Created at the end of the 1950s by the French Georges Hennebutte , the leash is an essential accessory for all surfers. Thus, it connects the board to the surfer’s ankle. In the event of a fall, the leash therefore allows you not to lose your board and not have to swim to the edge of the beach. Or worse, to see it explode against rocks or against someone else. For optimal use and maximum safety, it is important to choose the right leash. Discover the different selection criteria!
1) Choose your leash according to your board
This is undoubtedly the first criterion for selecting a leash. Depending on the size of the board used, the size of the leash should be shorter or longer. A leash being rather elastic, if it turns out to be too short, it could cause a collision between the board and the rider. So, here are the leash sizes to choose from depending on your board:
- For a board between 5 ′ and 6 ′ ( shortb o ard or hybrid type ) : prefer a 6 ′ leash
- For a board between 6 ′ and 7 ′ ( fish or softboard type ) : prefer a 7 ′ leash
- For a board between 7 ′ and 8 ′ ( egg type ) : prefer an 8 ′ leash
- For a board between 8 ′ and 9 ′ ( longboards and mini-malibu type ) : prefer a 9 ′ leash
2) Choose your leash according to the waves and the spot
Depending on the conditions, it is sometimes necessary to adapt the length of your leash for your own safety and that of other surfers around. In heavy conditions, it is better to use a longer leash. Once again, this will avoid the risk of taking your board in the head. For example, if you are surfing on a 5’9 shortboard in big conditions (waves of 2 meters and more), change your usual leash (normally 6 ′ leash) for a 7 feet leash.
Depending on the type of spot, it may be necessary to choose a different leash. If you are surfing on a reef spot (on a coral or rock bottom), you will have to choose a shorter leash to prevent it from getting stuck in the corals or the rocky bottom and putting you in danger. .
3) Choose your leash according to your level
The size of the leash should also be suitable for your level. If you are a beginner , we advise you to take a longer leash which will reduce the risk of impact with the board. Conversely, an experienced surfer will choose a shorter leash which will allow him to get more speed on the waves because the leash will offer less resistance and will drag less behind him.
Some tips for maintaining your leash
A leash must be maintained regularly so as not to break 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 allow you to continue surfing even if your leash breaks after the first fall. Second, never allow your leash to twist or tie itself up. This will weaken it and increase the risk of breakage. Likewise, do not wrap your leash around the tail of the board when storing it. If the leash gets in the way, detach it from the board instead. This practice damages not only the leash but also the rails of the board.
Can I surf without a leash?
It is indeed possible to surf without a leash. But you have to meet certain conditions. First, you need to be sure that you can manage without your board in the event of a fall. Try to catch up with your board during the wipe-out at all costs to avoid having to pick it up on the edge. Next, never surf without a leash if there are people around. This could hurt someone and get the wrath of other surfers in the water. Either way, if you are a beginner and haven’t mastered all aspects of surfing yet, then don’t. Surfing without a leash is very pleasant, but it is still a practice to be avoided in many cases.