Are You Using Your Leash Wrong?
There was a bit of surf news making the rounds last week, as Byron Bay officially made surf leashes a legal requirement for all surfers.
Meanwhile, the Duct Tape Invitational longboard contest just wrapped up in Macumba, Brazil this week—a contest where leashes are strictly prohibited.
The subject of surf leashes tends to get unusually heated, as everyone who is in favor of leashes has a story of nearly getting beheaded by a loose board, lost by someone not wearing one.
And conversely, everyone who prefers not to wear a leash has a story about nearly getting beheaded by someone who was reckless with their board, thinking that the leash would somehow cover-up their careless behavior.
Rather than wade into the waters of the leash versus no leash debate, I want to offer some advice...
The best way to use a leash is to surf like you aren't wearing one.
Think of it like a seat belt—it's great to have when you need it, but it's better not to need it at all.
Meaning... practice kicking out of waves instead of just falling and allowing the leash to save your board from a long swim in.
I don't typically surf with a leash, unless the waves are particularly big or the lineup is particularly crowded. But there have been many, many waves that I have paddled for and ultimately let pass because there were too many surfers paddling back out on the inside, or I was too deep and knew my odds of making the drop were slim.
I never let go of my board when I'm paddling out or duck-diving, because that is one of the most dangerous things you can do for anyone else who might be paddling out behind you.
Whether or not you prefer to surf with a leash it is so important to time your paddle outs, pick your waves carefully, and control your equipment at all times.