Water Ski Handles Guide To Choosing The Best One (4 Types)

Water skiing is an exciting and thrilling experience for water sports enthusiasts. It requires a lot of skill, time, and practice to master the technique but with the right equipment, it can be made much more enjoyable.

One of the most important pieces of equipment in water skiing is the handle; this is what allows you to control your speed and direction while skiing.

Choosing the best handle for your needs can be difficult, so understanding the different types available is essential to make the right decision.

Water Ski Handles Guide To Choosing The Best One

When it comes to choosing a water ski handle, there are four main categories of handles from which you can choose; Straight Handles, Tractor Handles, Ergonomic Handles, and Hybrid Handles.

Knowing what type works best for you is key to making sure that you get the most comfortable and effective handle possible.

Straight Handles

Straight handles are the most basic type of water ski handle. They have a straight tube with a grip at one end, allowing you to hold onto them while skiing.

These handles typically provide good control and stability, making them ideal for beginners or those who prefer a more traditional style of skiing.

Tractor Handles

Tractor handles offer an alternative design that can help improve your skiing technique. Instead of having a straight tube, these handles feature curved sections that allow you to adjust the angle of your hands when holding the handle.

This helps give you better control over your speed and direction as you ski, making it easier to make sharp turns and maintain balance on the water. Tractor handles can be a great choice for experienced skiers who want to up their game.

Ergonomic Handles

Ergonomic handles are designed with comfort in mind, offering a contoured design that fits comfortably in your hands.

These handles feature padding and a softer grip, allowing you to maintain a better hold without causing fatigue or discomfort.

Ergonomic handles are often preferred by those who spend long hours skiing as they help reduce strain on the wrists and arms.

Hybrid Handles

For those looking for the best of both worlds, hybrid handles combine the benefits of straight and tractor handles into one design.

These handles are typically made from two different materials; either plastic or rubber for the tube and foam for the grip.

Hybrid handles offer improved control and comfort, making them a great choice for experienced skiers who want to improve their technique.

Choosing the right water ski handle can make all the difference when it comes to enjoying your time on the water.

With so many different types of handles available, understanding which one works best for you is essential to getting the most out of your skiing experience.

Now that you know more about the different types of handles available, you can be sure to find one that meets your needs and makes every skiing trip enjoyable.

Materials Used For Water Ski Handles

There are several materials used for water ski handles, each of which has different characteristics and advantages, and disadvantages.

Aluminum Handles

Aluminum handles are lightweight and strong, making them a popular choice among many water skiers. They provide good grip and durability but can become slippery when wet.

The downside of using aluminum is that it has less shock absorption than other materials, which means you may feel more bumps and vibrations in your hands when you are skiing.

Rubber Handles

Rubber handles offer excellent shock absorption and traction when wet. The material also won’t corrode or rust in salty or chlorinated waters.

However, rubber is on the heavier side which can make it difficult to control if you have weaker arms or wrists.

Foam Handles

Foam handles are lightweight, comfortable to hold, and provide a good grip when wet.

They are also very affordable compared to other materials. However, foam is less durable than rubber or aluminum and may not last as long in rougher waters.

Carbon Fiber Handles

Carbon fiber handles are extremely lightweight and strong while providing superior shock absorption.

The material is also resistant to corrosion and weathering so it can handle salt or chlorine water quite well. However, carbon fiber can be costly compared to other materials on the market.

No matter which material you choose for your water ski handle, make sure you find one that fits your skill level and budget, this will help ensure an enjoyable experience out on the water.

Features Of Water Ski Handles

When selecting a water ski handle, there are several features to consider.


The type of grip on the handle can have an impact on performance and safety. Popular types of grips found on quality handles include rubber, foam, and urethane. Each material provides a different level of comfort and control.

Rubber is more likely to cause blisters or calluses due to its abrasive nature, whereas urethane is softer and will provide a better feel when skiing in rougher conditions. The foam gives the best overall combination of cushioning and control for most skiers.


Handle length should be chosen based on skill level, body size, and type of skiing desired. For beginner and intermediate skiers, a handle that is between 2.5 to 3 feet long is recommended.

For advanced skiers, handles up to 4 feet in length can provide better control and power when skiing or jumping slalom.

Line Attachment

The connection point where the rope attaches to the handle is known as the line attachment. The most common types of line attachments are quick-release, loop system, and tug bar style.

Quick-release lines are easily adjustable while on the water by simply pulling a pin located near the end of the handle grip.

Loop systems are designed for durability and offer easy adjustment with less drag on the ski once it’s released from the boat towline.

Tug bars slide onto the back of the handle and offer a secure connection that is easy to release after skiing.

Overall, understanding the features of water ski handles can help ensure that you select one that best fits your skill level and the type of skiing desired.

With the right handle, you will have greater control and power while out on the water.

When in doubt, it’s always best to let an experienced skier or instructor help guide your decision-making process when selecting a handle.

Factors To Consider When Choosing A Water Ski Handle

There are many factors to consider when choosing the right water ski handle for your needs. These include your skill level, riding style, budget, and compatibility with the ski rope.

Skill Level

When selecting a water ski handle, it’s important to consider your level of experience. Beginners should look for handles that are on the smaller end of the spectrum and feature an easy-grip design.

More advanced riders who are looking to maximize their speed and control should choose larger models with ergonomic grips.

Riding Style

Depending on the type of ski you have and the sort of tricks you plan to perform, different styles of handles may be more suitable.

If you prefer slalom skiing or carving around buoys, then a regular handle will likely offer just enough grip for control and stability.

Freestyle skiers, however, may find that a curved or wrap-around handle provides better control when performing tricks and jumps.


When shopping for a water ski handle, it’s important to consider your budget. Handles can range from fairly inexpensive models up to high-end, premium options that may cost several hundred dollars each.

High-end handles are typically designed with superior materials and construction, but even the most basic model should still offer a comfortable grip and adequate performance for recreational skiing.

Compatibility With Ski Rope

The handle you choose must also be compatible with the type of ski rope you plan on using.

Most manufacturers will specify which ropes are best suited for their products, so make sure you double-check this before making a purchase.

If in doubt, it’s best to contact the manufacturer or an expert skiing retailer before selecting a handle.

By taking into consideration these four factors when shopping for a water ski handle, you can ensure that you make the right choice for your skill level, riding style, and budget.

With the right handle in hand, you’ll be ready to hit the waves and start enjoying some thrilling water sports action.

Maintenance Of Water Ski Handles

There are a few things you can do to make sure your water ski handle lasts for years and continues to provide the best performance.


Cleaning your water ski handle is the first step to ensuring its longevity. To do this, first, rinse off the handle with fresh water after each use, and then wipe it down with a damp cloth.

If any dirt or debris remains on the handle, you may need to use soap or an abrasive cleaner. Be sure that all of the surfaces are free from residue before drying them off completely with a towel.

Once dry, store the handle in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and extreme temperatures.


Storage of your water ski handle is also important for keeping it in good condition.

Always store your water ski handles in their original packaging when not in use, as this will protect them from damage and dust accumulation.

If storing them for an extended period, wrap them in a clean cloth or plastic bag before placing them in the packaging. This will prevent dust particles from entering the handle and causing possible corrosion over time.


Inspection of your water ski handles should become part of your regular check-up routine. Before each use, make sure to examine all parts, such as the grip, line, and hook connections, for signs of wear and tear.

Make sure that none of the components appear damaged or worn down and replace any parts that are cracked or broken immediately.

Doing this will help you maintain your gear properly and ensure it remains safe for use on the water.

By following these simple maintenance tips, you can keep your water ski handle in great condition for years to come.

Regularly checking and cleaning your handle, as well as properly storing it when not in use, will ensure you get the most out of your gear and keep yourself safe while on the water.


Water ski handles can be an essential part of your water skiing setup, so make sure to choose the right one for your needs.

Consider factors such as skill level, riding style, budget, and rope compatibility before making a purchase.

Additionally, always perform regular maintenance checks and cleaning on your handle to keep it in top condition for many years of use.

With the proper care and attention, you’ll be ready to hit the waves with confidence and enjoy some thrilling water sports action.