A surf leash is an essential piece of equipment that attaches your surfboard to your ankle, keeping you connected even when wiping out. However, putting a surf leash on correctly is important for safety and performance. Follow these steps to properly attach and use your surfboard leash.
Parts of a Surf Leash
Surf leashes consist of three components:
- Ankle cuff – Neoprene or comfy fabric strap that secures around your ankle or calf
- Leash cord – Durable urethane cord a few meters long
- Board plug – Plastic attachment that strings the leash through your board
Understanding the parts ensures you connect them properly.
Select the Proper Leash
Choose an appropriate leash for your skill level and board type:
- Beginners – Opt for 8-10 foot leashes with wide ankle cuffs for more flotation
- Shortboards – Use 6 foot leashes so the cord doesn’t snag your fins
- Longboards – Length can be 6-10 feet since less duckdiving
- Big wave guns – 10+ foot leashes keep you linked to the board in huge surf
Having the right leash for you and your board keeps things functioning well.
Step 1: Thread the Ankle Cuff
The first step is threading the cuff:
- Loosen the cuff velcro and wrap around your ankle or calf
- Ensure it’s snug but not uncomfortably tight
- The leash should sit just above your ankle bone
- Calf cuffs add more security for bigger, overhead waves
Proper cuff placement keeps the leash from slipping while surfing.
Step 2: Attach the Board Plug
Next, insert the board plug:
- Push the molded urethane plug through your board’s leash plug hole
- This hole is found near the tail’s center usually marked by a leash icon
- Ensure the plug sits flush within the hole rim
- Tug firmly to guarantee it’s secured in place
Inserting the plug on your deck completes the board connection.
Step 3: Connect the Cord
Now its time to fasten the leash cord:
- Clip one metal swivel connector to the d-ring on the ankle cuff
- Attach the other swivel clip to the ring on the board plug
- This allows the leash to rotate freely to prevent cord twisting
- Double check clips are fastened securely through both rings
Connecting the cord means you’re fully rigged up!
Step 4: Stow Excess Cord
Finally, neatly stow any excess cord:
- Excess leash cord can tangle with your feet or fins
- Coil extra length tightly and secure to the leash about mid-calf
- An elastic leg rope or velcro wraps help keep coiled
- Check coil hold during your first few waves
Stowing excess keeps cord from compromising control while surfing.
Using Your Surf Leash
Once attached be sure to use your leash properly:
- Keep slack out of cord to prevent snags with fins
- Detach leash before exiting the water to avoid tripping
- Rinse sand and saltwater off after sessions to prevent deterioration
- Check for cracks or damage after major wipeouts
- Replace leashes every 1-2 years depending on use
Proper leash use means more waves caught and less hazards encountered!
Attaching your surf leash only takes a minute but is a critical safety step before paddling out. With the right leash and good technique, you can surf safely and confidently knowing you won’t part with your board.
Frequently Asked Questions About Surf Leashes
Surf leashes provide crucial peace of mind while riding waves. Here are answers to common questions about properly rigging up:
Where exactly should the leash be attached on my ankle?
Right above the ankle bone helps keep the cuff secured during duckdives and wipeouts. Be sure it’s not too tight to allow blood flow.
Can the leash cord get tangled with my surfboard fins?
Yes, excess leash cord can get tangled with fins causing control issues. That’s why neatly stowing any extra length is key for performance and safety.
How do I know when to replace an old leash?
Inspect leashes periodically for cracking, cuts, and hard or brittle cord. Swivel joints should spin freely too. Replace annually or if damage appears compromised.
Should my leash length match my surfboard size?
Somewhat. Longer 10+ foot leashes allow more freedom on longboards, while leashes around 6 feet are ideal for average shortboards so they don’t snag fins.
Can I use the same leash with different surfboards?
You can but it’s ideal to have a designated leash for each board that fits in the plug properly. Switching leashes between boards risks losing the loose one.
Why do big wave leashes have a red attachment?
The red “sausage” shows lifeguards and water patrol you likely broke your leash so they know to rescue your free-floating board.
Should I detach my leash before I exit the water?
Yes! Removing the leash prevents it snagging on rocks or your ankle as you walk out, which could pull you back into surf and injure you.
Proper leash use is imperative for staying linked to your board while surfing. Follow these tips so wrists remain worry-free in the waves!