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  • Writer's pictureMira

Should I wear a leash Longboarding? Longboard Reflections

Updated: Apr 27

The leash, the tether that binds us, the umbilical cord of surfing. Hated by some longboarders, taken for granted by many.

Longboard coaching in Cornwall
Do you wear a leash when surfing?

Since 1971 for over 50 years we have been lucky enough to have a successful way to attach our surfboards to ourselves, what a joyous day we no longer have to swim after our boards. So we've all seen the beautiful line ups with longboarders gliding on point breaks with no leashes its super beautiful and inspiring but when should we take the leash off or should we ever take it off?

Its not usually seen with shorter boards, however a swathe of good long boarders swear by not wearing the leash, taking it back to its traditional roots and forcing their surfing to become more critical and generally better. (maybe using the fear of losing their boards as a motivation.)

Female longboarder cross stepping at watergate bay newquay cornwall
Student Lucy getting her steps in

There's a lot of opinions on either side of the debate, with some saying that its too dangerous to ride without a leash, which is an incredibly valid point. There's been numerous incidents over the years of rogue lost longboards taking out crowded line ups and creating serious injuries. It is dangerous, and the unexpected can always happen even the most experienced longboarders, Then there's the unleashed lovers who never lose their boards and love the freedom it gives them to truly express themselves in the ocean without limitation.

What it comes down to is experience, Assessing ability and conditions before trying to surf without a leash.

Lady longboarders in Newquay cornwall
having fun on our longboard week

We recommend to keep the leash on until there's complete control of a longboard, always finishing waves without jumping off (underrated essential skill), successfully making nose rides there and back. Before this we would say the risks outweigh the benefits. We also recommend using a leash in busy conditions as the unexpected can always happen even to the best surfers.

We've compiled a few reasons for and against our trusty cord

Reasons to wear a leash

  • Safety - Keeps everyone and yourself out there safer

  • Particularly safer in crowds

  • No swimming to catch the board

  • Won’t lose the board to the rocks

  • Attached to your safety raft basically

  • Easy

  • Lets you safely practise and play around without consequence

  • When your learning

Reasons to not wear a leash

  • Freedom

  • Leash can tangle around your feet

  • Less drag when riding a wave

  • Can easily move feet around on the board without the leash getting caught in your toes

  • Can practise switch stance with out tangling

  • Forces you to finish waves well

  • Also forces you to only Noseride in the sections that you know you can get back from

  • If you lose your board someone you fancy might paddle it back (based on a friends experience)

You might be looking at this list considering taking off the leash and giving it a go, we would recommend being able to have a few of these skills nailed first.

  • Finish every wave - this means kicking out, grabbing the board at the end of the wave keeping hold of the board anyway possible.

  • Turtle rolls and popping over waves should be second nature, never ditching. Ever.

  • Check in with yourself first - feeling tired means less energy and more chances of losing the board

  • Feeling comfortable in your ability

  • Find a suitable day and conditions for practise - i.e. no crowd and small waves

On the final note if you surf well and can control your longboard it is entirely down to you. Some may never wear one and surf less crowded spots, some may opt to wear one in crowded or bigger conditions, then some chose to not risk it at all and wear a leash all the time.

Don't let anyone dictate whether you shouldn't be wearing one if your not comfortable yet, you know how your feeling and trust that instinct.

women who surf in cornwall
Watergate bay is perfect for longboarding

To leash or not to leash - that is your own personal question.


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