Leash Vs no leash: Debate in the surfing community

Leash Vs no leash: Debate in the surfing community

The use of the leash in surfing is a topic that sparks extensive debate within the surfing community. While some consider it essential for safety and convenience, others prefer to surf without it to maintain a more natural connection with the ocean. In this article, we will explore the advantages and disadvantages of surfing with and without a leash, perspectives from professional surfers, and specific cases and conditions for using or not using a leash.

Advantages and disadvantages of surfing with and without a leash

Advantages of surfing with a leash

Personal Safety:
- Prevents the board from drifting away, reducing the risk of losing it and having to swim long distances to retrieve it.
- Minimizes the risk of the board hitting other surfers or yourself in case of a fall.

- Facilitates the retrieval of the board after a fall, allowing more time for surfing and less time swimming.
- Ideal for beginners who may fall more frequently.

- Suitable for most surfing conditions, from small waves to big waves.

Disadvantages of Surfing with a Leash

- Can create drag in the water, affecting speed and maneuverability.
- The leash can become tangled around the leg or other objects, which can be uncomfortable and dangerous.

- Some surfers develop a dependency on the leash and may not learn essential swimming techniques to retrieve their board without it.

Advantages of surfing without a leash

Freedom and connection:
- Offers a greater sense of freedom and direct connection with the ocean.
- Allows for smoother and more natural movements without the resistance of the leash.

Skill and confidence:
- Encourages the development of swimming skills and board retrieval techniques.
- Increases awareness of the environment and the location of the board at all times.

Disadvantages of surfing without a leash

Personal and others' Risks:
- Higher risk of losing the board, especially in challenging conditions.
- The board can become a danger to other surfers if control is lost.

- Requires more effort and time to retrieve the board after a fall.
- Not practical for beginners or in places with strong currents.

Perspectives from professional surfers

Many professional surfers have strong opinions about the use of the leash, influenced by their surfing styles and personal experiences.

- Pro leash:
- Surfers like Kelly Slater have emphasized the importance of the leash for safety in extreme conditions and during competitions, where losing the board can cost valuable points.
- The leash is seen as a crucial tool for keeping the board close and reducing the risk of injuries.

- Against Leash:
- Surfers like Gerry Lopez, known for their style at Pipeline, often prefer to surf without a leash in perfect and controlled waves to maintain a purer connection with the environment.
- Some longboard surfers and those in small waves prefer the freedom of not using a leash to perform more elegant and natural maneuvers.

Specific cases and conditions for using or not using a leash

Big waves and challenging conditions:
- In big waves and challenging conditions, using the leash is almost always recommended due to safety and the need to quickly retrieve the board.

Surfing on beaches with multiple surfers:
- In crowded beaches, using a leash helps prevent accidents and injuries for both the surfer and others in the water.

Recreational surfing in small waves:
- In controlled conditions and small waves, surfing without a leash can be a viable option for experienced surfers seeking a more natural experience.

Competitions and training sessions:
- In competitions, the leash is essential to avoid wasting time and valuable points by having to retrieve the board.


The debate about surfing with or without a leash largely depends on personal preferences, skill level, and surf conditions. While the leash offers safety and convenience, surfing without it provides a sense of freedom and a deeper connection with the ocean. Understanding the advantages and disadvantages of both approaches and considering the perspectives of professionals can help surfers make informed decisions about when and how to use a leash.

All news on www.aldersurfing.com


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