How to choose the right surfboard leash

How to choose the right surfboard leash

The surfboard leash is an essential item for any surfer, from beginners to professionals. Its function is to keep the board close to you when you fall, improving safety and making it easier to retrieve your board. Choosing the right leash can make a big difference in your surfing experience. Here is a comprehensive guide to help you make the best decision.

1. Leash length

Leash length is one of the most important factors to consider. Generally, the leash should be approximately the same size as your surfboard or slightly longer. Here’s a quick guide:

  • Shortboards: A 6 to 7-foot leash.
  • Funboards: A 7 to 8-foot leash.
  • Longboards: A 9 to 10-foot leash.

Using a shorter leash can result in the board hitting you more easily after a fall, while a leash that is too long can become tangled more easily.

2. Leash thickness

Leash thickness is also crucial, as it affects both durability and drag in the water. Thicker leashes are more resistant and last longer, but they also create more drag in the water. Here are some recommendations:

  • Thin (Comp) Leash: Ideal for small waves and high-performance surfing. Less drag but less durability.
  • Standard Leash: Suitable for most conditions. Balances resistance and durability.
  • Thick (Big Wave) Leash: Designed for big waves. Greater resistance and durability but more drag.

3. Leash material

Most leashes are made of urethane, a material that provides a good combination of elasticity and resistance. However, there are variants with specific technologies to improve performance:

  • Basic urethane: Durable and flexible, suitable for most surfers.
  • High-strength urethane: For extreme conditions and big waves.
  • Anti-tangle technology: Some leashes have systems that reduce tangles, such as swivel bearings or special coatings.

Comfort is another crucial factor. The Velcro that attaches to the ankle should be high quality and wide enough not to cause discomfort during long sessions. Look for leashes with soft padding and a secure attachment system:

  • Double velcro: Provides extra firm attachment.
  • Ergonomic padding: Improves comfort and reduces irritation.
  • Double swivels: Help avoid tangles by allowing the leash to rotate freely.

5. Wave conditions and surfer skill level

Finally, adapt your leash choice to the surfing conditions and your level of experience:

  • Beginner surfers: A standard, thicker, and longer leash is recommended for greater safety.
  • Intermediate and advanced surfers: Can opt for thinner leashes specific to the type of waves they frequent.
  • Big waves: Always use a thick, high-resistance leash to ensure durability and safety.


Choosing the right leash not only improves your performance in the water but also increases your safety and that of other surfers. Consider the length, thickness, material, comfort, and wave conditions before making a decision. With the right leash, you’ll be better prepared to enjoy every wave to the fullest.

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