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How and what size surf leash to choose?

Choosing your surf leash

Created in the late 1950s by Frenchman Georges Hennebutte, the leash is an essential accessory for all surfers. It connects the board to the surfer's ankle. In the event of a fall, the leash means you won't lose your board and have to swim to the beach. Or, worse still, to see it smash against rocks or someone else. For optimum use and maximum safety, it's important to choose the right leash. Discover the different selection criteria!

1) Choose the right leash for your board

This is undoubtedly the first criterion for selecting a leash. Depending on the size of board used, the size of the leash needs to be longer or shorter. As a leash is rather elastic, if it proves to be too short, it could lead to a collision between the board and the surfer. So, here are the leash sizes to choose according to your board:

2) Choose your leash to suit the waves and the spot

Depending on the conditions, you may need to adapt the length of your leash for your own safety and that of other surfers around you. In heavy conditions, it's best to use a longer leash. Once again, this avoids the risk of catching your board on the head. For example, if you're surfing a 5'9 shortboard in big conditions (waves of 2 meters or more), change your usual leash (normally a 6′ leash) for a 7-foot leash.

Depending on the type of spot, you may need to choose a different leash. If you're surfing on a reef spot (coral or rocky bottom), you'll need to choose a shorter leash to prevent it from getting caught in the coral or rocky bottom and putting you in danger.

3) Choose your leash according to your level

The size of the leash should also be adapted to your level. If you're a beginner, we recommend a longer leash to reduce the risk of impact with the board. Conversely, a more experienced surfer will choose a shorter leash, which will enable him/her to get more speed on the waves, as the leash will offer less resistance and drag less behind him/her.

A few tips for maintaining your leash

A leash needs to be maintained regularly to avoid breaking in the middle of a session. The first piece of advice we can give you is to always have a spare in your trunk in case of breakage. This will enable you to continue surfing even if your leash breaks after the first fall. Secondly, never let your leash get rolled up or knotted. This will weaken it and increase the risk of breakage. Similarly, don't wrap your leash around the tail of your board when putting it away. If the leash gets in the way, detach it from the board instead. This practice damages not only the leash but also the board's rails.

Can I surf without a leash?

It is indeed possible to surf without a leash. But there are a few conditions to be met. Firstly, you must be sure that you can manage without your board in the event of a fall. Try at all costs to catch your board during the wipe-out to avoid having to fetch it from the shore. Secondly, never surf without a leash if there are people around. If you do, you risk injuring someone and incurring the wrath of other surfers in the water. In any case, if you're a beginner and haven't yet mastered all aspects of surfing, don't do it. Surfing without a leash is very pleasant, but in many cases should be avoided.