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Unless you want to deal with leashes breaking constantly or from normal use, don’t go with a cheap, no-name or knock-off product.
Choose a leash from a decent surf company with a solid reputation to back its products. A lot of the cheap surf leashes you’ll find are all imported from the same handful of factories in China or Taiwan with low-quality materials and cheap construction methods.
You’ll want a leash with quality swivel connections, quality Velcro connections at the cuff and the rail saver, a cuff that will be comfortable as you surf, and leash cord that won’t stretch out too quickly from normal use.
How long should my surf leash be?
When you’re looking for a new surfboard leash, look for something about the same size or just a bit longer than the length of your surfboard.
Too short, and you run the risk of your board recoiling back and hitting you after you fall. Too long, and the leash will create unnecessary drag and be pretty ineffective.
How often should you replace a surf leash?
From normal use, your surfboard leash is going to wear out over time.
How often you should replace it depends on how much you surf it, how often you wipeout and stretch it to its limits, how old it is, and where and how its stored.
Here are some times when you should probably replace your leash:
The leash has stretched far past its original length.
The velcro closures are no longer effective.
The cord has become brittle and/or has developed cracks.
You’ve put it through a few full extensions.
You can keep your leash lasting as long as possible by:
Avoid stretching it unless you actually wipeout. In most circumstances, you should exit a wave with your board under control or in a way that minimizes the impact it’ll face.
Rinse the swivels with fresh water.
Keep the velcro connections clean and closed when not in use – try to avoid getting it clogged with sand, dog hair, or other debris.
Store it uncoiled and unfolded out of direct sunlight.