Travel Guide

A Grom’s Guide to Length and Size of Leash for Surfboard


Surfing is addictive. The moment you feel the exhilaration of catching your first wave standing on your surfboard to ride the breaking wave towards the shore maintaining a straight line, two things happen, you are hooked (for life) and you have successfully progressed to become an advanced beginner, leaving forever your past of only being able to catch some whitewater waves in the prone position on your board.

As a beginner, you need to familiarise yourself with essential surfing equipment like the all-essential surfboard, fins, surfboard leash, and wax (not if your surfboard already has a surfboard traction pad). You will also need a wet suit. This is all you need to start your surfing journey. A leash is essentially a leg rope that keeps the surfer connected to the surfboard. It’s not rocket science, a leg rope or leash can keep the board close to you, should you fall and makes it easy to bring your board back to you when you wipe out.

Here are the basic considerations before you choose your leash. Length of rope, the thickness of the rope and your experience level are the three important variables to consider when purchasing a leash for your surfboard, stand-up paddleboard or longboard.  

The Length of Leash

Leash lengths are measured in feet and start at 4 feet for children’s boards and go all the way up to 12 feet for a stand-up paddleboard. The simple rule of thumb to apply for length is to have your rope either at the same length or a little longer than the length of your surfboard. For example, if your surfboard is 7 feet long, choose a rope that is either 7 feet long or a rope that is 7 feet and 2 inches long. If you have an in-between size for a board, say a 6 feet 3 inches surfboard you will want to choose a rope that is the next option up, which is 7 feet long. To conclude, there is no such thing as one size fits all when it comes to surfboard leashes.

The Size of the Leash

Leash size is measured by the thickness and the strength of the cord. The size of the waves you plan to ride and the length of your surfboard are determinants of the size of leash you should be choosing. A regular leash suitable for a beginner would be around 7mm thick which works well for any board size and provide enough strength to prevent a snap.

The Experience Level of the Surfer

The advice for surfers, particularly beginners is to adapt the leash selection in terms of size and length to the level of control you have of your board. If you are a beginner, choosing a leash that is much longer than your board can be a safety hazard. A longer leash means the board can move far away from you to potentially hit another surfer if you have a wipeout. Choosing a short leash is also not a good idea as it can rebound to hit you if you fall.

the authorAlexiaMargolin