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Old     (boarditup)      Join Date: Jan 2004       05-24-2006, 8:37 PM Reply   
I've been working on this for a while, but the the news of Soven breaking his wrist, I am in full speed in making a safety release for towers. There already are releases for trick skiing, but none really work on wakeboarding towers. Here is my idea:

My MasterCraft X-9 has an aluminum round plate that the tow bit is mounted to. The release mechanism would bolt around that plate and remain stationary.

The release could also be mounted to the swivel tow bit by use of a spacer that is grooved to be held in place for mounting the release by a rubber band. The release mechanism would be then bolted in place, but would then swivel.

The release mechanism would have a short tag line that you would then attach a longer tag line so it can be operated by anyone in the observer's seat. The reason for the detachable tag line is to keep it from blowing in the wind when not in use.

The mechanism would be made out of aluminum and stainless steel.

Any ideas or feedback? Here is your opportunity to have input on the design of something for our sport.
Old     (ttuclint)      Join Date: Sep 2003       05-25-2006, 2:45 AM Reply   
one guy I rode with a few times who did the air chair had some sort of release that was made out of velcro and I guess if enough force was put on it, it would come apart.
Old     (ttuclint)      Join Date: Sep 2003       05-25-2006, 2:54 AM Reply

Old     (phaeton)      Join Date: Feb 2002       05-25-2006, 5:38 AM Reply   
Boarditup check out the Comptech Trick Release. We all use one. A little spendy but nothing compared to Medical bills and Insurance after an accident has occured. A must have with water sports. Here is the info.

The patented Swivel Release has been in development for over 3-1/2 years. The basic design allows riders to quickly interchange ropes by using extra swivels. The rope swivels in the three rollers located in the end of the housing. When you pull on the manual release cord these three rollers tip out and release the swivel. By pushing the swivel into the three rollers they will tip in and lock into operating position. For all you flippers this is a real load-bearing swivel and has almost no drag. People have commented that you notice the rope not fighting you when you flip.

A spring and plunger assembly inside the housing controls the automatic part of the release. The release pressure is infinitely variable in pressure from 100 to 800 pounds. In testing we found that an average size rider takes 150 pounds of pull to get up on a plane. Once your up the load drops to around 50 lbs. So what do you do if you want to run the release at 100 pounds? Set the adjuster to 200 pounds, get up and have the observer back the nut down to 100 pounds. Just that easy! You want to go up to 800 pounds turn the adjuster to 800 pounds and keep on riding. (Just a FYI we tested the release with a knee board and saw over 400 lbs pull across the wake. We saw spikes of over 550 lbs on wake jumps)
How do you know where to set the Release load setting at? There is a gauge on the side of the Release that shows you how many pounds have been exerted on the unit. Push the white pin to zero and set the release to 800 pounds. Ride as you would normally and have someone in the boat see how far the pin moved on the graduated scale. If you never went above 300 pounds then set the adjuster at 400 lbs. and enjoy. They can even do this while you are still riding. When learning new tricks that require low line tension, set the adjuster to a lower level. Just remember, if you pull if off, donít go flying at the wake to do a front flip or you will have a rope in your hands without a boat pulling you! The other option would be to leave the Release at your standard setting and have an observer ready to pull the manual release.

1) True roller bearing type swivel release. 10 second rope change.
2) Gauge to read load applied by skier.
3) Adjustable range from 100-800 pounds.
4) Breakaway load can be adjusted while riding.
5) Manual release can be used if wanted.
6) All parts anodized aluminum or Stainless Steel. Many parts are heat-treated.
7) Only plastic part is the gauge reading pin and the swivel bushings.
8) Repeatable load + or Ė 20 lbs at release setting. The load does not drift lower with each tug.
Upload =0896430389f22fa9a9ebbe23ad2a6f3e

(Message edited by Phaeton on May 25, 2006)

(Message edited by Phaeton on May 25, 2006)
Old     (timmy)      Join Date: Jul 2001       05-25-2006, 5:47 AM Reply   
I could definately use my trick release for the tower if I thought it was necessary. just put an extension on the rope and then run that over the front crossmember of the tower and down to the observer. cts_id=96&zenid=8fc189164264224f64f4ffded85a7bb1
Old     (boarditup)      Join Date: Jan 2004       05-26-2006, 8:17 AM Reply   
Thanks guys.

The sky ski release is very well thought out, but complex and pricey. My goal is something much less expensive and simpler.

The KW release at Lake Elmo is the same mfgr I am using. He is a personal friend. We have been working on the design for a while. You will see the family resemblance with the heavy duty trick release.

I was thinking that it may be better to have the operator in full control, rather than relying on something to pull apart. In my mind, you want someone paying attention to pull the release when you are in trouble but before you hit the water. The releases that pull apart, you can have some real damage (shoulders and wrists, especially) if you rely on tension to separate the release. Most of the injuries I am trying to prevent are caused by parts of the body passing through the handle bridle, vandle handle, or loops around a body part while spinning. If the release operates after you have stopped by hitting the water, you already may have damage.

I have a scar on my left wrist from this. It is hidden by my watch, but is still reminds me about loops and moving boats.

Any other input or advice? if you don't want to go public on this board.
Old     (phaeton)      Join Date: Feb 2002       05-26-2006, 9:53 AM Reply   
Karl I agree. I have put my arm thru the handle. The nice thing about the SS release is even if the observer is not paying attention (yes they should be) the release will still do it's job.

On another note I can't agree with you more on the importance of some sort of release. It seems almost every week there is someone on here with a rope-handle injury.
Old     (bughunter)      Join Date: Nov 2001       05-26-2006, 1:44 PM Reply   
An observer-only release will not be enough. It is better than nothing, but chances are that the release will be pulled to late or not at all.

Trick skiing or bare-footing are different. The observer is required to have a very short attention span. Basically only for toe-holds. And in that case the observer KNOWS that a fall or major 'wobble' of the skier requires a release pull.
For wakeboarding, this is different. The observer would have to constantly be on the edge... That is impossible.
A break-away is the only solution. You might still have a bruise, but hopefully nothing worse.
Old     (greatdane)      Join Date: Feb 2001       05-26-2006, 5:33 PM Reply   
Something like snow ski bindings. Two small heal bindings. And a small "boot" for the rope.
Old     (boarditup)      Join Date: Jan 2004       05-30-2006, 6:34 AM Reply   
I really don't have a problem maintaining concentration when on the tower safety release. In show skiing, the release is used all the time and the release operators are there for about 2 hours straight. I think in Soven's situation it would take someone experienced to have prevented the injury. In the case of the break away, you would need to set the tension at about 400 lbs - the amount of pressure a top wakeboarder will put on the rope in a hard cut. At 400 lbs, your shoulder or wrist may be wrecked.

For foils, the tension is not there, so it is much safer. Same for trick skiers, not a lot of tension since they are not going big. I think wakskating would probably fall into the low tension catagory as well. I know wakeboarding has a wide range of line tension that would create some issues.

In short - there is no perfect solution for wakeboarding. The closest is an experienced boarder in full concentration on the tower safety release. That is the portion of the market I am looking to fulfill.
Old     (phaeton)      Join Date: Feb 2002       05-30-2006, 7:28 AM Reply   
Karl the top riders are pulling just over 700 pounds on the foils.
Old     (boarditup)      Join Date: Jan 2004       05-30-2006, 8:31 AM Reply   
Wow. That is a lot more than I expected. So, if you have to have the release accomodate that, you need to have it set at about 750 lbs or so. I know that a rope wrapped around your wrist with 750 lbs yanking on it would do some damage to both the wrist and the shoulder - depending upon angle and duration.

For comparison, top slalom skiers have been measured in excess of 1,000 lbs on the rope. They also have the same problem during out the front falls - putting their hand through the handle with the boat still traveling at 34 or 36 mph.

Thanks for the info. Keep it up. I need to know what would work in reality.

I may be able to develop a way to have the release spring open at a certain amount of pressure. I also have a release that you have to keep closed. The natural state of the release is open, you have to keep tension on the tag line to keep it closed. If you release the tag line, the release opens. The problem is if you are bumped or an inattentive and relax your grip, your rider is released and is slowly sinking.
Old     (mobv)      Join Date: Jun 2002       05-30-2006, 10:39 AM Reply   
I can't imagine that advanced riders would want this. Eliminate the ability of a "miracle" recovery. My son gets made when I stop the boat before he lets go of the rope. I pray that he is never wrapped up.
Old     (phaeton)      Join Date: Feb 2002       05-30-2006, 11:06 AM Reply   
The more tricks you try will increase the chances of getting wrapped in the rope or handle.
Old     (boarditup)      Join Date: Jan 2004       05-31-2006, 8:35 AM Reply   
Should have a working release for testing on Thursday night.

Miracle recoveries are great. However, many don't end well.

In show skiing whenever another part of the body other than the hand is in contact with the handle or any other part of the rope, a release must be used. In trick skiing, toe tricks must use a release. In kneeboarding, any wrap more than 360 (handle touching rope, set up for a 1080 or greater, etc.) must use a release.

My intent, at 42 and getting older, is to ride as long as I can as hard as I can. The release is one way to reduce one popular injury type. So I may have a trick or two blown by an over cautious release operator - bid deal. I get to ride again when the boat comes back. No trick is worth my wrist or shoulder.
Old    norcalbrdrydr            05-31-2006, 1:08 PM Reply   
What happens if the observer releases the line and you drop the handle. Good bye $150?
Old     (boarditup)      Join Date: Jan 2004       06-01-2006, 2:48 PM Reply   
Most float. Spectra floats. Check before.

Good bye wrist?
Old     (boarditup)      Join Date: Jan 2004       06-05-2006, 6:20 AM Reply   
Here is the photo of the prototype. It works well once we got the chamfers right to fit the tower pylon.

Let me know if you think there should be any changes to the design. As of now, any changes can easily be incorporated. This was developed using a MasterCraft tower. CC, Malibu, and others will be made as we have access to the tower pylon mounts.
Old     (TeamAllen)      Join Date: Feb 2013       06-27-2013, 6:55 PM Reply   
I know this a revival of an old thread, but after searching it was the only one I could find about rope safety releases.

I don't know what happened to Karl's product? There is currently a group buy on the Comptech product. Just google, "Comptech Safety Trick Release Group Buy"


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