The leash, or leg rope as it is also known, is used to attach your board to your leg. It's an absolutely invaluable piece of surfing equipment for several reasons. It's main purpose is to ensure that you're never totally separated by your surfboard. Here are some other reasons to have a quality leash.
- After falling off, you don't have to go swimming back to the beach to retrieve your board. This saves you a big swim every time you bail.
- You're able to increase your recovery time after coming off because your board is right there to get back onto.
- Your board will be protected from being washed up on rocks or other obstructions if lost.
- It acts as a safety stop if you're out in the waves and getting pounded. Your board will be on the surface, and you'll still be attached to it.
- It keeps your board under control and less of a hazard to other surfers paddling out behind you.
One end of the leash is attached to a plug (aptly named the leash plug) near the tail of the surfboard. The other end is attached to the surfers back leg by a Velcro strap (often called the cuff). Depending on the type of leash, it will either be attached just above the ankle or around the top of the calf.
Parts of the Leash
The cord is typically made of polyurethane. The thicker the width of the cord, the stronger the leash will be and the less likely your cord will break. Thicker cords create more drag than thinner ones.
The cuff is the part that attaches around the leg. Velcro is used to hold it in place. Choose a cuff that looks comfortable and that will stay nice and snug when you surf. Also consider one with a key pocket so you can take your car key out with you for security. (Just make sure it's not an electronic key!)
The Rail Saver
The job of the rail saver is to protect the surfboard's rails from the cord. When you come off your board and the leash pulls tightly, there can be a lot of pressure on the rail. The wider and longer the rail saver, the more protection is given to the board. However, large rail savers tend to create more drag. The rail saver is the end that attaches to the leash cord, which in turn attaches to the leash plug on the surfboard.
The cord connection between the cuff and the rail are sometimes on a swivel joint. A swivel helps keep the leash from getting tangled up around the surfer's feet.