Thinking about buying the FCS Freedom Helix leash? I’ve been putting it through its paces to see if it’s worth the hype and the price tag!
FCS have just released the follow up to the FCS Freedom Leash – the FCS Freedom Helix leash.
So I’ve been putting their latest leash offering through its paces to see if it’s worth the hype, whether the new innovations live up to their promises and of course if it’s worth the price-tag!
REVIEW: FCS Freedom Helix Leash
The Follow Up To A Terrible Leash!
The FCS Freedom Helix leash is the follow up to the original FCS Freedom Leash – a leash that I will openly say was pretty f*cking terrible!
I did a full post on the reasons why here but the short version is I had 2 snap within a short period of time and I totally lost confidence in it as a leash.
So when FCS announced the Freedom Helix leash my initial thoughts weren’t very optimistic – but hey I’m always one to let people try and redeem themselves so I decided to put my feelings aside and give it a full test
What’s New With The FCS Freedom Helix Leash?
So what has the latest generation of Freedom Leash brought to the table? Well here are some of the core features of the “All Round” version as per the official FCS website, which is the version I tested out.
New Helix Cord
- Naturally sourced, corn-based Bio-Resin construction results in a lighter & stronger cord.
- Inner Helix straightens under load to absorb shock & amplify strength.
- Helix’s textured cord surface creates smoother water flow resulting in less drag.
- Silicone Grip Print – Reduces slipping around ankle.
- 2mm Neoprene Padding – Thin, light and comfortable.
- Low Profile Moulded Velcro – Stronger & more reliable.
- Moulded Pull-tab – New finger grip designed for quick release.
- Helix Overmould – Maximises strength while providing stretch when strained.
- Reinforced Horn – Elongated & comfortable horn reduces back foot tangling.
- Slim Railsaver – Made with Hypalon and moulded velcro for extra strength
- Titanium Swivels – Super durable, light & corrosion resistant.
- Cord Thickness: 6.5mm.
- Leash Lengths: 6 ft, 7 ft.
- Specifically designed for wave sizes 0 – 8 ft
So what does this mean in non marketing speak?
Well essentially they’ve got rid of the original fabric wrapping style leash of the original, re-inforced the leash with a stronger chord running through it (giving the helix effect), updated the swivels, made aesthetic changes to the cuff and are now utilising corn base bio-resin.
What’s It Like To Surf With?
At the end of the day, what it’s like to surf with is the most important question!
So far the Freedom Helix has held up in a variety of surf conditions and certainly feel like a solid, reliable leash.
Admittedly I haven’t used it in the water for a really long period of time yet (and I’ll update this post if anything happens!) but on some land based strength tests it’s held up well.
The cuff is pretty comfortable and the non slip texture does limit movement around your ankle – however I did find it less comfortable that my Creatures Superlite Pro – which has a bit more padding on it.
One thing I did notice pretty quickly though with the cuff was the low volume pull tab, it doesn’t leave much space to get your fingers in and actually pull the leash off
For getting out of the water it’s no issue, but that’s not the situation where removing a leash is an issue – I won’t the be able to EASILY remove it if I get caught on a reef/rock or such like.
I’ve been in the situation before in the Mentawais where my leash got wrapped around a chunk of reef during a wipeout. Luckily there was enough time between sets to breathe and remove the leash, but I could see it being a struggle with the pull tab on the Helix.
Something to seriously consider depending on where you surf.
When it comes to the swivels, the Helix has adressed the issues that made one of my original Freedom leashes snap. Instead of an inflexible ankle swivel, the new helix style design give it a lot more flex – reducing the pressure points on the actual leash during a wipeout.
So that’s a step forward.
But, on the swivel front, I did find the “bar” attached to the ankle cuff felt a little too large and at times awkward. It’s a tough one to explain, but it just didn’t feel quite right, especially compared to the other leashes I’ve been using recently.
The Price (And Is It Worth It?)
Ok so this is where things go a little off track, as the FCS Freedom Helix leash has jumped straight into the position of “most expensive surf leash on the market”.
The “All Round” version retails at AU$74.95 / £44.95 / US$54
Now when you can pick up a pretty good quality Core Leash from FK Surf (a solid brand for budget surf gear) starting at AU$29.95 / £15 / US$22 or even the Creatures of Leisure Superlite Pro (my current go-to leash) for AU$59.95 / £32 / US$45 it starts to put things into perspective.
Is the FCS Freedom Helix Leash worth twice the price of a budget leash? Or even 25% more than the Creatures option?
Personally, I’d find it pretty hard to justify that price tag, unless you’ve got a solid amount of disposable income or really want one!
Click here for more info and to buy – AUSTRALIA (grab 10% off with the code STOKE10)
My Final Thoughts
When it comes to leash technology I can’t help but think that companies are somewhere over-engineering a piece of equipment, that when you boil it down, should be pretty simple.
I’m all innovation and progression – but is the Helix leash really pushing the market forward?
When it comes to a lot of big corporate surf brands these days – most of “innovation” is in fact more for marketing and price point than actual benefits for the everyday surfer.
And the corn based bio-resin seems to be a central part of their “greener” marketing, but after digging around the interwebs I’m going to be taking that statement with a pinch of salt as I can’t find much in the way of info about it. If you do find anything let me know those as I’d love to check it out.
That being said though, the FCS Freedom Helix leash IS a good leash – they’ve taken stock of the complaints about the original Freedom Leash and built a solid product that does work.
Adding the extra 0.5mm to the everyday leash is also going to make it a bit stronger too, which is always appreciated.
Whether you can justify the price tag it comes with though, well that’s down to your own finances!
Have your surfed with the FCS Freedom Helix leash?
What are your thoughts?