Surf leash recommendation?

5 years 7 months ago #22970 by wrybread
I keep breaking leashes in the surf, and often from pretty soft waves with hardly any tug on my leg. I'm using SUP leashes. I'm wondering if there's some other, much stronger, type of leash people recommend?

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5 years 7 months ago #22972 by antonsa
Replied by antonsa on topic Surf leash recommendation?
Both Mocke and Epic have leashes specifically designed for surfski use. Check their websites - they are available on line and at many paddling shops.

Nice safe Christmas present :laugh:

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5 years 7 months ago #22973 by Dicko
Replied by Dicko on topic Surf leash recommendation?
Add Think to that list.

As Ranga has mentioned before surf leashes aren't meant to be worn in the surf. Surf leashes are to stop your boat blowing away if you fall out in windy conditions. Wearing a leash in the surf means a large heavy boat full of water is going to tug your leg awfully hard at best. At worst its going to land that big heavy boat on your noggin....and that's a bad thing. Surf skis aren't surfboards.

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5 years 7 months ago - 5 years 7 months ago #22974 by wrybread
Replied by wrybread on topic Surf leash recommendation?
I realize some people don't consider it safe, but so far so good on using leashes in the surf for me and the people I paddle with. And personally I consider it dangerous for other people if I'm liable to lose control of my boat and send it their way. As a lifelong board surfer, controlling my craft in the waves is pretty drilled into me as super important.

All that said, it depends on the type of wave of course, but in the type of soft waves that are fun to surf in a surf ski, currently I'm willing to take my chances with a leash. Ideally a somewhat long leash so the ski can get away from me a bit. Besides, it prevents me from breaking my rudders when it washes up in the shorepound. I think I'm on my 4th rudder in 6 months, which gets *really* tedious.

And thanks for the tips! Here's a link to the Think leash for anyone else who might need it:

thinkkayak.com/product/765/

And Epic's:

www.epickayaks.com/product/product/pro-leash

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5 years 7 months ago #22975 by flatdog
Replied by flatdog on topic Surf leash recommendation?
Wrybread:

Look at the Surf More XM leash. They made up a coiled leash with heavier materials and the quick release power clip on the calf cuff. Also have a quick release on my Mocke vest so can choose how to be attached to the ski.

surfmorexm.com/leashes

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5 years 7 months ago #22976 by wrybread

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5 years 7 months ago #22977 by flatdog
Replied by flatdog on topic Surf leash recommendation?
Yes. I have the thicker coiled leash with sufficient length for cowboy remounts.

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5 years 7 months ago #22978 by wrybread
Replied by wrybread on topic Surf leash recommendation?
That sounds good. Do you see it on that page? If so, what's it called exactly?

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5 years 7 months ago #22979 by Dicko
Replied by Dicko on topic Surf leash recommendation?
I don't want to be the Grinch, but surf leashes aren't designed to stop you losing a ski in the surf. They attach in the middle of the boat, which mean the forces involved when the boat fills with water are enormous. SUPs and boards attach at the end of the board which means they pull through the wave when you come a gutser.

Check the breaking strain on your leash. If they've broken in small waves, then you've exceeded that strain on a small wave. If the strap hadn't broken it may well have dislocated your hip or knee (that bit hurts). If your leg holds up then you pull out your foot plate or the bottom of your boat (that bit hurts your wallet).

That's why spec skis don't have leashes.

IMO if you're using a leash to stop your boat hitting people, you probably shouldn't be there.

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5 years 7 months ago #22980 by Fath2o
Replied by Fath2o on topic Surf leash recommendation?
I have to agree with Dicko and suggest that leashes do not belong in the surf on surfskis. I started board surfing long before surf leashes were invented. The surf leash was originally designed to save your board, not other people. When surf leashes first came on the scene, and many years there after, they were referred to as "KOOKCORDS". That's right, if you wore a leash you were obviously a KOOK, and good chance you would get chased off the beach. If you couldn't control your board without one, than you were a hazard to everyone else in the line up. Things are obviously much different in the line up now.
Several years ago I spent a week surfing in Puerto Escondido, Mexico, a spot known for being a heavy large wave beach break. I did not wear a leash the entire time. It was simple, if you wore a leash your board would be broken in two pieces. There are a couple guys down there that, during the high season, have made a career out of putting boards back together, overnight, on a daily basis. Low and behold, none of my boards were broken and I got some of the biggest and best tube rides of my life and only had to swim a handful of times to the beach to retrieve my unbroken surfboard.
I believe that if you feel you need a leash on your ski in the surf zone, you probably shouldn't be out there and need to either improve your skills and judgement, or find a more forgiving surf break.

OK, so all that being said, if you still insist on wearing a leash in the surf, IMO, it needs to be attached to the nose of your ski either directly with a breakaway device at the front of the cockpit or by a jackline that the leash can slide to the nose on.
This will (obviously) present the least amount of resistance to the waves. A hole can be drilled through the nose, then filled with thickened epoxy. When the epoxy has hardened, a smaller hole can be drilled to accommodate a 3 mm line to attach your leash or jackline.
I suggest 3 mm spectra or dyneema. Same cord I use for my steering cables. I would not recommend attaching a leash to the tail of your ski because the impact of the wave will most likely damage your rudder or rudder hardware.
I personally haven't tried this arrangement and only use a calf leash offshore. But to me, it is the only system that makes any sense in the surf zone. I wouldn't recommend this system for offshore use though.

Good luck and Merry Christmas!

Captain Kirk

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5 years 7 months ago - 5 years 7 months ago #22981 by wrybread
Replied by wrybread on topic Surf leash recommendation?
Thanks all for the warnings, and I'm definitely taking them to heart, and will be thinking about it a lot more. But my current thinking is that people aren't taking into account the type of waves that work for surfski surfing. And lets face it, that's gutless dribblers. They can be large gutless dribblers, but anything with some power or steepness leads to broaching, pearling and/or pitch poling. There's a reason we don't see surfskis at Pipeline.

So maybe people are confusing coming to shore through the surf, which might be through waves of consequence, with actual surfing? If I'm coming to shore through waves that are too heavy to surf on a surfski, agreed, unhook the leash. And if I'm surfing some waves that I'm not sure about, unhook. But if I'm in waves appropriate for a surfski, there's really not a lot of power being exerted. Don't get me wrong, I know waves can have surprising power and are hard to predict, but I've never felt a tug of much more force from a surfski than I've felt from, say, a longboard in big surf.

And if anyone knows of any video of a surfski in waves of consequence, please send over the link. Every single video on YouTube, that I've found at least, is of surfing in gutless dribblers. And again, I'm making a distinction between hauling ass through the impact zone trying to get to shore, and spending a session repeatedly surfing waves.

IMO if you're using a leash to stop your boat hitting people, you probably shouldn't be there.


What can I say, I disagree. And this brings up another interesting point, which is that we're each willing to take a different amount of chances. I like to pop out of the wave at the last second before it heaves up onto the beach, I love that last rush of speed as it drops out on the inside, but its of course risky and has resulted in numerous broken rudders. But its worth it for me. My main paddle buddy pops out much sooner. And both approaches are, in my opinion, fine. All that said, if I'm taking chances that can affect other people by my boat going towards them, I want to put the risk of injury on me and not them. Besides, losing control of your craft in the water is the essence of kookdom.

That's right, if you wore a leash you were obviously a KOOK, and good chance you would get chased off the beach.


Agreed, but in my opinion that was just people who were averse to change, and people who are averse to change have said a lot of stupid things over the years. In practice leashes have made lots of spots surfable that weren't previously, and you could argue that a lot of the revolution in surfing happened because of them.

Several years ago I spent a week surfing in Puerto Escondido, Mexico, a spot known for being a heavy large wave beach break. I did not wear a leash the entire time. It was simple, if you wore a leash your board would be broken in two pieces.


I've been to Puerto Escondito too, and agreed, on big days you wouldn't want to wear a leash, or maybe you'd wear a big wave leash, which is very long. But that's the point I'm making, that you adjust your equipment depending on the power of the wave.

Anyway, thanks again for the advice. And I don't want to come off as being argumentative, I'm just stating my current thinking on it, and I'll be thinking about this a lot more and talking about it with the people I paddle with.

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5 years 7 months ago #22982 by Fath2o
Replied by Fath2o on topic Surf leash recommendation?
Wrybread,
Have you tried holding on to your ski in gutless dribblers
with your foot straps? They are much stronger, you are holding on with two feet/legs instead of one knee getting jerked. Other than getting water up my nose, I find it works quite well. Even in waves that I would define as somewhat more than gutless dribblers.
I have personally found that it is much better to use good skill, timing and judgement to avoid having to be much concerned about losing my ski. Although, I have to admit that I have made a lot of mistakes, had a lot of expensive repairs and spent a lot of time in the bucket to get to this point. I find that my skis can be damaged in the surf without ever falling out or losing my ski. In one incident, I had my seam split while caught inside and riding out a 6' set holding on to my ski with my feet locked in the foot straps. I couldn't let go of my ski due to a rock jetty just 30' inside of me. A calf leash would have broke straight away. Better a split seam than a splintered boat.
I have found that I would much rather be paddling my skis vs repairing them and that choice, of course, is up to you.
We had some great sand bars develop off the local rock jetties this summer from all the Baja hurricane swells. I had a couple of great sessions riding 6'-8'+ with the lip throwing top to bottom at the peak. Even managed to get the tail of my ski barreled. By going out after the onshore winds came up there were very few surfers out and it was way to big, the currents to strong and breaking out to far for any tourist/bathers. You have to get in the wave early from far out and stay ahead of the lip and any sections. The trick is to either ride into a channel or pull out before the wave closes out. The National weather service and local authorities had high surf and strong rip current advisories posted. So I doubt those waves would be defined as gutless dribblers. Unfortunately , I don't have any pictures or videos. Oh yeah, never broached, pearled or pitch poled.
I usually paddle out of the harbor to repeatedly ride waves in the surf zone and rarely step foot on the beach. And yes, most of the time they are probably gutless dribblers - but not always.
It never ceases to amaze me how nimble the XT is in the surf zone.
Too much fun!

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5 years 7 months ago - 5 years 7 months ago #22991 by wrybread
Replied by wrybread on topic Surf leash recommendation?

Have you tried holding on to your ski in gutless dribblers
with your foot straps? They are much stronger, you are holding on with two feet/legs instead of one knee getting jerked.


Yup, that's my go to method. I keep stretching the straps in weird angles though, and lord knows I've had so many problems with parts of the rudder system breaking (on my ski and my sailboat, rudders are my constant bane), so I'm always worried about putting stress on them. And the pressure on my knees is a bit scary. But agreed, a great method in a pinch.

And by the way, I can't thank you enough for the recommendation for that 10" Think rudder. It literally changed my boat. Hell, it changed my life. I'm on I think my 5th one now, and to be honest I'm not crazy about the build quality, I wish the shaft went down a little further to make them a bit stronger, but not complaining much since the performance is absolutely spectacular.

And you have the same boat as me, right? An old XT with the rudder way back and the footwells? Agreed, the thing is amazingly nimble in the surf. Assuming, of course, you have that rudder.

I have personally found that it is much better to use good skill, timing and judgement to avoid having to be much concerned about losing my ski.


Agreed, and don't get me wrong, I rarely lose my ski, but it happens maybe once every other session, which means about once per 40 rides. That's pretty infrequently, and in my opinion if you get any better than that you're probably not taking enough risks and not pushing it enough. But granted, that's extremely debatable.

We had some great sand bars develop off the local rock jetties this summer from all the Baja hurricane swells. I had a couple of great sessions riding 6'-8'+ with the lip throwing top to bottom at the peak. Even managed to get the tail of my ski barreled. By going out after the onshore winds came up there were very few surfers out and it was way to big, the currents to strong and breaking out to far for any tourist/bathers. You have to get in the wave early from far out and stay ahead of the lip and any sections. The trick is to either ride into a channel or pull out before the wave closes out. The National weather service and local authorities had high surf and strong rip current advisories posted. So I doubt those waves would be defined as gutless dribblers. Unfortunately , I don't have any pictures or videos. Oh yeah, never broached, pearled or pitch poled.


Sounds awesome. I hope you're right about the ski working in steep and fast waves, since that would give me something to grow into.

And let me know if you make it up to the SF Bay Area ever, for the next two years I have a place right smack dab on the water and have a loaner ski for you. We have a little surfski wave paradise up here.

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5 years 7 months ago #22999 by Fath2o
Replied by Fath2o on topic Surf leash recommendation?
Wrybread,
Yeah, Thanks for the offer, would love to get up that way. Same goes here, I'm not far from the beach in Ventura and I have loaner skis too, including the trusty beat up old XT with the big rudder. Yeah, those big elliptical rudders are easy to damage. The foam cores make 'em nice and light but not very strong. Fortunately, I've yet to damage mine. Glad that rudder worked out for you! Agree, completely changes the boat.
I'd say I definitely play in some steep relatively fast waves, but you do have to stay on the flatter part of the wave. The key is to get in early (from way-way outside) and get to the flatter part of the shoulder before it gets to critical. There also has to be a good consistent exit point that will let you out with out getting caught inside.
You know, I was looking at videos of Pipeline - Might be doable?!
Again, get in on the outer reef early, stay way out on the shoulder and look for the nearest exit. Stay away from the pit though!
You would be haulin' ass! Best done on someone else's ski. Don't think I'd want a leash or foot straps. If I eat it there, I'm letting it all go. Whether you made it or not, you'd probably be flogged and or arrested for trying.

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