in hindsight it may have not been appropriate to compare the leash to a motorized surfboard in this thread


I guess it could continue here(in a positive manner) discussing whether or not the leash has promoted safety in the water.


Why not argue about those stinkin jet skis as well?

If Gmac wasn’t riding a powered board then would there be any controversy?

It’s like when people started towing and the ire was directed at them.

Now they are stock standard for “safety teams” as well as for towing in.

Do these “big wave” surfers lose any quodos for using leashes, impact/pfd vests and jet ski back up teams?


Leashes can have many uses…

for instance:


I wear a leash, but I never paddle out if I know I can’t swim in, and never let the board go for no reason. My wife uses a leash, but only on special occasions, if I’ve been a bad boy.

Here in aus, where theres a lot of small to medium waves, no leashes at a lot of spots would really only mean ding repair guys could afford beach front houses and ferraris.

I reckon a leash is less about my own safety than it is about all the other people who might be hit by a loose board—especially those little kids playing at the edge of the water. That board will get loose sometime, no matter how careful we are.

I have to admit I was the very first guy at my home break to wear a leash, back when they first came out (and were attached with suction cups).

I don’t surf a longboard and I surf in a congested area.  I wear a leash as a means of respecting the safety of other people on the inside, particularly kids and tourists who might be wading on the inside.  That, and I prefer to avoid dings on my rails and beach scum on my decks.   I try to surf as if I don’t have one, which means I try to control my board at all times.  My current leash is 6 yrs old and is getting rusty at the swivel so I’ll replace it.  



You are in the minority these days.

I hate seeing people kick their boards out in everyday conditions and I especially hate to see people dive headfirst off their boards.  I used to yell at my kids when I caught them doing that.  It’s a horrible habit, not to mention risky.    Falling off is one thing but unless it’s barelling or pitching I think it’s safer to stick with your board and ride it out until you can control your recovery.  

A little over a month ago I was out on a good sized day and I got caught behind a section and there was a guy paddling out I was surely going to hit. I was wearing a leash but the knot holding it broke and my board went all the way in. When I came up I saw that the guy was a friend and I appoligized about hitting him. He said he was lucky that my leash broke because he was able to go under my board. If the leash didn’t break he would have gotten hit.  

I don’t think leashes are meant to protect others. You have to protect yourself by knowing where it is safe to be at all times. Leashes created this new attitude that you can sit on the inside and not worry about the people sitting 20 yards out side of you where you should be. It allows people who can’t surf to go out in waves that they shouldn’t be out in. And it doesn’t give you the swimming ability that we used to all have in the days before leashes.

Growing up in the 60’s at the beach, we learned to keep our eyes out towards the waves. Every Hawaiian kid learns the golden rule that goes for all water activity… never turn your back to the ocean, always keep your eyes on the waves coming in. When you are in the water you learn to stay out of the way of boards and bodies coming in on waves. We learned by getting hit. The guy that hits you gets mad if you mess up his ride. The other thing is you always had a partner who could go and get your board or help you if you have a bad wipe out. 

I don’t know how other people learned, but that is how we did in Hawaii in the 60’s and 70’s. Today it is not the same, but it should be. Every one learning to surf should be forced to surf without a leash. Then they’d only surf where they could swim, and they’d get a better understanding of water safety.

Now with the whole paddle in I’m a Man thing… We went from not being able to surf giant waves to riding the heck out of them on tiny rockets with the help of motorized watercraft. Now guys want to paddle in again and have to be on these giant boards to catch them. They are putting themselves back into the danger zone for what? EGO. Catching the giants waves early on these ultra manuverable short strapped on boards is the only safe way to ride the giant waves. And you better be sure your safety vest works.


Same for me. I learned in the 60s. We held on to our boards as much as possible. If we were paddling out and someone’s board was washing in we’d try to grab it and drag it back out to them with our foot on the deck.



Agree 100%. I’ve said this many times.

When I have agreed to teach a kid the basics, the first thing I do is make them get rid of the leash.

All I have to say on this topic is that if I get hit or a grom gets hit by an unleashed kooks board they are probably going to have an ugly confrontation with me.  I’ve also noticed a trend of kooks on longboards who think they are more core if they don’t use a leash…Just what we need, a bunch of kooks with 40 pound projectiles running people down.  F-them.

What is a kook?

I’ve been surfing longer than leashes have been around. Haven’t spent more than couple of months out of the water since 1966.

I think a lot of problems we see with crowds is because leashes allow a lot more people out where they shouldn’t be. What happened to the concept of not paddling back out through the breaking waves? What about not sitting inside of everyone where you can get run over?

When I taught my kids how to surf, learning where to be for their safety was the most important thing. Where to paddle out, where to wait for the waves, how to tell who to watch out for. I spent a lot of time pushing them away from problems and it was mostly because no one spent time teaching the others, they just hand them a board with a leash and let them go. 

Haha Mako I agree 100%. I had an SUPer by me without a leash lose his board multiple times and go carreening through the line up, he was never in control of his board, just dangerous. I confronted him about it and he reluctantly agreed saying next time he’d use one. Next wave the fucktard looses his board again and I watch in wonderous delight as it smashed into the jetty haha, it was glorious!

Perhaps this no leash bullpoop can fly where you have point or reef breaks and things are spread out but you’ve got to be a total asshat to paddle out without a leash at most of the places I surf.  Beachbreak with a crowd 5 surfers deep anytime its waist high or bigger.  Hell, yesterday I rushed home to surf before dark…the wind chill had to be below 15* the waves were about shoulder high and there were 30+ guys out at my home beach.  As for the crowds thank technology…back before 2000 you had to look for people to surf with.  Now thanks to cell phones and the internet every inland kook within an hour and a half of the ocean is on it every time there is even a wiff of swell no mater how cold it is.  Used to be in the winter there were only about a dozen of us out in the winter in my town and we all knew and trusted each other in the water.  Those days are gone.

I can usually control my board but I’m not perfect and I make mistakes.   People around me sometimes make mistakes too and sometimes their mistakes affect my control.    That being the case I cannot in good conscience tell a third party victim to fck off in the event that my mistake puts them at additional risk.    Some risks are not avoidable but others are readily avoidable.  

For those of you who are so good at it that everyone  paddling out or wading ankle deep can trust you to not accidentally send a board bobdbing up and down in the whitewash with the fin(s) up, I salute you.    But please don’t hassle me for looking out for their interests.  And your’s.  

I live in Hawaii, every spot has dozens of people at every take off zone. There are usually a few without leashes, mostly older guys on longboards with over 40 years of experience. They rip, but do ocassionally fall and then swim. For old guys, they are also in pretty good shape. I don’t know anyone riding a SUP without a leash.

I grew up in a small beach community where we had beachfront cottages (weekend homes) surfing a break with a rocky shoreline that also meets a long sandy beach. The better waves break off the rocks, so we all learned surfing outside of the sandy side. As we got better, we moved to the other side which had its consequences. I knew everyone that surfed that beach when I was growing up. It’s the same for most kids growing up here during the 60’s-70’s. We’ve seen our beaches go from being a community spot to international crowds. The best places have been invaded by those with enough money and the locals have changed from people that lived there for generations, to people that have lived there for decades at best. 

It’s something we accept here, but not really like. When I’m in the water these days, I can hear at least 3 foreign languages being spoken all the time. These people could care less about your local customs or attitudes. It’s not unusual to have a hundred people spread out over maybe 4 take off zones, and half of them sitting inside like bowling pins waiting to be knocked over. And this is all a couple hundred yards from shore, so it’s a good swim if you don’t have a leash.

Leashes made it possible for more people to surf in more places that they would never surf. Yes they do save lives, but they mostly save boards. You should never surf somewhere that you wouldn’t without a leash. I have had mine break or the part holding it to the board break at least a dozen times. I don’t go in if I’m not tired, just have to ride with the leash wrapped around my waist.

Just so you guys know. I don’t mean to be argumentative, just want to state my feelings. I use a leash most of the time, and sometimes I don’t use a leash. The last time I purposely surfed without a leash I got knocked off my board and hit a friend. I felt terrible. Then I had to swim all the way in. I would have hit him even if I had a leash on because he was right there where I was riding. If I didn’t get knocked off, I would not have hit him. And yes I have had the same thing happen to me. You don’t mean to hit others, but sometimes it happens. 

There are older guys who ride without leashes and who always paddle around the break through the channels. That’s what I try to teach the beginners, to paddle out around the break in the safe water. But a lot of people want to get out as fast as they can and catch another one. I have no idea of what other places are like so my experience is all from surfing in Hawaii and mostly on Oahu.

Have a Happy New Year everyone. 

I got hit with a longboard once while I was riding backside, it hit me in the legs and swept me clean off my board. The person who owned the board really didn’t have any idea what they were doing and didn’t know what to do when whitewash came there way. They were sitting too far down the line and too close to shore. I made a turn around them, and next thing I knew I was in the water.

I always use a leash, I mean why not? I don’t need my board washed in to shore every time I fall. But I also make sure to try and catch my board if I fall, and I rarely finish a wave by just kicking the board and jumping into the water.