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Surf Leash Buyer's Guide for 2024: Brands, Prices Reviews & More

Where would surfing be without the surfboard leash?


Maybe we would all be better swimmers but that’s beside the fact when you consider the surfboard leash was one of the best inventions in surfing history.

Seriously, the surfboard leash has pushed surfing's limits when swimming for your board isn’t a concern anymore.


Choosing a surfboard leash can be tricky.


Should you look for length?


Velcro strength?


We’ll run through all those things and more.


History of the Surf Leash

The surfboard leash was created by Pat O’Neil, son of Jack O’Neil creator of the wetsuit, in 1971 when he stuck a piece of medical tubing to his board with a suction cup.


He was eventually disqualified from a surfing competition for the use of this makeshift surfboard leash.


The surfboard leash was first commercially marketed with the use of bungee cord and a leather strap which proved to be extremely dangerous as these early leashes would launch back toward the surfer.


In fact, Jack O’Neil lost his eye in a surfboard leash accident with one of Pat's early surgical tube leashes.


David Hattrick introduced the first velcro ankle strap in 1979 and the modern day surf leash began to take shape.

Eventually a safer hollow rubber tube with way less recoil was used and the design hasn’t changed much since then.


What Should You Look For in a Surf Leash?

Surf Leash Length

When purchasing a surfboard leash it’s important to know what size board is going to be attached to it.


The standard procedure is for your leash to be the same length as your surfboard.


If it’s too long the leash could get tangled up in your feet and mess up your wave.


Cost of a Surf Leash

A solid surfboard leash is usually around $30-$50 and anything less than that might be too weak and low quality to take on any serious waves.


The more length and thickness on a leash, the more it will cost.

Strength of a Surf Leash

Depending on what kind of waves you’ll be facing you're going to want a pretty strong leash to prevent losing your board on a big day.


If you’re preparing for a big winter then look for a leash with a thicker cord, something around 7mm is perfect.


The Best Surf Leashes Today

DaKine Comp Plus Surf Leash

DaKine is a leading manufacturer of surfboard accessories and their leashes are extremely reliable and widely used.


In fact, the company was started with the goal of creating the best surfboard leashes.


This leash is one of their trademark leashes and has a 5mm thick cord that is designed for head high waves.


On top of that the velcro ankle cuff provides a snug fit for little disruption between surfer and leash. This leash costs $27.71.

You can check out this surf leash here.


Sympl Surf ReLeash

A newer company, Sympl has quickly grown to one of the top brands in manufacturing surf leashes.





Their Surf ReLeash is also environmentally friendly, the leash is made entirely of post consumer plastic bottles.


The cord is a reliable 5 mm thick and the ankle cuff is made of neoprene for maximum comfort. It comes in multiple colors and is $36.

You can check out this surf leash here.


FCS Freedom Helix Surf Leash

Not built for strength, FCS Freedom Helix Leash is best for a surfer looking for comfort rather than strength.



The cord is designed for waves in the 4 foot range and is focused on decreasing drag to create a smoother water flow so the leash doesn’t disrupt your surfing. It’s also made from a sustainable corn based bio-resin material.



However, you do pay for its quality because this leash costs $54.00.

You can learn more about this surf leash here.


Creatures of Leisure Superlite 6 Surf Leash

Another leader in the surf accessory market Creatures of Leisure is making some really quality products.


Their Superlite 6 leash is no exception and focuses on bringing the no leash feel.


However this does affect the strength of the leash because this leash is designed for smaller waves.


The cord is 5 mm thick and it costs $51.00. You can check out this leash here.


Channel Islands Dane Reynolds Signature Leash

Anything designed by Dane Reynolds is bound to be as good as his surfing and his Channel Islands leash is no exception.


Being a traditionalist, Reynolds opted to design his leash with a cylinder cord design.


The overall design of this leash is fairly simple and there's nothing extremely special about it but it gets the job done.


It is also fairly priced at $34.00.


You can check out this surf leash here.


Surf Leash Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What are the best surf leashes?

They all have their different pros and cons. It really depends on what you’re looking for.


If you’re going to be surfing small waves then look for something that feels like you're not even wearing a leash.


Bigger waves require thicker and stronger leashes.

Q. What are the different types of surf leashes?

There’s leashes that are for smaller waves and bigger waves. The major difference between the two is thickness and overall cord strength. Then there are knee leashes that are designed for longboarding.


Q. What makes a good surf leash?

A leash that is able to hold up in different conditions while also not interfering with your surfing is the best kind of leash.


Q. How thick should a surf leash be?

Usually 5mm is the standard cord thickness but there are leashes that are thicker that are designed for big wave surfing.


Q. How much does a surf leash cost?

A quality one will usually cost about $30-$50. It's worth paying more for a leash because it could mean your board getting washed up against the rocks.


Surf Leash: The Bottom Line

Surf leashes are a necessity. You don’t want to lose your board to the rocks or go for an extra long swim.


There are tons of options that can cater toward your surfing so hopefully you’re able to find a leash that fits you just right!


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