to leash or not to leash

howzit dudes! so i was wondering how you guys feel about leashes. do you ever use one? only on shortboards? on an alaia? only when there are rocks… what are your feelings about those darn things :slight_smile: share your thoughts 


i use one when there are rocks, a strong current (hurricane stuff) otherwise never!

I love them when they are there when I need them. I don’t need them often. Would love to see more people go without them on smaller days. A pack of leash-less surfers. A demolition derby as part of their education. Most surfers around the home break here would benefit from it.

Love surfing with no leash.  But only at uncrowded beach breaks.

Hate surfing with guys who can’t hold onto their own boards.  No sense in killing someone for your own sense of “freedom”.

No leash whenever possible.


Always a leash usually a couple people around me and would hate having a higher chance of hitting them in the head, although i hate tripping over the dang thing and it tangling me up in the water ^^

Ha ha!  Are you trying to start a fight? :wink:  

The subject was covered - with much emotion and nostalgia (and possibly a fair bit of revisionist history) - in another thread not so long ago.

I love surfing without a leash, but only do so when surfing alone or with just one or two friendly others.  Where I live, I reckon you’d get lynched surfing a longboard in a crowded break without a leash.      

I hate leashes and only wear one when absolutely necessary. A stranger (tourist) once made a remark to me about not wearing one. He seemed to think I was posing a hazard to others in the water, without any justification for his opinion. He was more of a hazard and he was wearing a leash.  I told him he was at my home break, and that I’d been surfing there leashless for over 30 years. You don’t tell someone how to act in their own house.

There’s a regular crew of longboarders at this spot who always surf leashless on small days. When someone paddles out wearing one, we ask them: “What’s that thing around your ankle?”

No leash when it’s small, except if there’s a lot of kiddies on the inside. No leash on the longboard, same exception. Always a leash when traveling, big or small. I think it shows a bit of humility and respect… but maybe that’s just in my own head.

I once got called out of the water by a cop in Virginia Beach… turns out it’s illegal to surf without a leash there. Go figure.


There’s some beaches in New England with the same rule. Lame.

Apparently there's lots of places with ''leash laws''. They have them in ''town'' at the northern end of Outer Banks. I went out leashless (with a bunch of friends who told me I was going to get a ticket). The beach patrol guys parked their truck under the pier we were surfing and I had to sit on my board for 30 minutes lest they see my strapless ankle, haha. The guys who live there say it is a compromise they're willing to live with, it opens areas where tourists are frequently swimming in shorebreak - surfing might not be permitted otherwise.

Where I live, thankfully almost all the coast is unregulated. I have boards that don't even have a leash attachment.

Leashes should be sorta like the Airbag in your car. It is when surfing becomes LEASHING that bothers me.

i guess i never really run into the people problem. i don’t know if its me or if there are no patient surfers around, but there are never more than 2-3 surfers over 6 miles. when i do leash though i like those calf ones not the ankle stranglers. 

No leash on the Bing Noserider - leash on the Mandala Quad.  Its all about conditions for me - we have all beachbreaks here. 

So… 30+ people out at my local point yesterday. While watching the swell (waist to chest high), I saw the worst of both worlds (IMHO):


A leashed longboarder who repeatedly blew his drop, then paddled across the shoulder; ruining other’s opportunity to catch the next wave(s) as he floundered his way back out.


An unleashed longboarder that lost his board while negotiating the crowd - multiple people hit, including a kid in the shorebreak. The Lifeguard had a conversation with him.


BUT - that seems to be the “norm” at Northern LA County pointbreaks on a weekend in August…

Almost never.  Only when it’s crowded or the board is going to be destroyed.  Or, if it’s kind of sharky.  Although I have this image of my leash getting stuck between a whitey’s teeth and being dragged underwater for five miles.  Mike

Longboard - No leash.

Shortboard - Leash

Alaia - No leash

Story:  Surfing in Costa Rica on Caribbean side during a tropical storm, got pounded, leash rapped around my arms and legs and board was tombstoning. I couldn't kick or move my arms just wiggle like a worm. I have also had four staples in my head from my leash going taut and coming back and hitting me.  On the other hand, there have been countless times where I was glad I didn't have to swim for my board.  Have you ever had to climb the rope because you didn't know which way was up?  or started swimming for the surface and hit the bottom?  You have to way the good and bad.  Definately more fun to surf without one though.

I always use a leash with my shortboards.  Occasionally will shed the leash on my fish.  I prefer not to use a leash with my longboard, but I feel it’s really irresponsible no matter how good you are not to use a leash when it’s crowded or there are kids around. 

i try to use common sense .

super crowded with swimmers and kids , i will go surf someplace else.

crazy board destroyer rocks , pass .

sunset beach at 10-15 foot , leash .


i hate leashes

 In my experience most leashless surfers way overestimate their skill level, particularly the longboarders. 

Let me put it this way......if your leashless log runs down somebody's children you can

A.  Expect to get your board back with major damage.

B.  Expect a beat down when you come to retrieve it.

in 30  years  ive  never  worn  a  leash. i believe it forces  me to surf  better  and make  better  choices  as  to  what  wave  and  what position  i  need  to  be  in, to  drop  in.  i’m  not  the hugest fan of  swimming  for  my  board  but i  don’t  mind  it.  i have  grown a death grip   and  my  board  is  the  first  thing  i  reach  for  if  i  make  a  mistake, granted   it’s  not  always  possible.  iv’e   seen plenty of  people  get hurt  because  of  leashes. in  my  opinion people  that  where  leashes look  foolish when  they  just jump  off the board  instead  of  pulling  out.   or  take  off  on  waves  that  there  not  going to  make but  don’t  care  because they  have  a  leash, and most  of  the  time  right  in  front  of  you.  or  ditch  there  board  right  in front   of  you  because  they can’t duck  dive  or don’t  now  how  to  turn  turtle. this  is  all  an  opinion  though,  and i  may be  wrong  about  everything