Ideal for ensuring that you don't lose your board, the surfboard leash is an essential part of your surf equipment. Yet, which length should you go for? Do you want swivels? What about thickness? To make things easier, we've put everything together so that you can find the right surfboard leash whether you're a surfing beginner or seasoned pro.
The surfboard leash can also be called a leg rope.
Back in the day, surfers would surf without a leash, and so would be constantly swimming after their board, not to mention the fact that is was once seen as soft to be wearing one!
These days, thankfully, wearing a leash is commonplace.
A leash is essentially a piece of safety equipment that also helps you surf more!
The leash attaches, with a Velcro wrap, around the ankle of your back foot, and the other end of the leash is attached to the tail of the surfboard. When you fall off a wave the board stays with you. This prevents countless surfboards washing around and hitting others, and it means you have a floatation device close by at all times too.
So what are your options with all the different leashes on the market?
Well, the first thing to consider is size. Leashes can start at around 5ft and go up to beyond 10ft. The easiest rule of thumb is to go for a leash that is closest to the length of your board. Simple.
Then there is the quality of the leash. A basic leash is fine for your beginner boards and mini mals in smaller waves. With more performance-oriented boards and waves, a good leash won’t help improve your surfing but it certainly will limit it getting in the way.
The swivel prevents the leash from coiling up as the board flips over, if it coils up it can wrap around your leg, which ain’t cool when you’re trying to hop to your feet.
As above, but with even less chance of coiling up
This is a single wrap around your ankle to secure the leash
Double as secure!
the rail saver is the oblong patch that the cord attaches to and in turn attaches to the string and leash plug on the board. The rail saver is deliberately wide, to spreads the pressure when the leash snaps tight and prevents your tail or rail from getting being damaged and dinged
This also offers a Velcro release at the end of the leash that attaches to your board. This is cool for easy switching of leashes and is also good as a safety mechanism. If your leash gets caught around something you can release from your ankle and also from the board, too.
The standard leash will be stronger and more durable, the contest leash will be more refined, will often be shorter, with a thinner cord and thinner rail saver– this all adds up to less drag in the water, which means you can go faster. However, these leashes will be weaker and can snap easier in bigger, more powerful surf.
Hint: Keep the sting that attaches your leash to your board short. If the sting extends further than the tail or rail of the board, when the leash snaps tight the string could cut through the board. Make sure the rail saver covers the edge of the board. Do this by looping the string through the leash plug and attaching the rail saver to both ends of the loop.