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How To Choose The Right Surfboard Leash

Need some help choosing the right surfboard leash? Here’s everything you need to know so you can find the best surfboard leash for you!

On the hunt for a new surfboard leash or trying to figure out which one to buy for your first surfboard?

Well here are the key things you need to keep in mind when choosing a surfboard leash and my personal recommendations on the best brands to go with…

How To Choose The Right Surfboard Leash

1. Length

The first thing you need to do when buying a surfboard leash is get the right length. Ideally you want to match the length of the leash to the length of your board – so for a 6 foot board you’d grab a 6 foot leash, a 9 foot board requires a 9 foot leash, and so on.

6 foot is usually the smallest available leash in most surf shops, so if you’re surfing boards under 6 foot a 6’0 leash will be you go to.

For anything in between I’d round up or down depending on your personal preference. For me I’ll round down for any boards under half a foot, with anything above that going to the next leash size up. So a 6’6 board I’ll grab a 6’0 leash, but a 6’8 I’ll grab a 7’0 leash.




2. Thickness

A lot of brands also offer different leash thicknesses too – ranging from 5mm through to 7mm.

Thinner leashes (also known as light leashes) are lighter and more comfortable, but offer less strength. Although on smaller volume boards this isn’t a major concern.

Thicker leashes are ideal for higher volume boards (like fish) as they’re stronger, or also if you’re surfing bigger, heavier waves.

For most surfers 6mm leash thickness (also know as comp leashes) are the ideal combination of strength and comfort, with 7mm options being the go to for most longboard leashes.

  • Light = 5mm thick, least amount of drag, but not as strong.
  • Comp – 6mm thick, balance of strength and performance (most recommended option)
  • Pro = 7mm thick, ideal for bigger waves or bigger boards, strong but lots of drag




3. Cuff Quality

The biggest difference between most leashes and brands is the bit that attaches around your ankle, the cuff. Pricier leashes tend to offer more comfortable cuffs.

Although they might advertise fancy sounding features like “quick release” honestly it’s the cuff that’s the biggest difference!

The bets advice I can give you here is try a few on and go with the one that feels the best to you!




4. Cuff Style (For Longboards)

If you’re a longboarder you also have another option to decide on when it comes to the cuff – ankle or knee.

Ankle leashes are the same as standard shortboard leashes, whereas the knee (or calf) leash has a larger cuff, which then sits just underneath your knee, above the calf muscle.

It’s totally personal preference – but for me it’s knee leash all the way on my log as it keeps the leash out of the way when board walking and nose riding, but also (and perhaps more importantly) I find knee leashes much more safe and comfortable given the weight of longboards as that part of your leg is much stronger!




5. Swivels

The final (and often overlooked) feature on a lot of surfboard leashes are swivels – which are designed to keep the leash from tangling when you’re surfing/paddling/sitting on your board

Cheaper leashes tend to be single swivels, (usually at the board end of the leash) whilst higher end leashes are double swivel and are therefore much less prone to tangling.

Honestly there’s not a huge jump in price, so I’d always opt for double swivel.




The Best Surf Leash – My Recommendations

Creatures of Leisure do some of the best surfboard leash options on the market and are my go to for both my shortboard and mid-length boards. If you’ve got the budget the Creatures of Leisure Superlite Pro is probably the most comfortable leash I own, but the Reliance Pro is a solid option too.

The Sympl Re-Leash is another to check out as well, and I’ve used both their 6’0 and 9’0 options, which are both super comfortable and reliable.

For Longboard leashes I can’t fault my Tools Knee Cuff Leash – it’s comfortable, strong and stays in place even when board walking.

One leash I will certainly be avoiding (and highly recommend you avoid too!) is the FCS Freedom leash, which I’ve written about in more detail here! Although the follow up – the FCS Freedom Helix Leash is actually not too bad, if rather pricey!





Have you got any other questions about choosing the right surfboard leash?

Any recommendations on brands and styles?

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