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How To Put A Leash On A Surfboard

   December 11th, 2022   Posted In: How-To   Tags:

How To Put A Leash On A Surfboard

It seems so simple, yet when you’re learning how to put a leash on a surfboard, there are so many ways to get it wrong. Putting on your surfboard leash the wrong way could have significant consequences. If your leash detaches from the surfboard and your board gets away from you, you could be in grave danger. And you may be forced to make a long swim back to shore.

If you don’t learn how to put a leash on a surfboard correctly, you could also severely damage your board. Leashes that are installed the wrong way can lead to punctures and divots in your board that require professional fixes. The good news is that learning how to put a leash on a surfboard correctly is not very hard. That is, as long as you follow the simple steps laid out below…

Step 1 – The Cord & Knot

The first step in the process is getting a small piece of parachute cord 8 to 10 inches in length. This will anchor the foldable piece of velcro and the long rubber cord that makes up a majority of the leash system.

Fold the cord in half. Then, while holding both sides of the chord, tie an overhand knot, as shown in the picture below.

Pull the actual knot as close as you can to the ends of the cords. Make sure to leave enough room so that the ends of the knot won’t slip through.

Leave about a quarter to a half inch of the end of the cord sticking out. (See below)

This will allow for a large loop with a secure knot at the top.

how to put a leash on a surfboard

Step 2 – Attaching The Loop 

The next step in putting a leash on a surfboard is attaching the cord (you just tied into a knot) onto the leash plug on your board. We want to pass the loop portion of the cord under the tiny bar that runs across the leash plug. (See first photo below)

This can sometimes be challenging because there is not much room to pass the flimsy cord under the bar.

So check what I did in the second photo below. I used a ballpoint pen to help shove the looped end under the bar in the plug. A fin key, a car key, or anything else that is small could help you accomplish this as well.

Once it is far enough under the bar, you can grab it with your hand and make the next move to secure it. (Fourth photo)

Now, you will want to take the knot end of the cord. Pass it through the loop that you stuck under the leash plug’s bar. (Fifth photo)

Pull the knot end as hard as possible, so the cord is firmly wrapped around the leash plug bar. Then, you’ll be ready to move on to the next step. (Last photo)

how to put a leash on a surfboard

Step 3 – Attaching The Leash Velcro

The third and final step in the process is actually attaching the leash itself to the parachute cord that you have fastened securely to the leash plug. 

First, find foldable velcro apparatus at the opposite end of the leash as the ankle cuff. Unfold the 3 layers of the attachment. Next, pass the end of it through the overhand knot that is hanging out above the leash plug bar. Due to the width of the velcro, you may have to fold the velcro to be able to pass it through. 

Slide it through the loop past the velcro, so the cord is resting on the short area that does have velcro where the fold of the apparatus occurs. This area is known as the rail saver. This is because it protects the cord from coming into contact with the rails or edges of your board. Make sure the knot is lined up in the center so that when you fold it, the knot will be covered up.

Once the knot is centered, you can begin to fold the velcro layers on top of one another. This secures the knot and the leash itself.

Once the velcro layers are folded over and intact, you are pretty much good to go. 

how to put a leash on a surfboard

More Notes on the Leash Velcro

One thing that I like to do is to rotate the leash all around to make sure that the rail saver is doing its job; and that there are no areas of the parachute chord that will possibly dig into the board once the leash is packed with tension as it is pulled by a wave. If the rail saver looks like it is appropriately protecting your board, you are good to go.

One good way to show you how to put a leash on a surfboard is to show you how NOT to do it. 

The board I used in the example was recently given to me by a friend. He was moving away from the coast and didn’t have room to take it along. But as you can see in the picture, the knot and the loop were not correctly performed.

The knot is totally wrong and has been left exposed instead of being folded into the rail saver. This is a considerable danger to the board because if the leash has enough tension, that knot can easily cause a dent or put a knot-sized puncture into the board. 

Final Thoughts

Learning how to put a leash on a surfboard is easy if you stick to the three steps I showed you above. This is the most reliable method to ensure your leash stays connected to the board and your board stays safe from damage.

Wes Severson is a fitness enthusiast and bodyboarder from San Francisco, CA who is always at Ocean Beach hitting the waves. He is also an Emmy Award-winning broadcast news writer and producer and a recording artist who goes by the name Wes Magic.

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One Comment

  • How do you loosen the glue holding the zipper in place on the wet suit. Have removed the stitching and have the new zipper but don’t want to tear the suit by pulling on the glue. Is there a way to loosen the glue? Heat? Solvent?

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