A standard 6 foot 6mm double swivel surf leash is best which needs to be attached correctly making best use of the rail saver. The double swivel is important to avoid twists.
When wearing a leash we do advise wearing a helmet but as you progress and get use to riding with a leash, you may not want to.
As you generally ride a surfboard less powered and with a high depower kite, with a bit of practise and technique, the leash becomes a useful tool, giving you more riding time as well as a lifeline when things go horribly wrong!
When should you leash-
· Cross offshore winds
· Reef breaks
· Riding alone
· Crowded beach breaks
Most of these reasons are for your own benefit to keep your board with you to ride more waves and if it all goes pear shaped, you still have a surfboard which you can use to paddle in.
On top of this added safety, wearing a leash means you can push yourself that bit more without worrying about losing your board and spending up to 10 minutes body dragging back to it.
In crowded conditions it’s important for other peoples safety as your board washing through the break can cause a serious injury.
During contests every second counts so you simply cannot lose your board.
When you shouldn’t leash-
· Windy strapped riding
· Strapless freestyle
When riding at an empty sandy beach break with onshore winds there really is no need to use a leash. Although the only time I haven’t in the last few years, my board washed in and hit the only rock causing a ding. So it’s up to you?
If you are riding quite powered up, this means you will hold more speed and power if you crash which could cause your board to fly at you. If you are powered it tends to be easier to body drag back to your board anyway.
Attaching the leash to your board-
· The leash string should be 2-3mm strong rope. Avoid kite line as it can cut into the leash plug.
· Tie an overhand knot with enough length so that you get 2 even size loops just wide enough for the rail saver to fit through
· Thread the leash string through the board and squeeze the rail saver together to get it through both loops
· Close the Velcro so that the knot is hidden inside
· The rail saver is now doing its job protecting the rail and any corners on the tail
· With this method it’s really easy to change the leash onto another board as well as being easy to spot any wear to the leash string
· You should attach the leash to your prominent back leg on the ankle. This is the right leg for Natural stance and left leg for Goofy.
· Make sure the leash is pointing backwards
· Ensure the pull release is on the front within easy access so it’s easy to pull off in an emergency
· Avoid attaching a board leash to your harness!
By attaching the leash to your leg, it ensures that during a wipeout when the kite pulls you one way and the wave pulls the board the other, the inevitable board spring back will normally miss you. This is due to its attachment point being 5-6 feet from you head depending on your height. Attaching to your harness means the board will come back straight at the middle of your back or head, which is not ideal!
· I hear people saying a lot, that a leash gets in the way during tacks & gybes etc- With practise it becomes simple to step over it, which I would much rather do than body drag after my board.
· Board flies at you a lot- Practise falling off, bringing your kite up sheeting out with no power to avoid spring back. If you feel the board pulling strongly on your leg, prepare to protect your head with your arm. Avoid riding overpowered!
· The board goes through your lines or wrap around you causing a tangle- On rare occasions this does happen. You need to practise taken your leash off in the water so that when it does you don’t panic. Sometimes you can simply pass the board back through the bar, other times you need to get the leash off quick, so it’s worth practising and always make sure the leash release pull is on the front.
· If you need to paddle your board in, loosen your harness off and rotate it around so that the hook is out that back not damaging your board.
· Regularly check your leash and leash string for any wear or stretching- Pictured above are the same leashes, one I used at One Eye in 2011 and it saved me on more than one occasion (see Kiteworld Wipeout Wednesday) but is now stretched and unusable due to losing its strength and elasticity. Regulary check the swivels still turn.
For Kitesurfing lessons in Cornwall & Kitesurf Coaching Holidays go to my school www.pastyadventures.co.uk
You can also stay up to date with all my antics by liking my facebook page www.facebook.com/LeePasty
Lee Pasty Harvey
Sponsored by- North, Ion, Freeriders