Leashes with clips

4 weeks 18 hours ago #30374 by nwsurfskier
There is a good discussion and video on the Facebook page Surfski World showing the dangers of leashes with clips. I tried to link to the FB article but for some reason this forum marked it as spam. If you've wondered about the safety of these you should check it out

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4 weeks 16 hours ago - 4 weeks 16 hours ago #30378 by robin.mousley
Here's a link to it.

www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=...how_text=0&width=560

It's an interesting point; I use a Mocke leash that has a clip like the one in the video. But... I have modified it by putting a kite boarding quick release clip onto it... That release has a swivel which makes it less likely that the sideways force required to undo the Mocke buckle will ever occur.

So I'll be continuing to use my solution - which I use with a belt rather than an ankle strap. The reason I use a belt is that I injured my knee using an ankle strap, while standing in thigh-deep water. A wave came in, pulled the ski from me and the leash gave my knee a nasty twist.

Like anything else I guess, there's no silver bullet...

Rob

Currently Think Evo II, Epic V10 Double.
Previously: Carbonology Zest, Fenn Swordfish, Epic V10, Fenn Elite, Red7 Surf70 Pro, Epic V10 Sport, Genius Blu, Kayak Centre Zeplin, Fenn Mako6, Custom Kayaks ICON, Brian's Kayaks Molokai, Brian's Kayaks Wedge and several others I can't remember!

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4 weeks 13 hours ago #30380 by owenfromwales
This is one of the reasons why I make my own leashes. I put a carabiner at each end. One end clips onto the leash-plug via a short surf leash style loop, the other clips directly onto my pfd. Whilst practicing remounts I found that a velcro strap above the knee came off way too often. Now it`s secure, but easily detachable when needed.

Happy (and safe!) paddling,

Owen

189cm 90~100kg
Present skis:
2017 Stellar SEI 2G
1993 Gaisford Spec Ski
1980s Pratt Spec Ski
1980s UK Surf Skis Ocean Razor
Previous
1980s UK Surf Skis Ocean Razor X 3
1987 Kevlar Chalupsky (Hummel) (Welsh copy!)
1988 Kevlar Double Chalupsky
1992 Hammerhead spec
2000 Fenn copy

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4 weeks 4 hours ago #30381 by davgdavg
I had my Mocke leash come off one time in a benign huli...After that I just taped the QR closed so there is no way for it to come off. Its just too easy for it to potentially come off.

IMO the detriments of any QR system far outweigh the benefits. I sort of wonder why do it in the first place? I love the leash, but really wish there was a non QR option.

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3 weeks 6 days ago - 3 weeks 6 days ago #30388 by HangTen
I also make my own leashes with double braid dyneema; all the commercially available leashes in my humble opinion have multiple points of failure(poorly designed quick release clasps, velcro straps, bungee cord, etc.) I feel the leashes should be engineered to withstand forces greater than you would encounter(for the same reason an elevator or bridge is built to withstand multiples of the use case force) and that you should only become detached when you actively do so. You can incorporate quick release functionality into the design without the flaws in the currently available options. The purpose of the quick release as I understand it is that you don't want to be leashed into your boat when entering the surf zone, as well as providing the ability to detach yourself from the boat in any potential scenario outside of the surf zone where remaining attached to your boat could lead to injury or death(let's say a ferry or tanker plows your ski, and it's pulling you under the water, etc.)

I would also like to see the leash attachment points made a little bigger(I've yet to see the Huki attachment point in person, but it might fit the bill) to allow for a thicker test line or a carabiner(if you use carabiners do not use regular carabiners as any climber can tell you they can self-unclip) to loop through on that end.

At the end of the day even if your leash is well designed and you test it before each session there is always the possibility that it fails, so have as many redundancies in place as you can(pfd that you're actually wearing(putting on a pfd in the water for the first time without prior practice is more difficult than most people imagine especially in conditions), dressed for prolonged immersion, vhf, epirb, paddling partner, letting people on shore know what course you're taking and what time you're expecting to be back); I also read Boyan caution that you shouldn't paddle out farther than you can swim to shore...wish I could follow that last one, but not a strong swimmer so going to have to work on that.

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3 weeks 6 days ago - 3 weeks 6 days ago #30389 by HangTen
Video showing how unprepared most people are/difficult it is to put on a life jacket in the water.

Video at the 1:10 mark:

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3 weeks 5 days ago #30410 by Cryder
In climbing, carabiner's that unclip themselves happens all the time (referred to as "Back Clipping"). Basically as the rope passes upward through the biner, it can coil and put pressure on the gate and unclip itself. I've never seen a surfski leash unclip itself from a ski mount, but it is in my mind possible if the ski rolls the wrong way.

I have seen another type of leash failure that suprised me. This summer I was teaching a clinic in the Gorge and the paddler was solid on flat water but fairly new to downwind. We were in modest conditions; not big, but not small either. The paddler was in a V8, and misread a wave and broached right at the crest of the wave and fell back off the peak, while the ski fell forward into the trough of the wave. The leashed just popped off. I was just one wave behind and zoomed in to rescue the ski, which by the time I did so was already 30 feet in front of the paddler who was a bit rattled (totally understandable!).

Even though the paddler was sprinting, and I was rafted beam with two skis - we were being blown away faster then she could swim. So I hopped out of my ski, and acted as a downwind anchor in the water while holding both skis together. This slowed the skis down enough for her to catch up. It also allowed me to make her ski rock solid for an easy remount from the upwind side. Once in her ski, I asked her to pass me her leash so I could see what failed. Low and behold even though leash looked "wide" the velcro surface area was only about 1" or so wide and she had allowed a small of amount of grass to get into the male part of the velcro - it was surprisingly weak for how little grass was in there. I also suspect that the velcro had aged a couple of seasons and was just weaker from use.

Other gear fails on a regular basis: paddle ferrels get loose and slip or fail, paddle blades and shafts snap, PFD's fade or start water logging as closed cell foam develops gaps and starts to water log, wetsuits get holes or stretch thin, marine radio batteries age, rudder lines fray and inflatable PFD cartridges fail. The list goes on and on. Lesson: inspect and replace your gear FREQUENTLY. A nice leash costs $30. A nice casket $3k.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Watto, supsherpa

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3 weeks 5 days ago #30411 by HangTen
That's why in climbing they've designed carabiners to prevent just that kind of self unclip.

As surfski becomes more popular you do see safety considerations being taken into account; mandated pfds for races, dedicated leash attachment points on a greater number of skis as opposed to leashing into footboards. I think there have only been a couple surfski deaths ever, but even one preventable death is too many in my opinion, definitely if you're on the receiving end.

If people are interested I can try to kickstarter or something to have a commercial grade leash made(not sure what a minimum order would be), but not sure how much interest there is for surfski leashes. My dyi leash has a 1000-1200lb(granted you probably would never see that level of force exerted nor would you really want to be attached if those levels of forces were being exerted, but as with any engineering you factor in multiples of use load, to reduce risk of freak failure in normal use) test at the weakest point, and that's mostly limited by the ease of looping through the space in the Epic leash attachment points.

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3 weeks 5 days ago #30412 by owenfromwales
So, the problems I find with off-the-shelf leashes for skis are as follows:
1. usually too short - can`t inspect/fix the rudder or ends of the skis without taking the leash off. Decisions, decisions when your 5km offshore in 30knt wind and waves.
2. The plastic line (normal or coiled) and the plastic fittings around the swivels. I`ve found these to not have a very long lifespan, sometimes perishing after only a season or two.
3. Velcro straps - often come undone on their own when remounting.

For my homemade leashes I use marine grade rope with a diameter of 3 or 4mm. 3mm is probably ample, but it depends what`s available. As with a surfboard leash, I use a short piece of similar rope between the leash and the leash holder, which makes access easier.


DIY means getting the leash length you want. I want mine to be long enough to allow me to reach the rudder hatch or either end of the boat without having to unclip. When I`m done I finish off by melting the ends and putting some shrink wrap on them.


The boat end of my leash has a carabiner which clips onto the small rope to the leach anchor. At the other end I use a stainless dog-clip. This clips onto a stainless loop on the webbing of my PFD. In case of emergency I can unclip the dog-clip in a second. It`s easy to find and open with one hand without worrying about it opening accidentally.


Marine line has a much longer life-expectancy than plastics, is stronger and very cheap and easy to replace. Making a new leash each season is only a five minute job.

Happy paddling!

Owen

189cm 90~100kg
Present skis:
2017 Stellar SEI 2G
1993 Gaisford Spec Ski
1980s Pratt Spec Ski
1980s UK Surf Skis Ocean Razor
Previous
1980s UK Surf Skis Ocean Razor X 3
1987 Kevlar Chalupsky (Hummel) (Welsh copy!)
1988 Kevlar Double Chalupsky
1992 Hammerhead spec
2000 Fenn copy
Attachments:

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3 weeks 5 days ago #30413 by robin.mousley
Hey Owen,

I've been using a Mocke leash for years and have come off a couple of times this year, once in the surf.

I've never had problems with it: never broke, never detached, never tangled badly with my paddle leash.

I use it with a belt rather than a velcro ankle strap; I prefer the belt because I had a nasty knee sprain years ago while wearing an ankle strap (wave hit while I was standing on a reef holding the boat).

One of the things I like about the coiled part is that it's short and doesn't get in the way - how do you manage a long rope in the cockpit? How do you prevent it from being sloshed under and around the foot plate, for example?

I don't have an answer for the concern about unclipping to go to the back of the boat. :-(

A leash is never going to be a silver bullet - it's a component in a safety system. If it's too weak, it might break and you'll lose the boat; if it's too strong and you don't get it off in surf, it might hurt you. If it's too short, you might lose the boat if you unclip and have to go to the back of the boat offshore; if it's too long it might tangle and cause a problem... Life is never simple.

Rob

Currently Think Evo II, Epic V10 Double.
Previously: Carbonology Zest, Fenn Swordfish, Epic V10, Fenn Elite, Red7 Surf70 Pro, Epic V10 Sport, Genius Blu, Kayak Centre Zeplin, Fenn Mako6, Custom Kayaks ICON, Brian's Kayaks Molokai, Brian's Kayaks Wedge and several others I can't remember!

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3 weeks 5 days ago #30414 by owenfromwales
Hi Rob,

Good to hear from you.

You`re right, there is no perfect leash that covers all the possible bases (yet!).

With the spare length I tuck it between my legs, leaving a short length to the leash attachment on the ski (under the knees on a Stellar). So far it`s stayed in place on downwind paddles. Haven`t tried paddling into breaking waves to see if it would be easier for the waves to pull it out.

One idea that is beyond my DIY skills (but a big company could do it easy), would be to plastic coat the line and set it in a coil. That might be practicable and good for those who prefer coils.

I`ve never tried a Fenn leash, so can`t really comment on them. I do have a thigh leash from one of the other big ski companies, but the velcro wasn`t so effective (and the leash perished after two years).

189cm 90~100kg
Present skis:
2017 Stellar SEI 2G
1993 Gaisford Spec Ski
1980s Pratt Spec Ski
1980s UK Surf Skis Ocean Razor
Previous
1980s UK Surf Skis Ocean Razor X 3
1987 Kevlar Chalupsky (Hummel) (Welsh copy!)
1988 Kevlar Double Chalupsky
1992 Hammerhead spec
2000 Fenn copy

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3 weeks 5 days ago #30415 by peteski
Personally I don't think the clip on the Mocke leash will ever fail as the swivel at the end of the coil prevents any rotational force from the leash from being transferred to the clip.

However, I never used the clip on my leash and found it got in the way, rattled against the ski and could potentially damage the gelcoat when getting in and out of the ski, so I decided the remove it and replace it with a permanent cord, as per the attached photo.


Fenn Swordfish S - Hybrid Carbon
Kayak Center Xcallibur K1- Mylar
Fenn XTS Double - Polyvac
Attachments:

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3 weeks 5 days ago #30416 by HangTen
Hey owen,
A couple things I would point out in your setup. If you have the appetite for it, I would recommend splicing your line rather than tying a knot. Even if a particular knot holds in water, the nature of a knot compromises the strength of the line at that point by like 40% so you don't have the full breaking strength; whereas a splice maintains almost full strength. Granted it might take a little practice learning to splice and more than 5 mins per season especially if you splice double braid line but might be worth considering.

The carabiner you're using is the kind that can self-unclip, so I personally would replace that part as well as the dog clip. I feel like the dog clip could also definitely come undone by itself and not sure what the load rating on it would be as well as making sure the spring inside is also stainless.

Also, hard to tell from the picture, but make sure the strap you attach it to is built for load. Some pfds have built in harnesses while others have straps that would tear out under load.

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3 weeks 5 days ago #30417 by owenfromwales
Hi Hangten,

No worries, all ideas/advice gratefully welcomed! Like Rob said earlier, we`re forced to compromise some way or other. The best we can do is pick the options that best suit the conditions under which we paddle.

As an aside, it would be useful if manufacturers could test how much force their leash anchor points can take before they get ripped out.

189cm 90~100kg
Present skis:
2017 Stellar SEI 2G
1993 Gaisford Spec Ski
1980s Pratt Spec Ski
1980s UK Surf Skis Ocean Razor
Previous
1980s UK Surf Skis Ocean Razor X 3
1987 Kevlar Chalupsky (Hummel) (Welsh copy!)
1988 Kevlar Double Chalupsky
1992 Hammerhead spec
2000 Fenn copy

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3 weeks 5 days ago #30418 by HangTen
Pete,
On the Mocke leash, the first issues I see are again knotting instead of splicing the lines.

Also, I feel like velcro really shouldn't be a part of the leash, because it's a significant point of failure. Also, not sure what type of velcro they used(there are actually different types of velcro with different shear strength) or how much because there is a nominal force where the two faces will slide against each other and come undone that decreases over time.

Also, I'm not a fan of the bungee line/general design they borrowed from surfboard leashes. I feel surfboard leashes don't really have the same design considerations because you're much closer to shore if you become separated and in the breaking waves of the surf zone you'd actually want the line to snap under extreme force; on a surfski you'd never want to stay clipped in entering this zone. I've read the surfski leashes with this kind of material is designed to stretch, but had not found information on the nominal breaking load as well as the effects of repeated stretching and uv degradation.

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3 weeks 5 days ago - 3 weeks 5 days ago #30419 by HangTen
Owen,
Definitely agree on the testing of the anchor points, that would be my dream come true.

To be honest I have no idea what the real forces are in extreme conditions. Would you ever see hundreds of pounds of force between you and the boat? I would hope in situations that you'd want to stay connected to the boat there isn't enough resistance to ever get anywhere near that point, but as safety gear I would rather over engineer because in real usage the actual strength is going to be a fraction of nominal especially over time.

If anyone wants to use my DIY setup I have eye spliced double braid dyneema connecting me to the boat leash attachment, I have another dyneema splice paddle leash that runs freely up and down the main leash, on the other end of the main leash another eye splice and a double locking carabiner quick release point connecting me to a rescue belt with built in quick release mechanism.

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3 weeks 5 days ago #30420 by peteski
HangTen, with a tensile strength of 809 lbf. (3.5 kN) for 4mm Accessory Cord, even a 50 % reduction in strength (most sources state a fisherman's knot reduces the strength by 40%) there is no way the cord is going to be a first point of failure, so I think splicing might be a bit of an overkill :)

As for the velcro, you saw Rob's post where he was injured due to the velcro not letting go, so that is also not an issue.

You need to remember that the more reputable branded products have been designed and approved by guys that have been paddling in the open ocean, sometimes in extreme conditions, for many, many years; if it's good enough for them...

To reiterate what others have said, there's no silver bullet, but reducing the potential points of failure and having a backup (like a paddle leash that is attached to the ski on a different attachment point than the calf leash) goes a long way to keep us safe when the going gets rough.

Fenn Swordfish S - Hybrid Carbon
Kayak Center Xcallibur K1- Mylar
Fenn XTS Double - Polyvac

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3 weeks 5 days ago #30421 by Watto
Owenfromwales :

As an aside, it would be useful if manufacturers could test how much force their leash anchor points can take before they get ripped out.


Near new boat for sale here recently where owner had come out at sea in a big break and rather than ripping leash anchor point out basically split the boat amidships at 90 degrees at attachment point. That is, the boat at the attachment point was not strong enough to withstand significant forces at work. Owner a big bloke not sure how big the sea was but wasn't a shore break break. Owner also entirely open and honest about this on resale, he just needed another boat quickly at that time and couldn't wait on repairs. I know the repairer and would have bought the boat in a flash had I the cash in hand at that time.

Back to Rob's point really, you can only do so much, ain't no silver bullet. Pics below a range of marine hardware, used them all. Probable easiest releases are middle two below (actual size) with a bulky catchy cornered yachting clip left and standard most common quick release right (current preferred). Disadvantage of middle two is potential for inadvertent release if cord caught anywhere will open pin and release leg leash line.

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The following user(s) said Thank You: owenfromwales

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3 weeks 5 days ago #30425 by Kiwi Dave
I've personally had the one on the right (in Watto's image) unclip on me and have stopped using the two leashes i had with that system. Also had a friend lose her boat on a fairly windy downwind due to the exact same clip releasing from the leg end.

Otherwise good thread ... interesting.

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3 weeks 5 days ago #30427 by HangTen
Pete,
It might be overkill, but I'd rather be safe than sorry especially since that strength is the nominal value or that of ideal conditions(not accounting for actual conditions, wear, manufacturing variances, measured straight up and down, etc). Some charts have 60% or more reduction in strength, but let's say 50% your leash is now 400 lbs nominal strength, then over time you have uv degradation/microabrasion and you can check with a visual or give it a good tug(how much force do you think you can exert in a tug check?) before each session but the real strength is now at 100lbs, and then you fall off your ski and a crashing wave tugs it at a weird angle that deviates from the straight up and down nominal strength, you've just severed your leash. When 1% could end up being the difference between remounting and paddling back, or having a harrowing or life threatening experience(even with a paddle partner it's not easy to retrieve the windblown ski and even epirb/vhf is not going to guarantee quick rescue), I would personally hope to have every ounce of benefit in my favor, but that might just be me.

The problem with the idea of what's good enough for the pros is that those guys are not as likely to fall off in the first place and a lot of these guys weren't even bothering with pfds at all. An expert climber can speed free climb crazy peaks, but the skill and personal mentality of accepted risk is at a completely different level I think.

The problem with simply trusting the manufacturers is that surfski(this is changing each day with for the better with growing popularity), wasn't at the market size to afford the same level of testing. Surfski pfds don't have USCG approval(this isn't the best example for reasons particular to USCG approval), but whether or not you believe the certification means anything, it boils down to being too expensive for the market size. Whether load testing the leash attachment points in the skis themselves or the breaking strength of the leashes, if the manufacturers are doing rigorous testing they should provide the strength values.

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