The surfboard leash is one of the three most essential gears for surfing. The first one, of course, is the surfboard and following it are the wetsuit and the surf leash. In the beginning, surfers used to call it the leg rope or kook cord to tease those who wear the leashes while surfing.
It has almost been five decades since the inception of these ropes and with so many advantages that it offers to the surfers, leashes have made an inseparable place in the heads & hearts of the surfers.
A surf leash keeps you connected to the surfboard. Without a surf leash, your board would go hey-wire every time it slips out and may hit a rock, reach to the shore or strike other surfers. You would be busy all time bringing back your board from all over the places rather than riding those alluring waves.
Top 8 Best Surfboard Leashes in Review
Having said that, you need to have a good surf leash to wear and this article is to guide you to select the best surf leash for you. Find here 8 best surf leashes shortlisted after doing thorough research on several good quality leg ropes available in the market.
- Dakine John John Florence Comp Surf Leash
- FCS Freedom Surfboard Leash
- Kelly Slater Komunity Project KS Surfboard Leash
- DAKINE Longboard Ankle 9′ x ¼” Surf Leash
- WOOWAVE Premium 9 Surfboard Leash
- FCS Comp Essential Surf Leash
- Wave Tribe ECO Leash
- Dakine Unisex Kainui 6’x 1/4” Surf Leash
- Length: 6 ft
- Thickness: 4.7 mm
The Dakine has been in the surf leash market for over 4 decades now. They know the ins and out of the kook cord. Partnering with John John Florence who is one of the best all-time surfers in the world has essentially helped Dakine to understand the exact need of surfers. And this has helped the Dakine tremendously in offering the most practical designs to all surfers with varying styles and experience levels.
For less than 6’ boards the Dakine Comp surf leash is one of the best in the category. The best quality urethane Dura-Cord ensures that the 3/16” thick rope offers the highest strength the surfer needs while facing the double to triple overhead waves over the water surface.
Over and above, the leash offers a highly comfortable experience to the surfer by providing a soft cushion on the ankle cuff.
The continuous refinement in all designing and making aspects eventually comes out in the form of the highest quality surf leash that offers the ultimate safety to all participating in the game… yes, the surfer, the fellow surfers, the surfboard, and also to the ocean. Well, while serving the basic purpose of providing safety to the first three, it also keeps the ocean from the harmful plastic by packaging Comp in a zero plastic material.
|High strength due to urethane Dura-Cord material||Some quality control issues|
|Long rail saver offer added protection
|Comfortable ankle cuff
- Length: 6 ft
- THICKNESS: N/A
If you want to experience how wise use of technology can create such uniqueness in the product, give at least one look at the FCS Freedom surf leash. The FCS Freedom looks new in its appearance as well as its functionality.
While the other surf leash manufacturers are still using only urethane, the FCS uses nylon yarn over the polyurethane cord. The new cord is stronger than the other cords with significantly less weight and thickness.
The use of new technology has allowed making the cord which has fewer breakpoints, imparting even more strength to the cord. The leg rope is much more hydrodynamic than other surf leashes.
The new design also offers much less drag thus does not interfere while surfing. However, this design makes surfing in the larger waves a bit difficult as the leash straightens up and does not recoil.
The silicone on the inner side of the ankle cuff does not allow the cuff to slide to move from its place.
|Nylon yarn offers more strength with less thickness||The problem of leash stretching in larger waves|
|Ankle cuff does not slide on ankles
|Comfortable neoprene padding on ankle cuff
|Lightweight and fewer breakpoints
|Extremely useful for smaller waves|
- Length: 8 ft
- Thickness: 7 mm
If you have played with the waves in the ocean on you are pretty well aware of the intricacies of surfing gears’ designs. You are also well aware of the highpoints and the shortcomings of different gears including the surf leash. And Kelly Slater knows it more than anyone else. Being on the top of the list of the world’s best surfer, Kelly is using all his experience in designing surf gears for all levels. The Komunity Project KS surf leash is designed for the newbies.
The leash has the design that will offer the safety, strength, and comfort needed for a beginner. The non-corroding stain-less steel ensures high durability in the salty water. It has the padded ankle cuff and the leash would not require any adjustment once strapped. The free surf wax is a unique inclusion in the list of articles offered with the leg rope. The length of 8’ allows it to handle multiple surfboards with equal ease.
|Non-corrosive stainless steel swivel for high durability||Not ideal for the advance surfers|
|Padded ankle cuff for added comfort||Not pretty useful for shortboards|
|Highly useful rope for the beginners
|Removable rail saver
|Free surfboard wax
- Length: 9 ft
- Thickness: 6.5 mm
If you wish to know how a simple design can offer one of the strongest and durable surf leashes, try out the DAKINE Longboard Ankle 9’ surf leash. It offers you everything essential without much hubbub of unnecessary paraphernalia.
For a high strength leash, you would want a strong material. It is as simple as that. And the DAKINE knows it pretty well. It uses a strong urethane DuraCord to impart strength to the leash.
The kook cord should be tangle-free in any situation. The marine-grade stainless steel swivels used in making DAKINE surf leash ensures you experience the waves rather than wasting your time in coming out of the knots. The Opti-Flex leash ends facilitate it even further by moving with you.
The simplest way to keep your ankle comfortable is to have a good enough width of the ankle cuff with good cushioning and a perfect fit on the ankles. The 2” neoprene ankle cuff offers perfect grip with enough cushioning to keep you comfortable.
The leash includes PosiLock hook and loop closure coupled with 1.5” detachable rail saver.
|High durable marine-grade stainless steel||Drags more on water|
|Special PosiLock hook & loop closure
|High-quality Velcro for perfect grip
|Strong urethane DuraCord|
|Detachable rail saver
- Length: 9 ft
- Thickness: 7 mm
Safety, strength, comfort, and durability. Yes, the WOOWAVE Premium 9 comes with all of these and a lot more.
The 7mm urethane cord offers the surf leash extreme strength to handle any long & heavy board on the water surface. The double stainless steel swivels, in addition, avoid tangling the leg rope while keeping you relaxed during the trickiest of situations. And while keeps you safe and relaxed, the triples wrap rail saver protects your precious surfboard from any damage.
No surfer would want a nagging irritation down there on their ankles. Rather than safety, many low-quality leg ropes would only offer the blistering, itching & the rashes on the skin. The WOOWAVE is premium in quality and cannot ignore to offer the much-needed comfort to the surfer with its 2.5” cushioned ankle cuff. The HD neoprene pads ensure a perfect fit and cozy feeling. Besides, the adjustable strap coupled with the Velcro closure doesn’t allow the cuff to slide around the ankle. For maximum safety, easy pull tab and discrete key pocket ensure quick and easy unleashing from the board at any time.
The corrosion-free stainless steel cord ensures high durability of the rope even on prolonged usage in the salty water.
To offer a high level of customer satisfaction, the leash comprises a waterproof pouch to keep your essential belongings like cell phones, watches, and wallets, while you surf on the water. You can comfortably wear the sealable pouch around your neck. And to further offer more satisfaction and to showcase its confidence in the quality of its product the company offers a money back guarantee to the surf leash Premium 9. It, in addition, offers lifetime replacement exchange for any defect and damage caused while using the leash on the ocean.
|Hidden key pocket and waterproof pouch||Quality of Velcro is not up to the mark|
|Double SS cord to avoid tangling
|Padded ankle cuff for comfort
|Strong urethane cord
- Length: 5/6 ft
- Thickness: 5.5 mm
Searching for a kook cord for up to 4’ wave size? Have a look at the FCS Comp Essential Surf Leash to put an end to your surf leash hunt forever.
You can spend your entire time playing with your gears rather than the waves but for that, you need to have inferior quality surf gears in your kitty. However, with the FCS Comp Essential Surf Leash, you can simply take off your attention from your ankle and the rope attached to it and dare the high tide coming your way and challenging you in all possible ways. The lightweight and comfortable leash gets its ideal conditions when you are preparing for the performance surfing on small conditions.
While the stainless steel swivel provides a tangle-free functionality plus the much-needed durability the improvised polyurethane cord is all about the strength of the leg rope. The inner side of the ankle cuff has a silicone grip to avoid ankle twists. Besides, the Hypalon pull-tab offers an easy release to the surf leash when needed.
|More stability due to Silicone polymers in the ankle cuff||Leash gets removed very easily while surfing|
|No tangling due to Stainless steel swivel
|Ideal for up to 4’ surf size
- Length: 7 ft
- Thickness: 7 mm
A leash is all about safety and strength. To add a little more, it is about comfort as well. And what if it also fulfills its responsibility towards our eco-system?
The Wave Tribe ECO is the one-in-all package.
The unbreakable and double swivel technology offers tremendous strength to the cord while keeping it untangled in the most tricky ocean circumstances. The highly secured Velcro on the ankle cuff adds further to the safety of the surf leash, you would never lose your surfboard even while confronting the wildest of waves… or is it the other way round?
Well, having a sturdy leash while keeping the environment unaffected is the real challenge.
And the Wave Tribe ECO is the leaders in offering the most eco-friendly leash solution without compromising on the strength. The strong recycled plastic used in making the leash does not impact the environment even a single bit thus gives you a proud feeling of using a product that takes care of your surroundings.
And the Wave Tribe takes pride in offering its customer the product that can vouch for. The 1-year no-questions-asked free replacement is a testimonial to its high quality and its care for the customer.
|Double swivel technology to prevent tangle||Plastic on the leash is pretty thin|
|One year free replacement guarantee
|Made of eco-friendly recycled plastic
|High in strength
- Length: 6 ft
- Thickness: 6.5 mm
You need the most reliable surf leash to combat the double overhead waves. And you guessed it right! The Dakine Unisex Kainui 6’x 1/4” Surf Leash would be your ideal leg companion for these big conditions.
The quarter-inch urethane Dura-Cord attached to a fat neoprene cuff measuring 2” and 1.5” rail saver that is detachable, is all engineered to support you breaking the wave faces most effectively.
The 6’ leash manufactured by the Dakine keeps you close to your board and connected with the strong cord made with urethane. The PosiLock hook & loop closure are second to none when it comes to the performance. Besides, the OptiFlex ends and marine-grade stainless steel are swivels that provide durability and tangle-free functionality.
|Ideal for double overhead waves||More drag in the water|
|Posi-Lock hook & loop closure
|Opti-Flex rope ends|
Features to Look for When Buying a Surfboard Leash
So, these were the top 8 best surfboard leash for you in the review section. Looking at the specifications, features, pros, and cons of each of these leash boards you would have filtered a few leg ropes for you.
Moving forward, as a logical step, we are presenting here the buyer’s guide for the surfboard leash. The intention of the buyer’s guide is to share with you important factors you should consider before finalizing the most suitable board leash.
This would help you in assessing your exact requirement vis-a-vis the features offered by each of the above products shared in the review. You can match the two and take a final decision in buying the best surfboard leash for your specific purpose.
This is the most basic feature to be decided for deciding the surfboard leash. As a rule of thumb, the length of the leash should be equal or a little more than the length of your surfboard.
You should never buy a leash which is less than your board length. For a beginner, this factor is particularly important because of the lack of control if you have a fall during surfing, you would fall on the top of your board or the board would come crashing over you after you fall.
On the other hand, too long a surfboard leash too is not recommended. The longer leash would cause the leash to drag in the water. This, in turn, would get tangled around your ankle. In some other situations, it would cause your board to collide with the other surfers on the water surface.
The ankle cuff is the part of the leash that connects to your ankle. The ankle cuff can make or spoil your surfing experience. A comfortable ankle cuff allows you to keep your attention on the waves rather than on your ankle, which is true with the poor quality ankle cuffs or the cuffs that do not fit properly on your ankle.
A perfect fit ankle cuff would not have any sliding movement around the ankle and thus it would not cause any irritation out there. The ankle cuffs are made of Velcro for the right fit. For more comfort, they are added with pads or have silicone polymers on the inner side of the cuff.
Another important aspect to consider for the ankle cuff is its quick & easy release. This is particularly useful features in case your leash has stuck around a reef or other such object. A quicker release system is extremely critical in such circumstances.
If ankle cuff is the part of a leash connecting to your body, the rail saver is the one connecting to the surfboard. A larger rail saver is recommended to avoid damage to the board.
A small rail saver would put huge pressure on the edges of the surfboard and would eventually cause damage to them. However, with the longer rail saver, there would be more drag in the water.
Swivels are the joints at both ends i.e. on the ankle as well as the board side. The cord of the leash connects to these swivels on both these sides. Without the swivels, the cord would tangle around your foot.
But as they are an important component of the leash, it is important to have a good quality of swivels to get high durability of the leash. As they remain in contact with the water for a long time, it is important to build them with an anti-corrosive material. Marine-grade stainless steel is a very good material that does not corrode in the salty sea water even if exposed for a long duration.
A thick leash would have a tendency to wrap around and would also have more drag in the water. For this reason, a thin leash is a better option compared to a thick cord. However, a thin leash is more prone to breakage.
So, for a newbie, it is recommended to use a thick leash as it can bear the impact during a fall and as you grow in experience you can go for thinner cords.
Therefore, for a durable option, a thicker leash is better while for performance surfing thinner leash is a better option.
Surf leashes have witnessed a lot of design modifications in its journey of a little over 50 years. They are much more comfortable, stronger, and durable than what they used to be even 5 years back.
The leg ropes have made the task of learning surfing much safer. Even the professionals find it very useful in entering the uncertain trajectories of the ocean with confidence.
Selecting the right leash is a bit tricky because of the vast variety available in the market. However, the reviews and the buyer’s guide shared here would have helped you in selecting the right leg rope for yourself. If you are still a bit confused in making the final choice, you can safely go for our top pick. It has all the essential features which are required in a good surf leash for all levels of the surfers.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
Q: Do I need a surf leash?
A Surf leash offers many advantages. It saves you time and energy and in certain situations, it saves you as well. Without surf leash every time you lose your surfboard you may have to swim a long way to bring the board back. With the surfboard leash connected you can use your surfboard as a resting board as well. Moreover, a leash protects your surfboard from hitting a rock or someone else’s board. The leash can also bring you back on the surface if you are hit by a big wave.
Q: Which leash should I choose between comp leash and normal leash?
Comp leashes or competition leashes are the thinner cords. While in a competition you wouldn’t want more drag in water. The thinner leashes have less drag and they have less probability of tangling around your legs or fins while entering the zone of lined up waves. The normal leash is thicker and thus can bear the impact of waves more easily. They also have high durability. These leashes are good for beginners. So, you can choose according to your experience level and your purpose of surfing. An experienced surfer, however, would be able to surf on comp leash in all conditions.
Q: How do I put on the surf leash with Velcro strap?
There is a plug at the back end of the surfboard. You have to attach the leash to this plug. For the leash with a Velcro strap, you have to open the Velcro and push the loop below the plug bar. Bring this end to the other side with the help of a tool with the pointed tip like a screwdriver. Pull the Velcro in such a way that the string sets next to the sewn-in part. Take one more round to fold it over the Velcro. Finally, tighten it after giving it a tug to firmly secure the whole arrangement.