If you use a Stand Up Paddleboard, choosing your SUP leash is a vital decision for your safety and that of your group when coaching and leading. It keeps you and your paddleboard together when things don’t go to plan.
Choosing your SUP leash for the environment and conditions you are paddling in is essential. Failure to do so could put your safety at risk – check out all our Stand Up Paddleboard courses.
If you end up in the water wearing the wrong leash on moving water i.e. flowing rivers, tidal rivers or in tidal races, this can cause the leash to become snagged or caught on obstacles and to become entangled.
This presents a danger that is difficult to extract yourself from. In these conditions, a quick release waist leash is the best option and could be essential if you are in danger.
Our partners at British Canoeing have created a great infographic as guidance. You can find it below. You will also find advice on which leashes are best for different environments. For wider training on safety, check our Foundation Safety and Rescue (FSRT) training.
1. Ankle and Calf (knee) leashes
Suitable environments for use: Lakes, canals, sea / coastal bays, surf and slow moving deepwater rivers.
a. Ankle Cuff leashes
These are the most common leash, they often comes with your board if you buy a package. They are easy to wear and to fit. Always attach them to the same leg each time you paddle, that way you will always know where to release them if needed. A curly leash is normally preferred for general SUP use.
b. Calf Cuff (knee) leashes
These are similar to an ankle leash but the cuff attachment is slightly larger and fits just below your knee. You may prefer this type of leash for ease of attachment, but the environments in which they are used are similar. A straight leash is mainly used for surfing.
2. Quick release waist belt
Suitable environments for use: moving/flowing water including, rivers, tidal rivers and estuaries, tidal races, white water rivers.
Your waist leash should be connected to a waist belt with a quick release buckle or fastening. You need to ensure you can easily reach it if you come off your board and are caught or held by the force of the water.
When fitted and used correctly it releases you from your board and leash attachments freeing you from any dangerous entanglement:
- It is normally worn around your waist and below the level of your buoyancy aid or pfd.
- It can also be worn on top of your buoyancy aid if fitted high on the chest.
It is common practise to attach the cuff from a curly leash, which would normally attach to your ankle or calf, to the waist belt.
The following video uses a white water setting to demonstrate the potential problems that an ankle and calf leash can cause in flowing water and the advantage of a quick release waist leash in freeing the paddler. CLICK HERE TO VIEW >>