Surf leashes are a ubiquitous part of surfing. I occasionally surf without a leash if I’m longboarding, but when I’m on a shortboard I always have one on. Let’s face it: leashes make surfing a lot easier, especially if you’re shortboarding and trying to improve your turns and maneuvers you’re going to fall a lot – everyone does.
Most surfboard leashes are basically the same, but the best ones are made with quality materials. However, I have to say that there are NO guarantees about surf leashes: they can and do break. So don’t go betting your life on one!
Choosing a leash is a bit based on what’s available and what the prices are, as well as aesthetics like color and brand. There are a few leashes that try to stand out from the crowd such as Creatures Of Leisure with their DNA Flex Mold shock absorbing connector, as well as XM’s tangle free leash and Modom’s shark repellent leashes.
Personally I’m a fan of Dakine, Modom, and Creatures Of Leisure, but as long as you’re getting a leash from a reputable brand that uses quality materials you’ll be ok with whichever brand you are keen on.
A Simple Dakine leash has always been a staple for me ever since I started surfing:
- 2 Year Limited Warranty
- Up to a shoulder high intended use
- 3/16" (5MM) highest quality urethane Dura-Cord for maximum strength
- 1.5" (40MM) molded neoprene ankle cuff
- Posi-Lock hook & loop closure
XM created a “tangle free” leash that has a small weight on the cord to prevent the leash from wrapping around your feet while you’re sitting in the lineup:
- Size: 6'
- Tangle-freeª slider keeps leash away from your feet
- Double swivel stand-off design
- Hook & Loop single-wrap strap
- Detachable railsaver - Key Pocket
Modom and SharkBanz teamed up to create a leash with SharkBanz proprietary shark repellent magnet technology included within the leash cuff. (Check out our SharkBanz review here.)
Surfboard Leash Tips
There’s not a lot to write about surf leashes: they’re just kind of there. Here are a few tips on leash usage:
- Don’t use your leash as a lifesaving device: don’t rely on your leash and board to save you in rough surf. Know that you can swim in if you lose your board or your leash breaks.
- Beginners should avoid just letting their board go and relying on the leash when caught inside or finishing a wave. A 9′ longboard with a 9′ leash means an 18′ circle of destruction and often beginners will let their board go only to have it hit someone else in the lineup. Be a better surfer and practice not relying on your leash so much.
- When you’re done surfing avoid wrapping your leash around the tail of your board – this causes the leash to retain that coil memory and it will be more likely to tangle around your feet when you’re surfing. To avoid this, store your leash in an extended position such as hanging from a hook.
- Replace leashes every year to reduce chances of breakage.
- Comp leashes are great for shortboards and small surf but you’ll need a regular leash for larger boards and potentially bigger surf.
- To choose leash size, round the size of your board UP to the nearest foot. A 5’10” shortboard = 6′ leash. A 7’6″ funboard = 8′ leash.
- When putting your leash on your ankle, pull it all the way out from your board first to ensure that it’s as tangle free and untwisted as possible.