When you go paddleboarding, you need to make sure that you have the proper equipment with you. One of the most important accessories you need is the leash.
A paddleboard leash can easily be your lifesaver when you encounter risky waters that can easily get you flying off your board. It keeps you tethered to your paddleboard so you can easily climb back up and swim to safety.
With that, you need to choose the right leash for you. This guide can help you distinguish different types of leashes and identify which one is best. You can also check out our picks for the best stand-up paddleboard leashes in the market.
Table of Contents
Top 8 Best SUP Leashes Reviewed
- BPS STORM Premium SUP Leash – Best Overall
- Own the Wave Premium SUP Leash – Best Value
- Dakine SUP Coiled Calf Leash – Editor’s Choice
- NRS Coiled Ankle Leash
- NRS Quick Release SUP Leash
- BPS STORM Surfboard and SUP Leash
- Retrospec Helix Coiled Leash
- Ho Stevie! Premium Surf Leash
1. BPS STORM Premium SUP Leash – Best Overall
- Length: stretches up to 10 feet
- Thickness: 7.2 millimeters
- Padded neoprene cuff, double stainless-steel swivels, hidden key pocket
- Comes with a dry pouch
The STORM Premium SUP Leash is the most recommended leash by most paddleboarders. A product by BPS, the reputable company made sure they create a leash based on the feedback from their SUP consumers. This makes the STORM Premium a heavy-duty leash that every paddleboarder will be looking for.
It reaches up to 10 feet in length. It is coiled, so it gives you less drag in the water. This also prevents you from getting snagged by debris or corals underwater.
The ankle cuff is padded with neoprene, a super soft material that will prevent you from blistering and bruising upon wearing. Consumers have stated that it is so soft, you forget that you are wearing the leash. The strap is also adjustable, making it perfect for every paddleboarder to use. You can also place the cuff on your ankle or your calf.
If you are a first-timer, detailed instructions on how to attach the leash to your board will be emailed.
The leash has a quick-release tab so you can detach yourself quickly in case of an emergency. It also comes with a hidden key pocket and a waterproof pouch to bring your valuables with you.
|Emailed instructions for first-timers||Swivels can break on fast, harsh waters.|
|Strong Velcro on the cuff||The pouch is not as waterproof|
2. Own the Wave Premium SUP Leash – Best Value
- Length: stretches up to 10 feet
- Thickness: 7.2 millimeters
- Thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) cord, padded neoprene cuff, double stainless-steel swivels, triple-wrap rail saver, hidden key pocket
- Comes with a free dry pouch
One of the next best leashes you need to get other than the BPS’s is the Premium 10-foot Coil SUP Leash by Own the Wave.
Its features and add-ons are almost the same: a highly durable cord made of thermoplastic polyurethane that stretches up to 10 feet, and a padded neoprene cuff that ensures comfort and prevents chafing. It also has emailed instructions for first-timers, a hidden key pocket, and a free waterproof pouch.
While the cuff is more designed for the ankle, you can still wear it around your calf if that is where you are more comfortable. It also comes in a variety of colors if you want to match your leash’s look to your board.
One difference between them is that Own the Wave emails their consumer making sure the product sent to them is in perfect condition. You can email them your direct feedback, and they will send your email and Amazon link to the business owner in case of issues.
|Comfortable and adjustable cuff||Cuff can break on harsh waves|
|Great aftersales service||Dry pouch only fits a phone|
3. Dakine SUP Coiled Calf Leash – Editor’s Choice
- Length: stretches up to 10 feet
- Thickness: 5 millimeters
- High-quality urethane Dura-Cord, molded neoprene cuff, Posi-Lock hook & loop closure, one-inch detachable rail saver, marine-grade stainless-steel swivels
Dakine is one of the most trusted brands when it comes to any kind of board sports equipment. Proudly serving for 35 years in the business, their Stand-Up Paddleboard Coiled Leash is the go-to leash for every experienced paddler.
This leash comes with both the calf and ankle, so you can choose which one you would prefer. Its cord is made with the highest quality urethane material to ensure it will not break immediately upon surfing the waves. With their specially molded neoprene cuff, you will even forget that you are wearing the leash.
Most consumers highly recommend this leash as it is proven to be heavy-duty and durable for a long time. You will not have to worry about it dragging in the water; its spiral design ensures that it stays on the board. It maintains your speed and balance without snagging on objects underwater.
However, with its price point, it does not come with any freebie or hidden key pocket. But if you are only after the highest quality cuff, this is a great choice.
|Most trusted by paddleboarders||Recommended only for open water paddling|
|High-quality materials||No freebies|
|Less drag||High price|
4. NRS Coiled Ankle Leash
- Length: stretches up to 11.5 feet
- Lightweight polyurethane cord, two in-line swivels, two-inch-wide padded calf strap, lanyard for easy attachment
Founder of Northwest River Supplies, also known as NRS, Bill Parks enjoyed river running during his prime. And as a business professor, he decided he wanted to put both his practice and his hobby to good use and built the company in 1972.
He wants to help his fellow water sports enthusiasts out there with the products he and his team create. Staying true to their company’s ideals, the NRS is still one of the most trusted brands in the business. This brings us to their Coiled Ankle Leash.
Perfect for flatwater paddling and ocean paddle surfing, this leash will always keep you tethered to your board. Its coil is made of lightweight polyurethane and a comfortable padded neoprene ankle cuff. The comfort will almost make you forget that you are wearing one. The cuff is adjustable enough to accommodate any ankle size, and you can even wear it on your calf if you prefer.
While it is perfectly high quality, there are no freebies that come with this purchase.
|Double in-line swivels for full-range motion||No freebies|
|An easy to attach lanyard||High price|
5. NRS Quick Release SUP Leash
- Length: stretches up to 11.5 feet
- Polyurethane coil, quick-release shackle attachment, standard carabiner, lanyard attachment
Another handy product from NRS, the Quick Release SUP Leash is a good choice if you are more versatile with your paddleboard activities. It is made with the same sturdy materials as the Coiled Ankle leash.
What makes it versatile is that the adjustable cuff can support your waist and calf, whichever makes you feel comfortable. You can use the leash in both white water activities like a river running and open water activities in a calmer lake. The quick-release feature comes in the waist belt attachment so you can easily detach yourself from your board in an emergency. The waist belt doubles as a waterproof pouch, where you can store your valuables safely.
With its 2-in-1 feature and strong materials, this is one good leash if you plan on paddleboarding for the long term.
|Lightweight and durable||Waist belt pouch cannot entirely be used|
6. BPS STORM Surfboard and SUP Leash
- Length: 5-10 feet
- Thickness: 7.2-8 millimeters
- Super soft neoprene cuff, hidden key pocket, quick-release tab, triple-wrap rail saver
If you prefer more heart-pumping activities like paddleboard surfing, BPS offers a more proper leash for that. The Surfboard and SUP Leash is a straight leash, perfect for more rigorous waters like white water.
You have six choices of length from 5 feet to 10 feet. You will not have to worry about it bending and kinking with its highly durable polyurethane cord, and you can also choose its thickness between 7.2 millimeters and 8 millimeters.
Like its coiled brother, this leash has an adjustable padded neoprene cuff, a quick-release tab, a hidden key pocket, and a triple-wrap rail saver.
|Stays above water; does not drag||Velcro can undo in harsh waters|
|Does not tangle or kink|
|Wide range of choices|
7. Retrospec Helix Coiled Leash
- Length: stretches up to 10 feet
Formerly known as Ten Toes, Retrospec has gained most paddleboarders’ trust with their high-quality paddleboards and equipment. The team was born out of passionate outdoor enthusiasts who aim to give the best possible experience of nature outside the cityscape. This fully pushes them to create and tweak their products, so sports enthusiasts like you can enjoy the great outdoors.
Trusted by many, their high-quality paddleboards are the go-to for paddleboard beginners. The purchase usually comes with the leashes, but you can also buy them separately. Their leashes are made to be lightweight and long-lasting, with comfortable straps with strong Velcro to keep you connected to your board.
Its tight coiled design also helps keep you tethered to your board and keeps the leash out of your way to avoid tripping or getting you off-balanced.
If you want to be cute with your paddleboarding gear, the Helix also offers a wide range of colors to match your board and swimsuit.
|Good coil design||No freebies|
8. Ho Stevie! Premium Surf Leash
- Length: 5-9 feet
- Thickness: 7 millimeters
- Lightweight cord, high-density neoprene ankle cuff, triple-wrap rail saver, double stainless-steel swivels, hidden key pocket, string loop
Ho Stevie! Got its humble beginning from a guy who loves to surf. Born and raised in San Diego, he moved around quite a lot to journey the waves and try surfing without a wetsuit. He aims to create surf gear that is affordable but with the same (or better) quality as the big-name sports brands. With products created by an experienced surfer, you can be assured that it is made for the water to be used for a long time.
While his brand seems to be aimed more toward the surfing community, the Ho Stevie! Surf Leash can also be used in stand-up paddleboarding. Recommended by several paddleboarders, the Surf Leash comes with five length options from 5 feet to 9 feet, giving you more options perfect for your paddleboard.
The 7-millimeter thick cord offers the best weight for SUP surfing that will not break easily but is light enough for less drag. Its material prevents it from tangling, and its comfortable neoprene cuff comes with the old-fashioned hidden key pocket.
The website also comes with good, detailed instructions for first-time surfers (and paddlers) who may not know how to attach their leashes to their boards properly. It also has a guide for you to choose the proper specifications when you buy their leash.
|Can be used for both surfboard and paddleboard||Does not come with freebies|
|Product made by an experienced surfer||Only up to 9 feet long|
|Optimized for harsh waters|
Choosing the Right SUP Leash – A Guide
When going paddleboarding with your friends or family on your next vacation, make sure you have the basic equipment needed. The most important accessory you need is the paddleboard leash.
Your paddleboard leash is your best lifesaving device. It keeps you connected to your paddleboard so you can easily climb back to it and swim back to shore when the waters get too dangerous.
But that does not mean that you no longer need one when you are paddling on flatwater! When you accidentally get into the water, wind and water currents can still separate you from your board. Climbing back onto your board within seconds is better than frantically chasing your board down the water. This causes you to be exhausted and get a higher risk of drowning.
There is a wide variety of SUP leashes to choose from. How do you know if you have chosen the right leash for you? There are several factors to consider, and our guide will help you understand more about leashes.
Types of SUP Leashes
There are three types of SUP leashes: coiled, straight, and quick-release leashes. These types depend on the paddleboarding activity you want to partake on.
The coiled leash is the most common and the most recommended out of all the leash types. It is designed to keep the cord away from the water for less drag, increasing your speed. It also keeps your feet from stepping on it, because the last thing you want while paddleboarding is a tangled cord or accidentally stepping on your cord, causing discomfort on your feet or cause imbalance.
A straight leash is recommended when you prefer racing and surfing. It gives the best range of movement for you when you need to adjust your feet quickly. Straight leashes also give less friction on the water than coiled leashes and are less springy to avoid the board hitting you in the face. Surfboard leashes are mostly straight, but you may need to buy a straight leash suited for paddleboards since they are usually a bit thicker than surf leashes.
The quick-release leash is the recommended choice when you go river paddling or river running. Typically worn around the waist as a belt, this allows more support for you on white water, and it is easier to detach yourself from your board in case of an emergency. Since it is typically worn around the waist, you can also use this type of leash on other forms of paddleboarding if you have leg problems.
While these are the most common types, there are also semi-coiled leashes, which are a combination of straight and coiled leashes. This is good if you want to have an all-around leash to use on flatwater and surfing.
Factors to Consider in Buying SUP Leashes
Aside from the types, there are other things to consider in your SUP leash. When it comes to how long the cord you are supposed to get, a good rule of thumb is to get a leash that is one foot longer than your board. This way, you can have more movement on your board. And when you fall off your board, this prevents recoil when the board slings back to you. The last thing you want is a hardboard missile hurtling toward your face.
The most common material for most SUP leashes is made from polyurethane, a durable plastic polymer used in most cords. Neoprene is a waterproof synthetic rubber and is found in most padded cuffs. The material is very soft and comfortable to use, reducing bruising and chafing if worn for an extended period.
One more thing to consider is the brand. It is better to invest in a trusted brand than to buy a cheap leash that will leave you dissatisfied in the long run. Consider researching brands that most water sports enthusiasts swear by, so you would know who truly makes their products with the best, high-quality materials for their consumers.
Best SUP Leash – Top Pick
The most recommended stand-up paddleboard leash is the BPS STORM Premium SUP Leash. Made by a reputable company, the STORM’s durability can be used for a long time by recreational hobbyists and paddleboard enthusiasts who prefer harsher activities like river running and paddleboard surfing.
Every paddleboarder who has used this product is proven to be overly satisfied. The STORM has the most positive reviews on Amazon and independent water sports sites.
With the leash’s long-lasting durability and a free waterproof dry bag, it is the best, most affordable leash you can buy in the market that you can use for the long term.
Whenever you decide to try paddleboarding, make sure you always get a good SUP leash first. While it may look like a simple device for your board, this is the most important accessory you need when it comes to life and death. Owning a SUP leash can lower the risk of you drowning, and it also lowers the risk of losing your paddleboard when you fall off. You can save more money if you invest in a good SUP leash.
Finding the right SUP leash is also vital, depending on what activity you intend to do. Always research and check to find the right leash you need. The easiest way, though, is to check out our best pick for SUP leash, the STORM Premium SUP Leash by BPS. A well-known water sports company makes it, so you can rest assured that it is made from the highest-grade materials. Plus, it is the most positively reviewed by your fellow paddleboard enthusiasts. You can never go wrong with that many reviews.
Just make sure that it is the right pick for you, too. Other paddleboard leashes out there can be a better choice for you than the STORM Premium. Remember to never sacrifice quality over affordability, so you will not have to suffer injuries and shell out more money later.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What are the parts of a SUP leash?
The leash string is the one you tie directly to the board’s leash plug. It is usually made of nylon. A good leash string should last you even the harshest of waters without it getting undone and detaching you from your board.
The rail saver is a webbing or wrap that protects the board. Constant tension from the leash when tugged can cause damage to your board. Rail savers act as a cushion that protects the tail of your paddleboard and can lengthen its warranty or lifespan.
The swivel is the metal part that connects two parts of the leash: the rail saver and the cord, and the cord and the cuff. You can think of this as the joint of your board. This gives you a wide range of movement while paddleboarding and prevents tangling.
The cord is the longest and strongest part of the leash, located between the rail saver and the cuff. Usually made from polyurethane and is longer than the paddleboard itself. It has several types—coiled, straight, and quick-release leashes—which are optimized depending on the paddleboarding activity you choose to do all the time.
And lastly, the cuff is the padded part that goes either around your ankle, calf, or waist to keep you attached to your board. Most cuffs are made from neoprene rubber that reduces chafing on your skin for a more comfortable boarding experience. Good cuffs come with Velcro that can easily wrap around your ankle, calf, or waist and offer a snug grip to prevent it from getting loose.
What is the difference between a Surf Leash and a SUP leash?
The main difference between the two leashes is that each leash is more compatible with the board they belong to. Ensure that you purchase the appropriate leash for the appropriate sport and board, as they are made specifically for the sport they are intended for.
Which leg does the cuff go on?
Once you are in the water, make sure to keep practicing using your dominant leg so you can have a better experience in steering your board while paddling.
When should I replace my paddleboard leash?
To lengthen your leash’s lifespan and avoid frequently replacing it, it is best always to detach it from your board and carefully store it. Make sure you always wash it after use to maintain the integrity of the cord for longer.
Once you see that your leash is not as shiny and new as before, that is when you can replace it. Ensure you always look after your leash, so you will know when it is no longer safe to use and needs replacement.
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G’day, my name is Rach Taylor and I’m the proud Founder of Surf Hungry. I am a former Australian Olympic athlete and Australian representative surf sports athlete. I’ve worked in the surf industry and lived at many of Australia’s best surf spots, sparking a life-long love of the ocean and a passion for surf sports which also rubbed off on my two young sons! I am also lucky to spend a lot of ocean-time in my favorite second home, Indonesia. In addition to SurfHungry I have founded several other websites in my areas of passion, namely coffee and rock climbing, and am also a regular rowing content contributor.