Is a Paddleboard Leash Necessary


Table of contents

1.Do you need a paddle board leash.
2.Types of SUP leash.
3.What type of SUP leash to wear for whitewater paddling.


Do you need a paddle board leash?

A lot of paddlers wonder if it’s really necessary to wear a SUP leash while they are paddle boarding. 

For those that are not sure - A SUP leash can make sure your board won’t drift away from you if you fall into the water while paddle boarding. Without a leash, your board can be taken away from you by the wind, waves, tide and current and disappear before you realize it.

sup leash

Types of paddleboard leash

There are basically two types of paddleboard leash, coiled and straight and they are suited to different paddling conditions.

Coiled Leash
A coiled leash is a more suitable choice for paddling on canals, lakes and calm waters.

You can attach it to your ankle or calf. The leash itself connects to a D-ring fixed on the board. What’s great about coiled leashes is that they will remain on the back of the paddleboard and won’t trail in the water, picking up debris or getting snagged on any obstructions.

Coiled leashes also stay behind the paddler which significantly lowers the odds getting tripped. Coiled leashes are ideal for most SUP activities except for SUP surfing and whitewater paddling.

straight leash

Straight leash
If you’ve been paddling on flat water a lot and want to kick it up a notch by trying SUP surfing, you might also want to switch to a long straight leash. 

Most straight leashes are around ten foot long, this is enough length that following a wide out, the board will not recoil back towards the paddler. 

A SUP specific leash is also more substantial than a normal surf leash as paddle board are bigger and heavier than surfboards, so the leash needs to be stronger. These genrally connect to a recessed plug, via a leash string attachment. 

It is crucial to keep an eye on the condition of your leash string, as a snapped string in the surf zone could end up causing a serious injury or worse to other water users.

Quick-release waist belt

Quick-release waist belt
If you are going to be paddling on flowing water, such as harbours, rivers and estuaries, we would recommend that you go for a quick release waist belt. 

These belts simply go around your waist and you can secure your coiled ankle strap to the belt via a quick release attachment. There are two types of quick-release waist belts. 

The first kind will release automatically when placed under pressure. In the event of the leash becoming snagged or trapped, the leash will release from the belt, leaving the padder free from their board. 

Secondly, a manual release whereby the user pulls the toggle of the quick release mechanism which then releases the leash, again separting the paddler from the board. The reason for this is that most flowing rivers and harbours could have numerous hazards, along the banks and under the water. 

Should you fall in and your leash wrap around any submerged obxtructions, or other hazards such as mooring ropes and buoys, you will find it almost impossible to reach down to release an ankle or calf leash to free yourself.

If you want to use a quick-release belt system, it is vital that you know how these operate and consider the danger of becoming separated from your board. In any areas where a quick-release system may be used, you should always have the back up of a Personal Flotation Device(buoyancy aid).

What type of SUP leash to wear for whitewater paddling?

There’s a debate about what kind of paddleboard leash is the most suitable for whitewater paddling. A lot of paddlers think a quick-release coiled waist leash is the best choice for whitewater as it allows you to easily free yourself in case of an emergency. If you have different opinions, please share with us. 

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