller
    We have a Masterline Robbins release. It is simple and always releases. I have used a rope release but prefer the Robbins.
    Mark Shaffer
  • animalanimal Posts: 96 Baller
    edited August 2011
    Rope releases are just a 2 foot section of rope wrapped around the pylon that the operator lets go of to release the rope. Its pretty idiot proof, but I don't think a great idea for tournaments. In this past weekend's regionals, I saw at least two trickers lose a pass because the operator accidentally let the rope go or it got pulled out of their hand. The rope releases only made up about 25% of the skiers this year, mostly in the collegiate contingent.

    A lot will depend on how you intend to use it. If in a tournament, the method of attachment makes a big difference as to how hard it it to attach and remove. Many times you don't have much time, (couple of minutes at best) to do that so ease of attachment can be important.

    We have always used A.R.E. and KW with good luck. If permanently attached, the A.R.E. is good as it is fairly small and stays out of the way below the slalom attachment. I know the masterline works well but can be confusing on attaching the rope correctly. The robbins is similar to a rope release in that the operator has to hold the rope to keep the line attached. I am not familiar with a Trick Systems or Vortex release.

    Hope this helps.
  • eleeskieleeski Posts: 3,977 Infinite Pandas
    Masterline Robbins release is by far the safest and easiest to use. You need one of these for learning the more advanced tricks.

    I also have a Masterline split pin release. If I'm driving and releasing I use this one. This is really easy to put on and off the pylon (30 seconds max). Actually it goes on and off the pylon like the Robbins release so I can switch releases when the skier switches to hands mid run. I always like to have a tricker on a release. Loading the rope is a pain.

    ARE and other bent pin releases are OK with a very skilled and attentive operator. Some people claim that the releases will not release under a heavy load but I used one for years and my ARE worked perfectly. They are super easy to load and are best for learning tricks where you will be releasing no matter what because of the easy loading. But if the operator is not paying attention, the skier is at higher risk.

    Rope releases are great because they are so cheap. But they are really hard on the operator. Consequently, they are subject to operator error from being over wrapped and not releasing or under wrapped and releasing too early. A reasonable operator can make these safe - but I hate getting stuck holding a rope release all run.

    I saw an early version of the Trick Systems release. It resembled a Robbins release. But I haven't used one.

    I recommend the Robbins release. Most release operators are familiar with them. They are quick on and off. They are quick to load. And they are most resistant to operator error.

  • Jody_SealJody_Seal Posts: 3,167 Mega Baller
    Like anything perception is what drives or motovates.
    We used the ARE for years until our son got a little on the larger side ant the release hung up on a just off side wake trick. Needless to say it went in the scrap bin. The robbins release seems to be the prefered as far as a mechanical appratus. But the trick sensi him self uses nothing but a rope release, you wont find a mechanical anywhere on site at SRB (Pickos).
    Hobby Boats can be expensive when the hobbyist is limited on their own skill and expertise.

  • elrelr Posts: 328 Mega Baller
    Cory, Herman, Storm, and Joel [Wing], have all coached my son, and all used a rope release.
    Ed Rink - LSF Texas
  • jaredH20jaredH20 Posts: 90 Baller
    any one have 42" D3 Custom x that they wish to sell?
  • thompjsthompjs Posts: 542 Solid Baller
    If you are using Robbins release, use a bit of ski rope on the end instead of thin Kevlar. A few weeks ago at a tournament a skier was hung just a bit because the kevlar wrapped around the guide loop at the top of the release. Very surprising that it could happen.

  • TeamAllenTeamAllen Posts: 14 Baller
    edited June 2013
    Would a product like the Comptech Safety Trick Release, by SkySki work for trick skiing?

    I put together a group buy on it. I just didn't know weather or not it would work well for trick skiing?
  • LeonLLeonL Posts: 2,420 Crazy Baller
    Most everyone that I see now days uses a rope release, eschewing the mechanical that they already own.
    Leon Leonard Stillwater Lake KY - SR Driver SR Judge
  • ToddLToddL Posts: 2,854 Mega Baller
    That comptech release is a neat idea... However, I have visions of the rope connector "swivel" slamming into the back gel coat of a boat causing damage to the boat. I'm sure it is less of a risk if mounted on a tower, but on the traditional pylon, I would expect it to make contact with the boat upon release. Maybe that connector could be made out of a lighter, softer material...

    -- The future of skiing depends upon welcoming novice skiers regardless of age to our sport.
  • ToddLToddL Posts: 2,854 Mega Baller
    Is anyone using the Trick Systems / Reflex Vortex release? Ever see one in person?


    From Reflex web site:
    Vortex Inline Release.

    After a year of development, the new “Vortex” in line rope release is available for purchase. We believe that this release is the safest, best built product on the market today. The housing is made from machined aluminum to keep it fairly light, and portable. The release arm, pivot pin, spacers, and tension washers are all made from machined stainless steel, and will never wear out. The unit is adaptable to any size tow pylon head. What makes the “Vortex” release unique, is that the mainline and opposing release tether, are both in line with the skier.

    The release arm is a specific length which results in less effort for the release person to hold against the pull of the skier, regardless of their weight/strength. When the tether is either purposely released by the observer, or it is pulled from the observers hand on a hard/quick fall, the tension/resistance on the mainline is immediately eliminated so that the skier will not experience a hard pull.
    -- The future of skiing depends upon welcoming novice skiers regardless of age to our sport.
  • BraceMakerBraceMaker Posts: 4,556 Mega Baller
    edited June 2013
    @teamallen the comptech in my opinion is more of a "breakaway" feature - In the situation where a foil gets wrapped in the rope, or the rider gets wrapped in the rope and crashes they would get dragged behind the boat. The rider is always using their hands on the rope, and as such the release is not going to frequently disengage, and most foil riders do not use any release - therefore this product should only prevent the very seldom encountered injury from getting wrapped in a rope.

    Very different situation than trick skiers who are connected to the rope, often with a strap around their heel, and fall frequently requiring a release on every fall - in which case you'd probably have it set pretty snug so the skier didn't release it prematurely, and then you'd be back to having someone manually pulling the cord so you didn't have hard releases all the time.

    I think the comptech probably has a real place in kneeboarding, hydrofoil, barefoot etc.

    Don't think it would be safe to use for Trick, Slalom, Jump, or Show. However I think that recreationally it might not be a bad idea for folks to use a rope for Trick - and for slalom or general skiing I think a manual release like a KW equipment might be a good idea, an attentive spotter could probably save some folks lives or atleast a bicep.

    That old KW the poster is using is a standard in the show ski world, ball bearing, very smooth reliable release capable of having bunches of lines tied off to it and busting pylons out of boats with out failure. Made in Michigan. Not really a trick release 100% manual requires good spotting - but a very robust release.
  • Chef23Chef23 Posts: 6,060 Mega Baller
    edited June 2013
    There is a major quality/manufacturing issue with the Masterline Robbins release right now. The handle that you use to tighten it strips very easily. In order to get it tight enough to prevent it from slipping on the pylon you run a very high risk of stripping the handle. The handle is made of much softer material than than what it grips to tighten.

    On top of that my experience with Masterline customer service hasn't been good so when there is a problem it is hard to get it resolved.

    I haven't seen the Reflex release but if it works on the same principle as the Robbins release I would lean towards that one. I like the concept behind the Robbins release and feel it is very safe I am just tired of having problems with the Masterline version. It is particularly troubling when it breaks as you are trying to tighten it on for your son's set at regionals or nationals. I have taken to making sure I have a rope release with me as back up at all times.
    Mark Shaffer
  • jwrjwr Posts: 337 Baller
    Rope releases are great but a major pain if you are driving and pinning at the same time. It is fairly idiot proof once you learn the proper way to wrap it.
    Obrien Elite 30" 6.845, 2.510, .80 PB [email protected]
  • TeamAllenTeamAllen Posts: 14 Baller
    Thanks for the input. I am just a recreational skier and thought it would make my boat safer with a product like that. It is an expensive product, so I put together a group buy with the manufacturer to save some money.

    I just wasn't sure if it had any application to trick skiing, but you helped me understand why it might not be as effective as what else is already being used. It does have a manual release as well. Maybe not as easy to operate with multiple skiers, as was mentioned, but might work for a single trickster? Then you could have the back up safety, in case the spotter was a little delayed or distracted.

    I could post up the GB info., but I didn't want to waist the forums time if it's not relevant.
  • eleeskieleeski Posts: 3,977 Infinite Pandas
    @TeamAllen An automatic break away release for tricks would not work at all for me (tried one years ago and decided no release at all was safer). I purposely load the rope very heavily on some tricks (Flips and Toe Steps at least) and a release at these times is painful and not needed. Just a couple pounds of force on the wrong toe fall can injure you. A competent release operator is of prime importance.

    No release is foolproof. The Robbins release is still the best compromise for me. I ran into @Chef23 's QC issues as well but a bit of weld took care of it for me (it may look a bit messy though. Masterline was OK to work with for me but a bit slower than breaking out the welder).

    Get what your operator likes best.

  • ToddLToddL Posts: 2,854 Mega Baller
    @jwr said a rope release is "fairly idiot proof once you learn the proper way to wrap it."

    It seems that an "expert" in the trick community could easily post a <5 min video on youtube showing some tips on how to construct, use, wrap, and manage a rope release. There are some preferences and best practices around this. But I've never seen them documented anywhere...
    -- The future of skiing depends upon welcoming novice skiers regardless of age to our sport.
  • klindyklindy Posts: 2,587 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    The biggest issue is making sure the rope release is put on the pylon like a "half hitch" knot. Make sure it's impossible to get the skier rope past the "knot" at the base of the loop.
    Keith Lindemulder
    AWSA Chairman of the Board
    AWSA Southern Region EVP
  • BraceMakerBraceMaker Posts: 4,556 Mega Baller
    @toddL - first time I ever saw someone trick ski I held his release rope. That should indicate that it is pretty idiot proof.

    Biggest was that an extra wrap around the pylon lets the skier get up, then it was what angle you held at.
  • ToddLToddL Posts: 2,854 Mega Baller
    edited June 2013
    I think the sheer simplicity of a rope release solution creates risk due to lack of assurance of proper methods. I just was thinking that we all sort of know how to use one, but it wouldn't take much to write that out...

    How to make a rope release
    ...Size of loop
    ...Best way to tie/fid the loop
    ...Things not to do
    ...Length of the rope
    ...How to terminate / cut the end of the rope
    How to attach to the pylon
    ...Best practices / things to avoid
    How to attach trick rope to the release rope
    ...Best practices / things to avoid
    How and when to wrap the release rope to the pylon
    ...Best practices / things to avoid

    -- The future of skiing depends upon welcoming novice skiers regardless of age to our sport.
  • MrJonesMrJones Posts: 1,807 Mega Baller
    Rope release, mainly b/c it is free.

    For our very light kids I don't have any wrap around the pylon at all. I wrap it for them to get up or on the turns to make it easy to hold. If they are tricking the rope just goes out from the pylon and back to my hand.
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