If you didn’t know, then a SUP leash is an important safety device on the board the same as PFD (personal floating device). It’s a recommendation for everyone, especially beginners. Think of it more like wearing a seatbelt rather than a suggestion that is skippable.
Share this Image On Your Site
There have been multiple tragic events where lives were lost due to a frivolous attitude towards safety gear on the water. And those did not involve only newcomers to this sport.
So, be responsible while on the water and stay safe.
Ok, that’s enough scolding, let’s get back to the leashes.
While an experienced paddler would know quite a lot about them, a beginner might be confused from the paddle board leash choice.
Let’s check them out.
SUP leash types
There are two types of paddle board leashes – straight and coiled. And they are attached to either waist, calf, or ankle. Although one type can be more popular over another depending on the activity and personal preferences.
This type of leash is very popular in surfing. The reason behind that is the possible collision with your board. The straight leash does not have the spring back effect that a coiled one has. So the surfboard stays in a safe distance from the surfer.
Also, it doesn’t get in the way as the leash is trailing behind the board as you surf.
Usually, it’s already quite long, but as a general guideline, a straight leash should be as long as the board itself if you use it for surfing. Other than that, it can be shorter.
However, it isn’t strictly bound to surfing. It can also be used in flat or moving water paddling. But you’d need to tuck it somewhere so that it doesn’t drag in the water. Otherwise, it could get tangled up in seaweed or other obstacles.
Typical usage for this type of leash includes flatwater paddling and racing as coiled leash sits comfortably on the board itself and is out of water. That way, there is no drag from it, and the paddler is not slowed down. It may not seem much at first, but in racing, every bit adds up.
Due to that, coiled leashes typically are quite short.
And because of their nature (spring back effect), they are not recommended for surfing. You wouldn’t want to get hit by your own SUP board.
Quick release leash
We mentioned two types of leashes – straight and coiled. So why did we list the third type? Well, this SUP leash doesn’t differ a lot from either of those two.
It can be both – straight and coiled or simply as an attachment to one. The only difference which separates it from the other types is that it’s a buckle with a toggle to it.
This allows the paddler to separate from the board in case of an emergency quickly. That’s especially handy in white water paddling where you can’t anticipate all the underwater obstacles or the water in the river isn’t clear enough.
SUP leash attachment
As mentioned before then the paddle board leash attaches in three ways – to waist, calf, or ankle.
Each has its benefits and best usage.
Waist SUP leash
This leash usually is used in SUP racing and whitewater river paddling. It typically attaches to paddlers PFD or is worn on its own around the waist as a belt.
It’s especially useful in whitewater paddling if you are blocked by some obstacles – trees, rocks, etc., and need to detach from your board frequently and fast.
Only make sure that it’s attached so that in any situation, you can reach it easily with both hands for quick detachment.
For racing, on the other hand, it’s useful in the last sprint in technical beach format. And on top of that, it doesn’t get in the way when you’re moving on your board.
Typically these are coiled with exceptions like some quick release leashes.
Calf SUP leash
Calf leash is also quite common in SUP racing. Same as for waist leash, it’s not dragging in the water, and it does not tangle up, thus not limiting your movements and slowing you down.
It’s more of a personal preference which one to use in racing – calf or waist leash.
But it’s not limited only to racing. It can also be used for flatwater paddling. Try to avoid fast-moving rivers with it, though as detaching from it would be quite tricky.
Practically all calf leashes are coiled.
Ankle SUP leash
This leash is quite popular among paddle-boarders, especially around first-time paddlers. The most common use for this leash is flatwater paddling. However, it is also widely popular among surfers.
These mostly are straight leashes, often quite long to keep the board in a safe distance, which for example, is quite essential in surfing.
Make sure you pick the correct paddle board leash for a specific activity. Otherwise, it could be potentially dangerous both to you and paddlers around you.
Her’s an example of how does a coiled and a straight SUP leash look like.