How To Choose a Surfboard Leash 101

Every surfer at one point wonders how to choose a surfboard leash? What size or thickness of surf leash is better?

Don’t worry we will answer all these questions leaving you confident when you next choose a surfboard leash.

How to Choose a Surfboard Leash 

To choose a surfboard leash you must consider your skill level, the wave conditions, and your board size. Opt for a longer leash for bigger waves and shorter for smaller waves. 

Match the leash thickness to your board size, with thicker leashes for larger boards. Choose a comfortable ankle cuff and a reliable swivel to prevent tangles.

View our list of the Best Surfboard Leashes to ensure you have the right fit for your surfboard and surfing style. 

Does Surf Leash Size Matter?

Leash size plays a crucial role in your surfing experience. The length of your leash affects your ability to manoeuvre the board and influences safety in the water. 

For larger waves, it's recommended to use a longer leash to give you more room to navigate and prevent separation from your board. 

On the other hand, shorter leashes are ideal for smaller waves, providing better control. When you choose a surfboard leash ensure you consider these points.

What Size Leash For Surfboard?

Selecting the appropriate leash size for your surfboard involves considering the board's length. 

As a general rule, the leash should be about the same length as your board. For shortboards, opt for a leash around 6 to 7 feet, while longboards typically require longer leashes, ranging from 9 to 10 feet. 

Matching the leash size to your board ensures optimal performance, allowing you to catch waves comfortably while maintaining control over your surfboard. Some surfers opt to surf with no leash, however it is recommended you use one!

Surfboard Leash Size Chart

Surf Leash Length (Feet)Surfboard Length Range (Feet)
6Up to 6
76 - 7.5
87.5 - 9
98.5 - 10
109.5 - 11
Choose a Surfboard Leash - Size Chart

Keep in mind that these are general guidelines, and personal preference may vary. It's essential to choose a leash length that allows you comfortable movement while ensuring the leash isn't too long, causing unnecessary drag or tangling.

Surfer's Experience Impact On Surf Leash Choice

A surfer's experience level significantly influences your decision when you choose a surfboard leash.

Novice surfers may benefit from slightly longer leashes, providing additional security and reducing the likelihood of losing the board. 

Intermediate and advanced surfers often prefer shorter leashes, as they offer greater responsiveness and manoeuvrability. 

Surfboard Leash Length

Determining the best surfboard leash length is a critical aspect when you choose a surfboard leash. The ideal length varies based on factors like your skill level, wave conditions, and board type. 

For beginners, it's generally recommended to choose a leash that matches or slightly exceeds the length of the surfboard. 

This ensures added safety and reduces the risk of losing your board in the learning stages, typically around 6 to 7 feet for shortboards and 9 to 10 feet for longboards.

What Is The Best Surf Leash Length?

When you choose a surfboard leash its important to note as your skills progress, the preference for leash length often shifts to shorter options. Experienced surfers often favour leashes in the range of 5 to 7 feet for improved manoeuvrability and responsiveness. 

Some advanced surfers might even opt for a leash shorter than the board itself to enhance their ability to perform intricate turns and manoeuvres. 

Ultimately, the best leash length is a personal choice, influenced by your proficiency on the waves and the specific conditions you encounter.

Surfboard Leash Thickness

Choosing the right leash thickness is vital for both safety and performance when you choose a surfboard leash. The thickness of the leash is directly linked to the size and weight of your surfboard. 

For larger boards, such as longboards or stand-up paddleboards, a thicker leash (around 7-8mm) is recommended to withstand the increased forces generated by the board.

Conversely, smaller boards like shortboards are better paired with thinner leashes (around 5-7mm) to ensure flexibility and reduced drag. Thicker leashes provide added durability and strength, ideal for surfers tackling larger waves, while thinner options offer increased responsiveness, crucial for executing quick manoeuvres on smaller waves.

Type of Surfboard Leashes

When you choose a surfboard leash i you need to know the different kinds of leashes. The main one in question for surfers is the comp leash. Read our full guide on the different kinds of surfboard leashes.

Competition Surf Leashes

Competition surf leashes are designed for high-performance surfing, featuring a streamlined design and reduced drag to enhance a surfer's speed and agility during competitions. When you choose a surfboard leash asses your ability before opting for comp leash.

Regular Width Surf Leashes

Regular width surf leashes provide a versatile and balanced option for everyday surfing, offering a reliable combination of strength and flexibility for surfers of various skill levels and wave conditions.

Different Parts of a Surfboard Leash

Surf leashes consist of several essential parts, each playing a specific role in ensuring safety and functionality during your surfing sessions. When you choose a surfboard leash its important to know all of these!

Surfboard Leash Cuff

The surf leash cuff is the part that attaches to your ankle, providing a secure connection between you and your board. It's typically made of padded neoprene for comfort and may include an adjustable strap for a customised fit. 

The cuff is a critical component, ensuring the leash stays connected to the surfer even in challenging conditions.

Surfboard Leash Swivel

The surf leash swivel is a rotating mechanism located near the cuff. It prevents the leash from tangling by allowing the cord to rotate freely as you move on the wave. 

A quality swivel is essential for maintaining a smooth and tangle-free surfing experience, particularly during turns and manoeuvres.

Surfboard Leash Cord

The surf leash cord is the flexible, elastic part of the leash that connects the cuff to the board. It's typically made of strong, durable materials like urethane, designed to withstand the forces exerted by the waves. 

The length and thickness of the cord depend on factors such as the size of the board and the surfer's skill level.

Surfboard Leash Rail Saver

The surf leash rail saver is a protective piece that attaches to the leash cord and wraps around the tail of the surfboard. It serves to distribute the pressure and prevent the cord from cutting into the board's rail. The rail saver is crucial for preserving the integrity of your board and prolonging the lifespan of the leash.

Surf Leash Attachment: Ankle vs. Calf

Ankle Surfboard Leashes

Ankle surf leashes are the traditional and more commonly used attachment point for surfers. These leashes secure around the surfer's ankle, providing a stable and reliable connection between the surfer and the surfboard. 

Ankle leashes are preferred by many for their simplicity and ease of use, allowing for quick and straightforward attachment and detachment.

Calf/Knee Surfboard Leashes

Calf or knee surf leashes provide an alternative attachment point slightly higher on the leg. This style is often chosen by surfers who prefer a bit more freedom around the ankle or have specific preferences for how the leash feels during manoeuvres. 

Some find that attaching the leash to the calf or knee area can reduce tangling and provide a different feel in the water. The choice between ankle and calf/knee attachments ultimately comes down to personal preference and comfort for the individual surfer.

Summing It Up: What To Do Now

Okay now you should be confident when you choose a surfboard leash , but if your still unsure check out this helpful Surfboard Leash Video!

If your interested in learning more about surfing discover our many guides that will inform you on your surfing journey. Don't forget to follow us on Facebook & Instagram to stay informed on our amazing surf shots and stories shared from surf creators around the world!

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