If you’re shopping for a surf leash, you might be a little confused about the many different options available and what size is best for your surfboard.
You want a surf leash that matches the size of your surfboard. If you have a 6 foot surfboard, get a 6 foot leash. If you have a surfboard that is 6 feet 5 inches, get a 7 foot leash. Always err on the side of a little bigger of a surf leash compared to the size of the surfboard.
Now that we covered the size of the leash, let’s get into the types of surf leashes to be sure you get the right leash for your short or longboard surfboard.
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Regular Surf Leash
Regular surf leashes are typically around 6 feet long and a quarter-inch thick, but leash lengths and widths vary by brand and type.
These surf leashes are made for the average surfer, someone who is either surfing for the first time or on a regular basis and isn’t concerned with the fine details and improvements provided by other surf leashes.
Also known as “all-round leashes”, they are often around 7mm thick but the width and leash length can vary. They are great options for just about any shortboard surfboard.
Competition Surf Leash (Comp Leash)
The competition leash is thinner, lighter, and creates much less drag in the water.
Competition leashes are so-named because they are designed for pro riders to be worn during competitions or surfers who want to less weight to their surf leash.
Most comp leashes are just 5mm thick and this allows for a lot of speed and minimal drag when surfing.
However, they are best suited to for waves up to 6 feet and thicker leashes are better when surfing bigger waves.
Pro Surf Leash
A pro leash is thin without sacrificing safety.
They are typically used on larger surfboards than competition leashes as greater volume means that the surfboard will be pulled around and placed under more strain.
Longboard Surf Leash
As the name suggests, longboard leashes are designed to be worn on longboards.
They are available as ankle leashes and calf leashes, which means they attach to either the ankle or the calf.
If you surf your longboard like a shortboard surfboard an ankle leash will work for your. Get a calf leash if you like to walk up and down on your longboard.
Big Wave Surf Leash
While competition leashes opt for a thinner and more lightweight design, big wave leashes go in the opposite direction.
They are thicker and stronger to withstand the force of bigger waves.
Many big wave leashes are around 10 feet in length and they also feature a quick-release mechanism that allows the surfer to discard them if they are caught in a dangerous position. They are also thicker than most leashes you will find in your local surfshop.
What is the Best Surfboard Leash?
The best surfboard leash for you will depend on the conditions you’re surfing, the size of your surboard, as well as your experience level.
As a beginner or intermediate, you should be okay with regular surfboard leashes and longboard leashes.
Unless you’re looking for a minimal speed improvement over playful conditions or security over bigger waves, regular leashes are more than enough.
For pros and competition surfers, it’s really a toss-up between comp/pro leashes.
Do I Need a Surfboard Leash?
Yes. Not only will surfboard leashes prevent damage to your surfboard, but they also prevent you from injuring other surfers.
Most surfers choose to wear leashes these days as they understand the safety benefits, as well as the convenience.
What’s more, the fact that there are many different types of leash—ones that are suited to all wave conditions and surfboard sizes—means that there’s no excuse not to wear one. If you want to know more about surfing without a leash, here you go.