The surfboard leash was invented in 1971 by Pat O’Neill, son of the legendary Jack O’Neill who founded the O’Neill surf brand. Initially, leashes – or leg ropes – were considered to be dangerous accessories. Surf magazines proclaimed them to be “kook cords” suitable only for surfers who couldn’t keep their boards under control or who were too lazy to swim to shore to retrieve a lost craft.
It quickly became apparent that surfboard leashes were excellent safety devices, keeping surfers close to their boards and reducing the amount of time spent swimming to the beach. They also protected other surfers from wayward boards tumbling along foamies.
Nowadays log riders who surf without leashes are generally considered to be a menace. There’s nothing worse than seeing a log, SUP or foil board bouncing, out of control, in your direction. Can you imagine a surf break like Pipeline or Snapper Rocks without leashes? It would be mayhem.
At Surfd, we’re passionate about helping our readers make informed decisions regarding surfing gear and accessories. That’s why we created this showcase list of our favorite leashes.
Table of Contents
Best Premium Leash: Ocean & Earth Premium One-XT Leash
Leash technology has evolved to the point where a broken leash is a rare occurence, especially for everyday surfers who don’t paddle out in anything bigger than double overhead. Unless you’re surfing super-hollow reef breaks most of the models on this page will suffice. However, if you are pushing your limits then the OE One-XT is a perfect choice.
The Premium One-XT is the anaconda of leashes. It’ll stay wrapped around your limb through good times and bad.
The Premium One-XT Leash by Ocean & Earth is one of the strongest leashes on the market. The premium is so strong it will probably outlast your board!
One Piece Extruded Cord – From swivel to swivel – just one cord… one component. Eliminates the need for end joins, which are the weakest points in conventional leashes, meaning no weak points.
Original Detachable Rail Saver – The original rail saver system designed by Ocean & Earth, with sewn in anchor cord. Protects rails and is easily detached.
New Formula Controlled-Stretch Urethane – The larger the wave, the more stretch which keeps your board at a safe distance away. Premium grade quality urethane developed by the world’s leading manufacturer.
Flex Neck Strap Plug – Allows 360º movement of leash and offers more comfort when leash is under load.
Safety Release Pull Tab – Easy to see ‘Safety Red’ quick release pull tab. Essential when surfing big waves and reefs.
Easy-Wrap Neoprene Strap Inner – Vertically moulded neoprene panels easily wrap around your ankle, adding to comfort.
Plug Buddy – Another Ocean & Earth first. Ensures leash string can be easily slipped through surfboard plug.
Warranty – Guaranteed against faulty workmanship or defective materials for 12 months from date of purchase.
Best All Round Leash: FCS All Round Essential Leash
FCS (Fin Control Systems) are now considered to be an OG (original gangster) brand who helped revolutionize the art of surfboard design with their removable fin product line. They expanded their product range to include apparel and other equipment, like the All Round Essential Leash. This leash is a great everyday choice for waves from 2 – 8 foot.
We’ve tested the All Round Essential Leash and found the cuff to be super comfy and lightweight.
Cord thickness: 7mm
In-cuff silicone grip, preventing ankle twisting
Designed in collaboration with the world’s leading surf athletes and surfboard shapers, the FCS range offers a diverse range of surfboard accesories suited to a variety of board models, wave conditions and surfing styles. FCS fins are the preferred choice by the world’s best surfers and shapers.
Extra strength moulded velcro – Extended overmould reduces tangles – Contoured horn conforms to shape of ankle
If you’re looking for sustainable surf gear then the Wave Tribe recycled leash is an awesome option. What better way to put dirty old plastic bottles to use than remoulding them to keep your surfboard close at hand. There are loads of options for all kinds of conditions.
AMAZING COMFORT & STRENGTH – Wave Tribe’s 5’6 Eco Surfboard Leash has a leg rope double swivel technology with rapid release turning action so you won’t get stuck when you ride that sick wave.
GOOD FOR YOU, GOOD FOR THE PLANET – Our eco surf leash is made from recycled plastic, but the performance does not and will not disappoint. It’s strong as a bull and made to withstand tremendous pressure and stretch at the most critical moments of your surf. It’s stronger than regular plastic with certified melding surfing leash technology.
SUPERMAN VELCRO SURFING LEASH STRAP – Superman velcro stays attached and will not come off your leg. Wave Tribe Surfboard Leash was tested at Mavericks & Chopes in huge surf. Certified strong as superman surf leash.
THE BEST SURFBOARD LEASH IN WORLD – Grab yourself the best quality leash you can find at an amazing price. Tested and thrashed, the Wave Tribe leash to give you a leash with a ONE-YEAR UNBREAKABLE GUARANTEE. Made from heavy-duty eco materials, with a lightweight max strength 7mm cord, the leash will not snap & keeps your board attached no matter how many times you wipeout in big or small surf. This leash & leash connection absorb wave & board impact, stretching up to 7 times the coiled length.
ONE-YEAR UNBREAKABLE GUARANTEE – If you break the Wave Tribe Surfboard Leash, we will replace it free with no questions asked. It’s stored and shipped (quickly & reliably) to you with a STOKED guarantee. If it doesn’t deliver what it’s supposed to, it will be replaced or refunded. We stand behind our products with rad customer feedback to prove it, & are known for great product support & service. We are a small business—by surfers for surfers.
If you’re on a budget but still want a quality leash then Creatures of Leisure have a great option for you. Check out the lightweight yet high performance Icon, which packs a punch in terms of features but won’t hurt your wallet.
The simple yet durable design of the Icon 6 Surf Leash offers a reliable hold on our board while we’re out catching waves all day. With a stainless steel bearing swivel, we know this leash will hold up for the long run while delivering optimal performance in the water.
Tried-and-true surf leash for small to medium waves
Best Longboard Leash: Dakine Longboard Ankle Surf Leash
Enlightened longboarders know the value of a quality leash. Many fasten it up around the knee and do goofy cross-stepping, but some just want safety and performance. Longboard leashes have a lot more weight to manage and that’s why we recommend Dakine’s Ankle Surf Leash for our longboarding cousins.
The Dakine Longboard ankle leash gives you room to roam. At 9′ 6″, you can ride the nose and the high-strength 1/4-inch (6.5mm) urethane Dura-Cord can handle up to a couple feet overhead. The design is made for easy movement, long-lasting durability and comfort.
The Dakine Longboard ankle leash gives you room to roam
At 9′ 6″, you can ride the nose and the high-strength 1/4-inch (6.5mm) urethane Dura-Cord can handle up to a couple feet overhead
The design is made for easy movement, long-lasting durability and comfort.