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Why Wear a Leash? Leash Safety

Woman standing on a SUP wearing a leashTo wear a leash or not wear a leash?…that really isn’t the question.  Read on to see why everyone should wear a leash.

Leashes will prevent your board from getting away from you and flying into countless other others causing them harm.  If you are surfing your SUP consider how you would feel if your board got away from you and crashed into several other surfers before landing on the rocky beach?  Not to mention the fact that you now have to swim to get your board all the way to shore.

“But I only paddle on the bay.  Why would I need a leash?” Simple, to keep the board close to you so you don’t risk it floating away, being pushed away by a boat wake or being blown away by the wind if you fall off of it.  Leashes keeps you connected to your board in case of emergency, like injury, fatigue, rough weather or rip currents. They are a floatation device you want to keep with you.

Leashes are a very important piece of safety gear to wear when using your SUP or surf SUP.  They can be worn on either the anklecalf or around your waist (mainly used when racing).  There are even quick release leashes in case you need to get it off of you quickly due to unforeseen circumstances or when racing.

It is important to inspect your leash before you go out for any damage.  Make sure the Velcro is in good working condition and check the connection that attaches to your board.  Many leashes have a swivel mechanism to allow the leash to rotate as needed.  This mechanism can rust and corrode over time, so it is important that you rinse, dry and inspect it frequently.

Your leash should be approximately the length of your board.  This allows your board to stay within a safe distance as well as not keeping it too close to you in the case of rough waters.  If you are surfing your SUP and fall off be aware of where the board is when you fall and from what direction the waves are coming from so you don’t get hit by your board coming towards you.

Leashes come in many styles and style combinations : straight, coil, combo straight/coil, and quick release, ankle, calf and waist.  Choose a leash that best fits your needs, preferences, or race requirements.  Coil leashes are great when you don’t want to drag your leash in the water behind you or worry about stepping on it.  When they are stretched the board will recoil towards you, however it is not like a quick rubber band.

DO NOT grab the leash string (the part that attaches it to your bard) when you are retrieving your board.  You don’t want to pinch your hand between the string and the board.  Some leashes come with a handle to grab safely to avoid this pinch and some boards have handles on the tail for easy retrieval.

Wearing a leash is not just for beginners.  Everyone should wear a leash, it keeps your best floatation device close and keeps it from potentially injuring others.  Have fun picking out your leash as they come in many fun colors to suit your style.  Always check your gear before heading out onto the water and have a fun paddle!