Picking out the best surfboard leash is not as simple as it seems. While a beginner might not see the difference, they will feel it on their first wipe-out.
Those who don’t invest in good leashes usually need to swim to the shore sooner rather than later.
Thankfully, in this case, the price can be a good measurement of quality, which makes picking out a solid leash easier. But, even in the higher range, there are those that stand out with their durability and flexibility and those that will not pass muster.
If you are an experienced surfer, you will love to know that leashes became cheaper and are now making less drag than ever. If you are just starting, you will like to know that new materials made most of the cords very durable.
If you pick out a good board leash, it ought to last you for a very long time, provided that you take proper care of it.
Why Do You Need a Surf Leash?
Unless you plan on your surfing sesh to double as swimming practice, you will need a leash.
Having a leash is not only convenient when you fall down and don’t need to swim after your board, but it is also safer.
First of all, your board is a flotation device and, in case you breathe in a bit of water, you can protect yourself by holding onto it while you cough out what doesn’t belong in your lungs.
Additionally, if you leave your board to surf without you, there is a possibility that it will hit another person, which can cause some nasty injuries.
Finally, having a leash protects your board as well, as it prevents it from flying off onto rocks or hitting the shore hard, which may damage your gear.
Best Surfboard Leashes on the Market Today
There are a few deal breakers when it comes to buying a surfboard leash.
The leash you use, if you want it to be safe and effective, needs to be longer than the board, and longer than your height, whichever number is bigger.
This was a long-time issue for those who are on the taller side and prefer riding shortboards.
Thankfully, most of the best surfboard leashes have their longer variant, without needing to add to the thickness of the cord.
Every part of this leash is reinforced, giving a lot of merit to their claim that it is the strongest leash in the world.
The cord itself is made from a polyurethane composite plastic, meaning that it should have a pull strength of over 500lbs, which will be more than enough even in the toughest of waters.
Theoretically, the plastic will degrade in salt and sun over time, but it should hold its strength for decades.
All of the other pieces are either webbed or reinforced with stainless steel, or both. The swivel points, which are usually the weakest part of the leash, are all high-carbon steel, and they will not break under any normal conditions.
Finally, the One-XT is very comfortable to wear, and it leaves no marks, even after a wipe-out.
- Polyurethane cord
- No joints
- Webbed rail saver
- Stainless steel swivel
- Easy to maintain
This surfboard leash has most of the features you would expect from a professional model but made accessible to anyone.
The great Dane Comp himself designed the leash, and it is a sight to behold. The aquamarine color really stands out, and there is the famous hex symbol on the brace.
The cord itself is made from a composite of plastic, rubber, and metal, making it very sturdy, which still able to stretch and bend without any issues.
The swivel is quite precise, meaning that you won’t feel any pull on your leg while wearing the leash.
Finally, and there is an emphasis on sustainability and eco-friendliness, both with the materials and the packaging.
- Composite cord
- Precision joints & swivels
- Easy to see in the water
This leash comes with some high expectations, as it is signed by one of the best surfers in the world today. And it delivers.
The neoprene cuff is very comfortable and nicely padded, leaving no place for chafing or marks.
Additionally, the ankle cuff has a quick release pull in case you want to detach yourself from the board quickly and safely.
The cord is simple, yet effective. The mixture of plastic and rubber makes the connection very durable and yet flexible enough, so it doesn’t bother you while you surf.
With all the tests that were made on this leash, it should be able to withstand quite a beating, which is to be expected if you want to be on your way to emulate JJF Kainui.
- Very durable composite cord
- Neoprene ankle cuff
- Padded & Comfortable
- Marine grade steel swivels
- Quick release pull
- Easy to clean and maintain
Being conscious about the preservation of the environment, and especially the ocean, is an important aspect of being a mindful surfer. And this leash focuses exactly on that.
The cord is made entirely from recycled plastic, that had been melded and tempered to reach the strength and durability needed even for the biggest waves.
The ankle cuff, apart from being quite comfortable and tight, has a very strong Velcro strap that will not come off any time soon unless you peel it.
Finally, the cuff has a small key stash on it, which is really a nice feature, especially for those who often surf alone.
- Durable plastic cord
- Comfortable cuff
- Leg-rope swivel technology
- Very strong Velcro straps
This leash has more in common with custom made competitive surfing gear than anything else. It is light, tight, and bright, and is a good choice for those who plan on competing but don’t yet have a sponsor.
Both the cord and the cuff are very light and almost unnoticeable on the ankle.
The cord doesn’t tangle, and the patent technology is preventing it from ever wrapping around your ankle.
The same lack of tangling could be expected from the cuff as well, as the little suction cups multiple the surface contact of the rubber. This also makes it incredibly comfortable.
Finally, the fact that the cord is threaded plastic means that it can suspend a piano, let alone your board during a wipe-out.
- Extremely durable cord
- Very comfortable cuff
- No tangling
- Steel piston swivels
- Simple to maintain
Quick Surfboard Leash Buyer’s Guide
While the main point about leashes is quite simple, it being a piece of rope that ties you to the board, when buying the best surfboard leashes there are some additional aspects to look out for.
Length, elasticity, firmness, and strength, all need to be in perfect balance so to provide you with the best surfing experience possible.
Once you know that the leash you pick out will always serve its purpose, you can focus on it being applicable for your specific style of surfing, or your taste.
Finally, while eco-friendliness is not something that impacts your individual experience, taking care of the ocean and the environment will mean that there will be surfers long after we hang our boards on the wall.
The leash always needs to be longer than the board. If you are using a shortboard, which is usually around 5’6’’, a 6 feet cord will be enough.
Additionally, if you are taller than 6’4”, you will want to pick out a longer cord than this, to be on the safe side.
Finally, if you are using a longboard, the cord needs to be longer than that.
This is a very simple rule, but it is quite effective when picking out a leash.
The cord must not be too rigid.
You want it to fall easily on the side and not to pull on your leg due to drag or similar issues.
Also, during a wipe-out, you want the leash to take on some of the force of the board pulling away from your leg, and not transfer all of it to your ankle.
There is nothing worse than a flimsy leash.
Both the cord and the swivel need to have some degree of firmness so that they don’t tangle and wrap around your foot.
Easy way to test this is to hold both sides of the leash in one hand and place your fist directly underneath. If the cord is touching the other hand, then it will not be firm enough.
Finally, you want your cord not to break the first time you fall off the board.
Consider both the weight of the board, as well as your own weight. The leash should be able to suspend double of your combined loads, at least.
Thankfully, picking out a good leash has become much easier over the years, as the technology is advancing and even the top-range models are becoming accessible to everyone.
But, if you want to pick out the best surfboard leashes on the market, you will need to consider all of the aspects and pick out the one that will be best for you.
If you take some time to learn and think, you are certain to make a good choice and to have your board tightly attached to your ankle in no time.