By Owen Pye
Believe it or not, there was a time when you had to paddle out through big surf without a leash. It seems crazy now, like driving around without any seatbelts, but for a while you didn’t have a way of staying tethered to your board.
This inevitably led to some extremely fit riders back then – I mean let’s face it, how many times on a big day have you had your board blasted out of your hands by duckdiving in front of the lip of an approaching set? Without a leash you’d be swimming all the way back in every time to retrieve it, and that’s if you could find it.
There’s many a tail of early riders finally getting back to the beach and being disappointed, their pride and joy long gone in a cross-shore rip.
Not to mention bailing. Alright fess up, when was the last time you had to bail to make it through a macking set wave breaking top-to-bottom feet in front of you? The concept of bailing didn’t exist pre-leash, not in paddling out anyway. You couldn’t casually slide off your board and swim deep, safe in the knowledge your sled would pop up reliably next to you after you resurfaced.
Nope – leashes are the ultimate insurance policy, giving you the confidence to tackle bigger waves, and get the odd washing machine treatment without it being followed by a marathon swim. They’re super strong to handle big surf, coiled to return the board quicker to you, and swivelled to stay out of your way and not get tangled.
That’s why picking the right leash is so important – in fact if there’s one thing you shouldn’t skimp on getting right, it’s your leash … not just for your convenience, but for your water safety. Why not check out the video with US bodyboarding legend Jay Reale to get the lowdown on which leash to choose.