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Trick Ski handles?


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  • Baller

Can you trick gurus teach me a bit more about Trick Ski handles?


Have just started using my 12” SL handle.

Have problems to grab it behind my back.

A wider handle seems easier?


For Example:

I can see ML has a toe hold version and a non-Toe hold version

Doubt that I ever will do Toe Holds but one never knows?

Skip Toe Hold until I really need it (extra cost and weight)?


They come in with from 12” to type 16”

Advantages / Disadvantages?

Is wider better for a beginner?

I have been told that some trickers use 15” Wake Board handles.

What about the small extra mini handle for some tricks?

Obstacle or help?



Thickness. Does it really matter?


The extra padding on the handle rope to protect your back (wetsuit).

I guess that it will be useful in a foreseeable future for a beginner?


Gloves? No gloves, Garden gloves, regular gloves?

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As for width: I didn't trick for 15-20 years. Went for a few sets last summer. I very quickly decided to move to two ropes - my old 12" trick handle for toes, and a 15" wakeboard handle for hand tricks.

Best solution would be for me to do a year of yoga and get my flexibility back, but given that's not going to happen, I found the 15" handle made reverse half-wraps a LOT easier.


As for mini handle, the thick braiding on most trick handles is more flexible - you can grab wherever feels right for you.


As for thickness, I'd say it doesn't matter. You'll get used to whatever you buy.


As for gloves, traditionally no one wears gloves for tricks. Not long ago, you'd get laughed at if you wore gloves. What changed? Current world record holder wears gloves.

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Width is a personal preference thing.


The extra padding you are seeing is likely floatation. When you do toe tricks you can't let go of the rope when you fall, so someone in the boat releases the rope from the pylon. You don't want it to sink!


Go for a handle with integrated toe hold and braid along the bridle. Toes are easier than you think to learn the basics and there is no real disadvantage to having it there. Weight won't be a concern for a trick handle for all but the most advanced trickers. I do multiple inverts, 3s and 5s and still use this type of handle despite owning multiple different types of wakeboard specific handles.

The braid allows you to securely grab the rope for getting into the toe harness or learning wrapped spins. The mini-handle is more of a wakeboard thing.



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Trick handles need to do different things for different skills. The college skiers do fine learning the basics on a slalom rope shortened to 22 off.


Once you start working on a WO, you need a trick rope. WO involves wrapping the rope around your body and holding on with one hand on the handle and the other on the rope. It's a lot easier on the hand on the rope if there is some webbing or a braid to assist the grip. Also, when you are at that level your skills are advanced enough to try some toe tricks. It's time to buy a trick harness (and non stretch rope). Get a comfortable braid or grip and a big (easy to put on) toe harness.


As your skills advance, you will need a bit more for a trick setup. For advanced toes, you will need a heel strap to keep the harness on and positioned properly. Some of that rubber foam around the rope helps the back of your knee or your back from getting scratched - but it isn't that important. The fit needs to be pretty solid as you don't want to come out of the harness. A good release and competent operator is critical.


The Robbins (Masterline) release rocks. Easy to use and comfortable for the release person. Very intuitively safe. With little kids you might need to help the release a bit. For kids, a rope release is great because the release person doesn't need to wrap the rope around the pylon so the release is pretty easy. Big guys doing big tricks are a challenge for a rope release as the rope needs to wrap around the pylon for the operator to hold it but those wraps slow the release. A split pin or hook release is better than nothing - but you need a really good operator.


The Curmi harness is an advanced option. Designed only for toes, it offers great control. It will improve your toes. But you must start with the harness on (a mini handle makes this a bit easier). You must have a good release person as the harness will not come off. You will need a second rope for hand tricks.


High level wakeboarders have different needs - certainly no toe harness. They tend to use a longer handle and a very open bridle. Perhaps they can generate better leverage with the long handle. Spins are slower so the big handle's resistance to spinning isn't a problem. A big open bridle makes it easy to extricate your arm from the handle if it happened to go through.


Trickers seem to prefer a shorter handle. That handle has to turn over a lot in a short time. I want the narrow handle to have my hands in relatively the same position when I catch the handle. Unlike @andjules , I find the geometry easier with a short handle for wraps - but it is personal preference. While a wider handle might be easier to pass, it is also more critical in handle placement which may offset any advantage. Dry land practice will solve that issue with whatever size handle you choose.


I use a 12 in handle with a toe harness with a heel strap and a soft webbing grip. My rope is a non stretch spectra style rope (Echo ropes - @rab rocks). I also have a float inline near the release end of the rope so the driver can pick up the released rope (be careful of dangling floats that might hang up on the boat when released). I use garden gloves (cheap and they don't scratch my back with Velcro and straps). I prefer the Robbins release. And a steep wake (sigh).



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  • Baller
I bought a 14" trick handle for my son to work on reverse back wraps. You can order them from Masterline. They make them in 15" also. He can do handle passes (as I can I) with a 12"handle but the reverse back wrap position is kind of funky. Once he gets comfortable in that position I expect he will go back to the 12" handle.
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