How to Find the Perfect Bodyboard Leash
Maybe you just got into bodyboarding and your board didn't include a leash. Or maybe you're a more advanced boarder looking for an upgrade.
No worries! We got you covered.
In the following guide, we're going to dive into what makes a good leash, how to choose the best leash size for you, and what leash type suits you.
Let's dive right in!
THE PARTS OF A BODYBOARD LEASH
Before we dive into selecting the right type and length of leash, we're going to want to go through the parts of a leash and what goes into selecting the best quality leashes. If you're already familiar with leashes, you can skip ahead.
There are four main components to a bodyboard leash.
THE LEASH CORD OR LEASH COIL
The cord is a very important part of the leash. It's the curly part that extends and contracts when your board springs away.
Cords often come in a coiled design. The coil design may vary to being a more flat coil or a longer coil, but ultimately they're all the same.
You want to look for a coil that'll really take a beating, because remember, it's going to be your go-to for getting your board back to you.
Luckily, there's not too many differences in coil materials. Most leashes that aren't super cheap will have good coils.
THE LEASH PLUG
The leash plug is another extremely important component. This is what will secure your leash to your board.
When it comes to leash plugs, they generally have a similar design. However, the tiny changes make all the difference.
You'll want to select a leash plug that is wide and extremely durable. ABS plastic is a solid bet. Choose a plug that's wide, rather than narrow. You want to cover a lot of surface area to keep your leash tightly in place.
Some leashes include a plug and if you're purchasing a higher-end leash, the plug included will do a great job.
However, if you have a lower-end leash, it may be worth getting a different plug. They're pretty cheap and it's a worthy upgrade.
The strap is what attaches the leash to you!
When choosing a strap, you're going to want to look around, as there's a lot of materials.
Straps are often made of nylon or neoprene, with the neoprene leashes often being more expensive.
We recommend neoprene strap leashes for all bodyboarders. A leash is a relatively small cost for the comfort and security it will provide.
However, if you're on a budget, try looking for a strap around $20 that has a neoprene strap.
It may run a bit cheaper than the brand names, and still be good enough to notice a difference.
The connector connects the coil to the strap. Once again, the connector is an important part.
Luckily, most mid-range leashes are going to have good connectors, hopefully made of metal. You want to pick out leashes that have brass or stronger swivels.
Another feature to look for is the double-swivel. Leashes with a double-swivel have connectors on both ends. That means you'll have maximum durability with your leash. Plus, it'll reduce tangling.
Last but not least, the leash string. The leash string is the part that attaches your leash to the leash plug.
Although it may look like a flimsy piece of string, do not overlook it!
The leash string is EXTREMELY important in keeping your board secure.
A leash string will snap if it's cheap. And since it's such a cheap part, you really don't want to skimp here.
You could have the best leash in the world, and the best board in the world, but if you have a cheap string, it can break on a big wave, and your leash could break, or even worse, you could lose your board completely.
You want your leash string to be short and tied extremely tightly to the plug.
If you're buying a higher-end leash, the leash string included is probably fine. However, if you're buying a cheaper leash, or using a lower or mid-range board-included leash, we definitely recommend purchasing a high-end leash string. With a string being so cheap, it's totally worth the security it provides.
WHAT SHOULD I LOOK FOR IN A BODYBOARD LEASH?
STEP 1: DETERMINING LEASH TYPE
When choosing a leash type, you want to examine your ride style and experience level.
If you're a newbie bodyboarder, we always recommend a wrist leash. This is because it's very easy to get your board back, and it's just a nice location to have the leash in that's comfortable and won't interfere much with your bodyboarding.
If you're an advanced or pro-level boarder, however, the choice is up to you, depending on the following factors:
If you're a more advanced boarder, likely you've come into the recurring issue of having your board bounce back when you paddle out.
This is because every time you paddle, your board is being pulled by the leash.
If this is annoying to you, you may be better off going with a bicep leash. If you're a prone rider, a bicep leash will work better for you as well.
Alternatively, if you're a drop-knee rider, or maybe you just have a personal preference against wrist and bicep leashes, ankle leashes will work fine as well.
You're going to want to measure your bicep to ensure your new leash fits.
Simply bend your arm, and measure the circumference of your bicep, ideally towards the bottom end towards your elbow.
Use this number in finding a leash that'll fit your arm's circumference, as leash sizes vary a good amount.
STEP 2: DETERMINING LEASH CORD SIZE
Step 2 in determining what leash is best is sizing. When choosing a leash size, it's important to take note of the following factors.
The first factor of note is leash type. This will help you calculate your leash cord length.
If you're going for an ankle leash, and your leash plug is towards the bottom of the board, you should be fine with around 5 feet.
If you're going for a wrist leash, the extra length mentioned above doesn't matter much. If the leash is 5' or so, it should be enough.
If you're going for a bicep leash, go for about a 6' minimum.
STEP 3: DETERMINING LEASH PLUG POSITION
Last but not least, you should always set your leash plug position on your board based on your ride style.
We recommend beginners place their plug near the top of the board, either in the middle or whatever side is comfortable for them. You can view a guide on how to install a leash plug here.
Advanced riders will often have a preference for where their plug should go. Ultimately, this will depend on what type of leash you use.
Ankle leash riders should place their leash plug near the bottom of their board.
If you're a more advanced-level boarder, test with a few positions to see what works best for you! Leash position all comes down personal preference.
If you want to know how to install a leash and leash plug, or just want a refresher, you can check out our article on that here.
Always Rinse Your Gear
Remember to always rinse your leash after a session. Saltwater can be damaging, especially to metal portions, and sand particles can wear away at the strap.
Keep Your Gear Out of the Sun and Heat
Much like boards, sunlight and heat can be damaging to your leash. We always recommend keeping your leash in a cool area, like under an umbrella, and inside of a bodyboard storage bag if possible.
Test Out Different Leashes and Combinations
Definitely test out different types of leashes, leash plug spots, and combinations of the two over time. A lot of choosing a leash is personal preference, and you won't know a lot of what's out there until you try it.
Strapping on Your Leash
You'll want to strap on your leash tightly enough to recover your board against rough surf conditions, but not tight enough to cut off circulation. Experiment with varying degrees of tightness before heading out on a session to determine a good fit. You want to find a good fit that feels snug without being too rough against your arm.