Paddle Board Leashes – Our Top 10

Paddle Board Leashes – Our Top 10

As enjoyable as paddle boarding is, your safety should always come first and foremost when out on the water. Whilst wearing a Personal Floation Device (PFD) is highly advisable, wearing your SUP leash is beyond that – it’s non-negotiable.

Whether you are a highly experienced paddler or a total newbie, the unexpected can and does happen so ensuring that you and your board do not get separated is critical. Unexpected winds, waves, currents or a simple slip can easily see you fall into the water so play it safe and always wear your leash. If you think of your leash somewhat akin to how you think of a seat belt in your car then you can’t go too far wrong. Yes they are very different and yes your mind set when driving is quite different to when you’re paddling but its called an accident for a reason. You never plan to have an accident but you can plan to protect yourself if you do.

Paddle Board Leashes


SUP Leash Food For Thought

Leashes are by no means new as surfers have been using them for decades. There are however some subtle differences that are worth taking note of.
Coiled and Straight SUP Cord


The length of a surf board leash normally corresponds with how long your board is and typically range between 5 – 12 feet in length. Surfers will usually opt for a straight leash as they will remain clear from the board and provide less recoil if they’re getting bounced around in waves. A shorter leash will ensure that the board doesn’t get too far away from them and given that they can also be surfing within a lot more traffic, longer leashes can interfere with other surfers which can be dangerous or annoying to our more territorial boarding friends.

Paddle boarding leashes however are somewhat more standardised with a typical SUP leash being between 8 – 10 feet long. SUP leashes particularly those used for touring or general recreational paddling are also normally coiled which allows them in part to stay out of the water meaning less drag. All leashes however have a number of distinct parts so its useful to know what they are and what purpose they serve.

Closeup of Leash Cuff

The Leash Cuff is the part that actually attaches to your leg (ankle or calf muscle). It also attaches to your dominant leg which is the leg that you will have at the back of your board. This will in the majority of cases be your right leg as most people are right-handed (right footed). If you don’t know what your dominant leg is then stand up straight with your feet side by side. Have someone gently push you in the back or simply fall forward. Whatever foot jumps out first to save you from falling is normally your dominant side – a tip I learned as a kid when trying to ride a skateboard.

The most important consideration when picking out a leash is to make sure that it is both comfortable and secure. A quality leash will attach via a thick double wrap around Velcro strap and be made from padded neoprene. Some also have a small pouch for a key although this is a little more of a gimmick really. My car key is push button with a battery so getting it wet doesn’t make a lot of sense.

The Swivel on the leash is the part that attaches both the cuff and the cord together. It plays an important role as it allows Closeup of Coiled SUP Leash Cord

the cord to rotate and move around so you don’t get tangled up when paddling. A lot of leashes now have swivels at both ends – the cuff and the cord as well as the cord and the rail saver.

The longest part of your leash is the Cord. It’s also the most important part. Most cords are made from high-quality polyurethane and are able to stretch when under pressure. A thicker cord will be more durable and be able to withstand greater pressure although it will also be heavier and create more drag so there is a little bit of a trade-off. Quality here is key though.

Moving further along your leash is the Rail Saver. As its name implies, the rail saver protects the edge of your board otherwise known as its rail when the leash is under pressure. It is made from a heavy-duty multi-layered fabric and attaches to the leash string. The rail saver should hang nicely over the edge of your board and protects the rail from wear and tear or cracking.

The final component of the leash is its String. Made from a thin durable nylon rope, it’s the small loop that attaches the leash to the D-ring at the end of your board.

<< Yet to make the investment, take a look at the GILI Adventure 11’ iSUP to learn more >>

Coiled or Straight?

Unless you are SUP surfing or river paddling, then the majority of paddle board leashes are coiled as they will stay out of the water better. This creates less of a chance for them to catch on floating debris or underwater rocks in shallow waters. They are also safer as there is less of a chance for them to get tangled around the paddlers feet.

Not as common but there are also leashes that combine both straight & coil in one. The coiled portion of the leash is in the centre with the straight part at either end. This combined leash is sometimes used in SUP racing or surfing as it allows the paddler to manoeuvre more freely if they want to move their feet on the board whilst at the same time not creating too much drag.

While leashes are typically attached to the paddlers dominant ankle or sometimes calf, there are versions that attach to the rear of a waist or hip pack. They too are coiled and are sometimes preferred by paddlers who are paddling over longer distances or on trekking or camping tours. These leashes free up both feet even more and the hip pack also has waterproof storage compartments that can come in handy for these more adventurous paddlers.


Paddle Board Leashes – Our Top 10’As an Amazon Associate I may earn from Qualifying Purchasess’

Education session over – lets take a look at some of our top picks.

(1) The ‘Nemesis’ SUP Leash by Own the Wave
The ‘Nemesis’ SUP Leash by Own the Wave

– heavy-duty 10′ coiled in length
– double stainless steel swivels
– comfortable padded Velcro neoprene cuff
– 7.2mm polyurethane thermoplastic cord
– hidden key pocket
– fully adjustable
– triple layered rail saver
– two colour options
– 12 months warranty

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(2) Unigear Premium Coiled SUP Leash

Unigear Premium Coiled SUP Leash

– 10′ Coiled leash
– molded-in double stainless steel swivels
– 7mm cord made from light-weight urethane
– triple wrap rail saver
– includes IXP8 waterproof accessories wallet
– double over TPU elastic polyurethane ankle cuff
– hidden cuff key pocket
– light-weight, secure and fully adjustable
– pull tab cuff release
– available in 9 unique colour options

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(3) BPS ‘Storm’ Surfboard and SUP Leash
BPS ‘Storm’ Surfboard and SUP Leash

– available in multiple lengths from 5′ – 10′
– comfortable embroidered collar with key pocket
– max-strength double stainless steel swivels
– choose between 7.2mm or 8mm polyurethane cord
– available in 4 distinct colours
– wide triple wrap rail saver and precision molded fittings
– full instruction manual (emailed E-Guide)
– adjustable neoprene Velcro cuff
– straight leash suitable for old school and SUP surfing
– full 12 month warranty

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(4) Santa Barbara Surfing SBS 10′ Coiled SUP Leash

Santa Barbara Surfing SBS Coiled SUP Leash

– primarily designed for flat and open water paddling
– durable 10′ coiled for limited drag
– made from 7mm urethane cord
– new design molded 316 stainless steel double swivels
– triple lock rail saver
– double over neoprene Velcro ankle cuff with release tab
– secure key pocket
– available in black only
– lifetime guarantee

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(5) BPS ‘Storm’ Premium Surf SUP Leash
BPS ‘Storm’ Premium Surf SUP Leash

– 10′ coiled leash stretches to 5 times its coiled length
– available in 8 designs
– hidden neoprene key pocket
– light-weight 7.2mm polyurethane cord
– double stainless steel swivels
– adjustable neoprene Velcro cuff with release tab
– triple wrap rail saver with molded fittings
– optional BPS waterproof water wallet for accessories
– >1,000 5-Star reviews
– electronic instruction guide
– full 12 month warranty

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(6) WOOWAVE Coiled SUP Leash

WOOWAVE Coiled SUP Leash– 8′ and 10′ length coiled leash options
– 7mm urethane cord
– high density 2.5″ neoprene cuff with TPU pull tab
– adjustable ‘Rip and Grip’ Velcro
– secure internal key pocket
– double stainless steel anti-tangle swivels
– triple wrap rail saver
– high strength urethane cord for ultimate elasticity
– includes waterproof accessories pouch
– available in 8 colours
– lifetime quality warranty

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(7) Ho Stevie! Premium Surf LeashHo Stevie! Premium Surf Leash

– light-weight kink free 7mm thick polyurethane cord
– available in 4 lengths 6′ through 10′
– high density 1.5″ padded neoprene Velcro ankle cuff
– stainless steel double swivel system
– neoprene secure key pocket
– suitable for surfing, short boards and SUPs
– leash plug cord included
– available in 5 colours
– 12 month warranty

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(8) A ALPENFLOW 10′ Coiled SUP Leash A ALPENFLOW Coiled SUP Leash

– 10′ coiled for less drag
– 7mm thermoplastic polyurethane light-weight cord
– flexible double stainless steel swivel system
– padded neoprene Velcro ankle cuff
– Quick release tab
– triple lock rail saver
– available in 3 colours

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(9) surfstar SUP Surf Leashsurfstar SUP Surf Leash

– heavy-duty 7mm TPU urethane cord
– double marine-grade stainless steel swivels
– 10′ coiled for reduced drag
– suitable for traditional surfing and SUP surfing
– high density neoprene padded 2.5″ ankle cuff
– triple wrap rail saver
– pull tab ‘rip and grip’ Velcro cuff release
– secure hidden key pocket
– available in black or black

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(10) Surf More XM SUP Coiled Ankle LeashSurf More XM SUP Coiled Ankle Leash

– coiled for reduced drag
– available in 3 lengths 8′ – 10′ – 12′
– detachable rail saver
– stainless steel marine grade double swivel system
– comfortable durable neoprene cuff
– rip tab cuff for easy release
– available in 10 high-vis colours
– U.S. made with 12 month warranty

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The above recommended paddle board leashes are merely a few of the many options that are available from a variety of quality manufacturers. They have been selected because they represent well rated, durable, high quality functional products and at an affordable price. Importantly, they also meet best practice design and materials in line with the leash components that we have referred to above.

We hope you found this review and suggested product range helpful but as always we would love to hear from you and get your thoughts. Please feel free to leave your comments below and we will get back to you.

Until then, stay safe and get wet.

8 thoughts on “Paddle Board Leashes – Our Top 10”

  1. I’m still quite new to paddle boarding so I wasn’t really appreciative of the various types of leashes that were available. Most of the packages look like they come with a coiled leash from what I can tell which seems to be reflected in your suggested products. I’m still a novice so only use my friends board but some good info for when I do get my own.

    Cheers,
    Mathew

    Reply
    • Thanks for stopping by Mathew. Most of the all round inflatable packages on the market do come with a 10’ (or thereabouts) coiled leash as that is a somewhat middle ground size that will suit general recreational paddling for the average sized adult. You’re armed with a little more information now so as long as you go with a reputable board manufacturer, you’ll likely get yourself a decent quality leash if you do opt for a package.

      All the best and stay safe – Jason.

      Reply
  2. I found this article very helpful! I have recently been thinking about getting a paddle board for myself, so it’s useful to see how certain paddle leashes differ and what would be best suited for me. However, I was wondering if there are any options that would be slightly better for the environment, as polyurethane is a derivative of plastic? Of course I understand that the leashes are made out of polyurethane for a reason and I also understand that technology may not be able to offer a sustainable option yet, but I was just wondering about how to reduce our use of unsustainable materials.

    Reply
    • Thanks for your comments Cian and a great question. Unfortunately, technology has not quite gotten us there yet so when it comes to the use of stretchable materials (Velcro, neoprene and other), products that are derived from petrochemicals will still be with us for some time yet. The boards themselves similarly are heavily dependant on other petro based and related products.

      Again, a good question though so thanks for sharing your thoughts.

      Reply
  3. Hey Jason,

    Thanks for writing this review. I love paddle boarding but don’t get out too often these days. There are a lot of leash options as you’ve highlighted. Which ones are more comfortable in terms of general movement and feel?

    Thanks also for passing some discounts our way; that’s always a nice bonus!

    Michael

    Reply
    • Hi Michael. There’s a huge range out there and no need to break the bank either. If you’re looking at general recreation SUPing then coiled leashes typically make the most sense. The coils will help keep the leash out of the water and reduce the drag and swivels on either end will also help keep the leash from tangling. A thick adjustable Velcro cuff that can securely fit around your ankle (or calf) will certainly aid your comfort so as long as you have the quality piece covered then focus on the cuff.

      All the best – Jason.

      Reply
  4. Hey Jason,

    Thanks for sharing this post. The more I visit your site to collect high-quality information and recommendations, the more I’m ready to get my own paddleboard. I live next to a small artificial lake and I can’t wait to get myself a paddleboard and start crossing the lake up and down. Once again, awesome recommendations and great post. Keep up the good work!

    Reply

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