Making it safely back to shore after an AWESOME day of paddling on the river is just about as great as it gets.
Usually, when you’re paddling, though, the last thing on your mind is safety.
A SUP leash isn’t just about safety, though. It’s a matter of life or death.
Keep reading to see the best SUP leashes, why you need a breakaway SUP leash and how to choose the best paddle board leash for you!
Quick Top 5 of the Best SUP Leashes
Why you NEED a SUP Leash Every Time You Ride
A SUP leash is the single most important piece of equipment you NEED to take with you every time you hit the water. We’ve all been exhausted after a long day of paddling, you know, the kind of exhaustion that makes your arms feel like jello.
Now imagine you fall off your board, if there is any current at all, catching up to your SUP can be a life-threatening challenge.
It doesn’t matter how good of a swimmer you are if you're physically worn out.
You also can NEVER predict the weather. Should you get caught up in a nasty storm, or the wind kicks up and throws you into the water, if you lose track of your SUP or can’t catch up to it, you’ll be stranded in the water.
So how a SUP leash can save your life is simple:
It’s a constant lifeline connecting you to your SUP.
As long as your leash is working, you’re never going to get separated. It only takes a few seconds for your board to be completely out of reach so don’t try to be a “cool kid”; wear a leash.
Which Style is Best: Coiled or Straight?
The style of leash that you want to get is going to depend on where you’re riding.
If you’re surfing, you’re going to straight leash that attaches to your ankle since this style helps prevent you from getting tangled. Also, works best when you’re riding anything with white water like a river. The turbulence can easily tangle up a coiled leash making it a nightmare to deal with on the water.
This style is meant to keep the leash out of the water, to create less drag making it ideal or anyone looking to race or paddle on flat water. Also, is suitable for ocean riding as long as you avoid the surf.
Breakaway SUP Leash
For the casual ride on town lake, a breakaway leash isn’t necessary. However, if you take your SUP to a river with fast currents, a breakaway SUP leash is a MUST. If your SUP gets tangled up in anything, you need to be able to release your leash quickly, or you can end up trapped underwater.
The Right Length
You also need to be aware of the length of your leash. The best SUP leash is going to be one foot longer than the length of your board. This length is great because it keeps your board at a distance to where it won’t pop right into you if you fall off, but also isn’t too far when you need to track it down.
For most of us riders that just like to cruise around on the lake, a coiled SUP leash is going to work best for you. It allows you freedom to move around the board.
Is there a difference between a stand up paddle board leash and a surfboard leash?
Technically, you can use both for either, but I wouldn’t recommend it. First of all, your typical SUP is going to outweigh a surfboard so you want a beefier leash to compensate for this.
Also, the length plays a huge role. Surfboards tend to be shorter than paddle boards which usually start at around 9’ 6”, and since your standard surf leash is going to be in the 5-9’ range, it’s not going to be anywhere near long enough for your SUP.
SUP Leash Tips You NEED to Know.
Leashes do get worn out and snap. You need to alway account for this when you hit the water and carry a second one in your gear in case of emergency.
You should ALWAYS carefully inspect your leash before your go out on the water. You want to look for any spots where it looks worn down and check that the velcro is still strong. If it doesn’t pass your inspection; don’t go out on the water.
Never transport your SUP with the leash still attached. A whole myriad of things can go terribly wrong when you do this: Crack your board, break your windshield, break another driver's windshield, etc.
If you're going to be carrying your SUP with the leash attached, then wrap the ankle strap around your wrist before you start to walk. If you leave it dangling behind you, you run the risk of someone stepping on it, send your board nose first into the ground.
The Best SUP Leash
The Storm SUP leash by BPS is perfect for any rider and by far the best paddle board leash. It’s a thick heavy duty leash with a comfortable padded cuff and high-quality velcro. Made from a lightweight 7.2mm cord, the leash still manages to feel like a monster in your hand.
Like most your coiled leashes, when it’s nice and short when coiled up—keeping it completely out of the water—but can quickly stretch to 5x the coiled length which will keep the board from slamming into you should you fall off.
You’ll love the extra attention to detail that BPS takes like the small finger loop that enables you to open the Velcro easily and the hidden key pocket. The 2.5” wide band is well padded and long enough to wrap around just below your knee if that’s how you prefer riding.
What makes this leash the best is the quality to price ration. Is it's as heavy duty as some of the more namebrand leashes like Dakine? No, but it’s half the price.
- Best quality/price ratio
- Stretches 5x the coiled length
- Padded triple wrap cuff
- Only available in one size
Dakine is one of the most well-known brands in surfing. They took
This 10’ leash has a straight-coil-straight design that is made for open water SUP. Dakine’s coiled leash is designed to reduce the possibility of over-coiling and cord breakage which extends its lifetime.
It’s the thickest cord coming in at 7.9mm thick, making it feel secure when you strap it to your ankle. Everything about this leash is high-quality and comfortable, which is what you expect from a big name brand.
- Thickest SUP leash you can buy
- Unique straight-coil-straight design reduces drag
- Reputable brand name in the industry
- Can feel a little heavy at first
- Only available in one size
If you’re looking for a race quality SUP leash, then the FCS adjustable is what you need. Made for boards ranging from 12’ 6” to 14” long, it’s the perfect accessory to your racing SUP—which are always longer than your standard touring boards.
It’s one of the thinner leashes, coming in at only 7mm thick, but when you’re racing you want as little weight and drag as possible anyways. What makes this leash different from your standard coiled SUP leash, though, is that its length is completely adjustable.
You’ll love this feature when you’re racing since you can set it to the perfect length where it will lay completely flat from your leg to the leash plug. Plus, it has swivels at both ends to prevent it from ever getting tangled up.
However, since the ankle strap is made from nylon, it’s not going to be as comfortable as the Santa Barbara Surf leash or the BPS Leash.
- Length is adjustable
- Light weight and no drag
- Perfect for racing your SUP
- Nylon strap isn’t as comfortable as other leashes available.
This is the surf model made by Dakine. Since it’s for the Surf, it’s a straight leash. Remember, if you’re going to be Surfing with your SUP, you need a straight leash to prevent from getting tangled.
Available in two different sizes, 10 foot or 12 foot, it’s the same thick high-quality you always get from Dakine at 7.9mm. This surf leash has double swivels, and a quick release 2” cuff in case your board every gets caught in anything you can quickly escape.
It does come with a key pocket, but since it's a calf leash, it’s pretty much useless. The key with feel uncomfortable on your
- Available in two different sizes
- Double swivels with a quick release cuff
- Uncomfortable in riding with a key in the pocket
Santa Barbara Surfing has been putting out great surf gear for a long time. The cord is
Their ankle cuff is the softest I have come across too. It’s a double over padded neoprene cuff with a pull tab and hidden key pocket. It’s so comfortable; you’ll forget it’s even strapped around your ankle until it's saving your life!
- The most comfortable SUP leash
- Hidden key pocket and pull tab
- Very lightweight
- Thinner than the other leashes at only 7mm
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