How to ditch the leash

I know the topic of leashes can be quite controversial amongst the longboard & wider surf community. In some places it’s illegal not to wear one & in others you’ll get laughed out of the water if you do.

I personally prefer not to wear one, but I’m also not against it & often do (you can read more about my personal guidelines in tip 9).

Regardless of your stance, today I’ll share my advice on how to progress towards going leashless.

But before we do, I want to first say that not wearing a leash can actually hinder your surf progression, especially earlier on.


Because instead of focusing on surfing, you’ll instead be focusing on not losing your board.

This keeps you from trying new things or having the confidence to go for it without worrying about losing your board. Or you’ll spend your whole time swimming & not even surfing.

So before you ditch the cord, just know it’s totally OK to be wearing one (again, I often do!)

But, when you’re ready to start thinking about going leashless, there’s only 2 pieces of advice I have:

1️⃣ Get a calf leash.

Seriously, if you’re wearing a leash & have any hopes of cross stepping you need a calf leash. It’s not perfect, but it’s miles better than an ankle leash.

90 kph winds? Calf leash to the rescue. | 📷 @ramboestrada

2️⃣ Remember that your leash is not there to keep your board under control – you are.

So even if you’re wearing a leash, surf as if you’re not. Get in the habit of keeping hold of your board. Then it’s not a matter of learning how to surf without a leash, you’re just surfing (but with the newfound freedom of no leash 😉). Plus it’s good manners because a 9’ board with a 9’ leash is a pretty big wingspan.

That’s it really. Once you’re confident keeping a hold of your board in a variety of conditions, try going leashless on small, uncrowded days, revel in the liberation of not wearing one, and be smart about when you do or don’t.

💬 Any other tips for going leashless?

🙏 Enjoying this series? Share the stoke & buy me a beer! 😄🍻

🙋 Looking for more personalized advice? Try a video analysis or 1:1 mentor session with yours truly.

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