A surfboard leash is a tubing that attaches a surfboard to a surfer’s ankle, allowing for easier recovery after a wipeout. It can be made of varying thicknesses and lengths, with modern leashes made of urethane. The thickness and length of the leash should match the size of the waves and the board, respectively. Originally made of surgical tubing, modern leashes often include a cuff and a pocket for personal items.
A surfboard leash is a length of tubing, which can be made from a variety of materials that is used to attach a surfboard to a surfer. This is typically connected to a surfer’s ankle, freeing up the hands for the motions needed to maneuver on the board. A surfboard leash can be made in varying degrees of thickness, as thinner ropes create less drag but aren’t as strong, and are typically used in water with small waves. The length of a leash often matches that of the board itself, so a surfer can keep it close but still have room to move.
Originally, surfboards didn’t have any sort of strap or leash, and surfers had to keep track of their boards and swim behind them. As surfers realized that using a surfboard leash allowed them to recover more quickly from a wipeout, it became a fairly standard addition to most boards. These straps were originally made from surgical tubing, but the extreme stretch of the strings resulted in injuries when the board snapped back at high-speed surfers. A modern surfboard leash is often made of urethane, which is elastic but does not retract as forcefully.
The basic design of a surfboard leash is fairly simple and often consists of a length of tubing with one end that connects to a board. At the other end is typically a cuff that can wrap around a surfer’s ankle to keep the board in close proximity after a fall. Some leashes may also include a pocket or pouch that can be used for keys and other items a surfer wants to keep around.
There are two main considerations a surfer should keep in mind when choosing a surfboard leash, which are its thickness and length. The thickness of a leash is typically directly proportional to the size of the waves a surfer expects to encounter. Big waves often require a thick surfboard leash to ensure that waves cannot break it, while a thin leash is sufficient for smaller waves. A thicker strap creates more resistance while surfing, so most surfers choose a size that is appropriate but not too big.
The length of a surfboard leash is determined by the length of the board it is attached to. Most straps are roughly the same length as the board itself, usually rounded up when there is a difference. A surfer with a 7-foot (about 2.13 meters) board typically uses a 7-foot (about 2.13 meters) leash. This keeps the board close enough for easy recovery, yet provides enough clearance to avoid injury in the event of a wipeout.