About Us

Inventor and world market leader of Full Size Cables

Who We Are

We are RIXEN – inventor and world market leader of Full Size Cables.

Bruno Rixen developed a revolutionary idea in the 1960s: water skiing with a cableway. With his invention he created a new sport: water skiing without a boat.

In the past years, RIXEN has realized far more than 500 water ski facilities, from planning and approval to construction. Specialized with the production and distribution of full size cables, the customized planning of holistic cable park projects as well as the support throughout the entire project life cycle, RIXEN has made a name for itself as market leader worldwide. A worthwhile investment thanks to state-of-the-art technology, the highest safety standards and the decades of experience of our employees. 

We make water sports attractively accessible to all segments of the population and create a sustainable awareness for the valuable asset of water.

The beginning of a new era

The suitable successor was found – In 2018, Bruno Rixen went into well-earned retirement. Dr. Richard Söhnchen, a watersport enthusiast, bought the RIXEN assets. Synergies result from the activities of Dr. Söhnchen’s group of companies, especially with the rope testing company Winspect GmbH and Autision Group GmbH. The group, with more than 150 employees, is an association of independent, medium-sized companies with complementary expertise in robotics, metrology and surface inspection.

Dr. Richard Söhnchen’s mission is to further develop Bruno Rixen’s invention as well as to uphold his ideals and goals within the company.

“As CEO and owner, I am proud to continue to develop our sport based on Bruno Rixen’s achievements. Also in the future we want to offer you investment security as market leader for water ski cableways. Convince yourself of the possibilities of RIXEN Cableway GmbH.” Dr. Richard Söhnchen


„E-Mobility on Water“: How Bruno Rixen Invented a Sport

Bruno Rixen (*1931), a trained automotive mechanic, went on a short trip to Europe with a friend after completing his mechanical engineering studies. In Holland, the two had the opportunity to go water skiing behind a motorboat. This experience was very impressive for Mr. Rixen. Therefore, after the trip, he immediately thought about how he could make this water skiing experience possible for himself and many others without the expensive motor boat. He always asked himself the question why this wonderful sport is not more popular and started to look into this issue in detail. Market research always led to two crucial points: at the boat too expensive and too few opportunities with too long waiting times.

Bruno developed a water ski cableway over several years and applied for 37 patents. As an enthusiastic sportsman, he wanted to make this wonderful sport accessible to a wide population. Many technical problems had to be overcome in the beginning. Bruno Rixen’s engineering skills and perseverance made it possible to implement his idea. Under his leadership, the RIXEN company developed into the market leader for water ski cableways. His comprehensive know-how enabled Bruno Rixen to expand his company from a one-man operation to the world market leader in full-size cables. more than 500 RIXEN cableways worldwide.

Over the years, the demands of riders and cable operators on our product have grown steadily. We have always met these challenges with continuous and precise development work and have thus been able to fulfil all requirements in the best possible way. In addition to water skiing, wakeboarding has become the trend sport. Whereas in the past the water ski cableways were driven by the electric motor by means of V-belts, over the years a proven technology with electronic control and frequency converters as well as the most modern joystick control panel has found its way in. All control components come from our internationally renowned partner “SEW (Eurodrive GmbH & Co. KG)” The 22KW drive motor we use is highly efficient and also quiet, reliable and perfectly matched to the requirements. The operating interface for settings, troubleshooting and service routines is accessed via a web application.


Farewell to the Cable God

On 30.11.2020 we received with great sadness the news of Bruno Rixen's death. His desire was always to serve the community through his visions and to make water skiing and wakeboarding accessible to all people. He therefore stood like no other for these values that continue to drive and motivate us today and into the future. He didn't just shape this industry: he created it.

The Beginning of a New Era

The suitable successor was found - In 2018, Bruno Rixen went into well-deserved retirement. Dr. Richard Söhnchen, an enthusiastic water sportsman, bought the Rixen assets.

Federal Cross of Merit to Bruno Rixen

In 2012 Bruno Rixen is honored with the Cross of Merit on Ribbon of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany and the Golden Badge of Honor for special achievements and merits in the field of water ski cableways by the German Water Ski and Wakeboard Association DWWV.

Emergence of the Two-Mast System

2008 - The two mast system was invented. An important development for the spread of water skiing & wakeboarding, requiring only 10% of the water surface and the investment of a track with 5 masts.

Wakeboarding Becomes a Trend Sport

With the invention of the today known wakeboard by Herb O'Brien in 1990, and the subsequent rapid spread also in Europe, the form of the water ski facility also changed. The long straight tracks for slalom championships, for example, lost their importance. The water ski facility developed more and more into a cable park.

The First Water Ski Championship

In 1969, the first water ski championship on a cableway was organized by Bruno Rixen, the cableway king. Since then, national and international championships have been held regularly at all ropeways. After the requirement was fulfilled that ropeway water ski clubs existed in 10 countries, an official European championship could be held for the first time in Langenfeld in 1985. Approximately 14,000 spectators attended! The demands made on the ropeway by the competitors were considerable. But so were the demands on reliability, because in the event of damage, the ropeway could not be replaced by another one. Bruno Rixen was able to face these challenges calmly at that time. He had gained valuable knowledge during the competitions and implemented it technically.

The first cable car goes into service

Finally, in 1966, the first commercial water ski cableway with towline automation was built in Benidorm on the Mediterranean Sea in Spain. A catch fork catches the ball rope of the tow lines and transfers it to a small transport cable. This transports it down to the control station, where the towline handle remains in the magazine and the ball rope is then stored in the upper magazine. There, a total of 12 towlines can be kept ready for launching. A few years later, the automatic towline system was given a pneumatic control system. In the meantime, 70,000 operating hours have been exceeded in 55 years in Benidorm alone and the system is still being operated successfully despite the most difficult operating conditions (in the sea, long season).

An Idea Is Born

The idea of the water ski cableway was put into practice. After considerable expenditure of time and money with prototypes during two summers, there was no turning back. In 1961 Bruno Rixen founded his first company "Rixen Seilbahnen". In addition to the numerous technical challenges, financial problems quickly arose in the beginning, but Bruno Rixen drew his energy and vision from many experiences of success and above all from his joy of water skiing.

The First 2 Patents

Another problem was the rope twist. The circulating rope twisted around itself. Often, the towline would wrap around the revolving rope and get crushed by the next pulley. Bruno developed a solution for this as well: the two-rope principle, one of Bruno's first two patents. Bruno applied for his second patent on the launch principle. In order to make good use of his water ski cableway, it had to be possible to hook and unhook riders without having to stop the cableway. This was the biggest challenge for the pioneer. After months of brainstorming, he came up with a simple solution: it was not necessary to start under the circulating rope, but at the side at a distance from the towline at a 90° angle to the direction of travel.

The First Attempts

After years of pondering the possibility of water skiing without a motorboat, the first prototype for a water ski cableway on Lake Bordesholm was finally created. Deflection wheels, removed from a combine harvester, were suspended in trees, and a borrowed Bulldog tractor served as the drive. The start on Bruno Rixen's self-made skis worked immediately. However, Bruno could only keep on his skis until the first turn. There the tow line went slack and was subsequently torn out of his hand. Later, buoys were set in the lake, because Bruno noticed that his speed remained constant when he made an outward turn in front of the pulley.