Need advice on which leash is best for your surfboard? In this article, we will cover all you need to know to select the ideal leash for your surfboard. Looking for a replacement leash for your surfboard, or are not sure which one to get for your first? What follows, then, is a rundown of the most important criteria to consider while shopping for a surfboard leash.
When looking for a new leash for your surfboard, the first thing you should consider is the length. A leash should be the same length as your surfboard, thus if your board is 6 feet long, your leash should be as well. If your surfing board is shorter than 6 feet, you will need a 6’0 leash, which is the shortest size typically sold at surf stores. Everything in between will be rounded up or down, depending on your decision.
Many manufacturers also provide varying leash widths, often between 5mm and 7mm. Thinner leashes, also called light leashes, are more convenient due to their reduced weight and bulk, but they are also weaker. Although this is seldom a serious issue, for lesser-volume boards it can be. Leashes with more thickness are preferable for surfing larger, heavier waves or on boards with more volume. Most surfers find that 6mm leash thickness (also called “comp leashes”) offers the best balance of strength and comfort, whereas 7mm leashes are the standard for longboards.
The cuff, or attachment point around your ankle, is the primary point of differentiation between various leashes and manufacturers. In general, the cuffs on more expensive leashes are more flexible and less restrictive. They may tout flashy, but ultimately meaningless, features like “fast release,” but it is the cuff that makes all the difference. Here, I would suggest trying on a few different options until you find the one that feels right.
Longboarders have the option of wearing the cuff either around the ankle or the knee; however, they also have this choice. The knee (or calf) leash features a larger cuff that sits above the calf muscle and just beneath the knee, in contrast to the ankle leash, which is the same as any other shortboard leash. The only other option available to me on my log is the knee leash. Not only does it keep the leash out of the way during board walking and nose riding, but also (and perhaps more significantly), I think knee leashes are much more safe and comfortable given the weight of longboards because that area of your leg is much stronger than the rest of your leg.
Finally, swivels are a helpful component of many surfboard leashes; nevertheless, they are sometimes overlooked. This is because they prevent the leash from being tangled whether you are paddling, sitting, or surfing, all of which are common activities. Less costly leashes often have single swivels, which are typically positioned at the board end of the leash. In contrast, more expensive leashes typically have twin swivels, which significantly minimize the possibility of tangling, and are typically located at the handle end of the leash.