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HOME arrow GEAR INSIGHTS arrow Stand Up Paddlers Caution: Coiled Leash Freak Accident?
Stand Up Paddlers Caution: Coiled Leash Freak Accident? PDF Print E-mail
By: Stand Up Paddle Surfing Magazine   
Tuesday, 09 March 2010

When we saw the pictures of this, we had to pass it along. Thanks to stand up paddle surfer Pete Hughes in Huntington Beach, CA for sharing this freak story with us and allowing us to pass it along. If this has happened to you or anyone you know, please comment so we can gauge the risk of using a coiled leash with a stand up paddle board. Check out the pics and be glad it wasn't your forehead.


"A few days ago I went out at Huntington. It was a weird day. It looked to be about 4' nobody out from Beach Blvd. to the pier. The shore break was pounding, hard to get out. I finally get outside and the waves were more like 4 - 6' bigger than I thought and there was a lot of backwash and two different swells combining and it was up and down and all around, good work out though."

"I decided on paddling to the pier catching waves on the way to the pier and back. I was waiting to take my last wave in when this pretty good size wave popped up I decided I will take it in but all of a sudden it jack up on me I thought I probably wouldn't make it then I fell back at the top of the wave but the board went over and my leash was pulling hard and then all of a sudden the leash broke off my ankle I swam to retrieve my board and I notice the end of the leash is in the deck of my board and I first thought It pulled through from the rail but it actually had penetrated the deck pad, through the heavy glass job and 4" in the foam."

"My board is 4 1/2" thick. Take a look at the pic.'s. I figure my leash has that brass swivel fitting and the tension was so great when it broke it was like a bullet. Imagine if that hit someone or if it broke from the board side and shot at me. When I got home I thought I would cut the leash and leave the brass fitting in the board. So I sanded it a used epoxy solarez but when it dried I noticed it was not firm so I decided to cut it open and found a hole the size of almost a baseball. Amazing! In retrospect what would I do different? I would have been better off not hesitating on the take off and just go for it taking the late drop and take my chances, at least I would be going with the flow. But most importantly as much as I like the coil leash I will not use a coil leash for surfing again. To risky."

Pete Hughes
Huntington Beach, Ca.



feed8 Comments
Paddle Hi
November 05, 2010

I think you should go with Dakine first off. If you are careful, that would start in the parking lot. Always inspecting leashes. I have found any leash other than Dakine will break in the same spot it did for you. The swivel Looks fine. It is just that the cuff plastic holding the screw to the swivel broke. Typical. Glad you made it! Get Dakine!

Janson Colberg
August 19, 2010

I would rather use a regular type strong surf leash for waves, while the coil type, as it lies completely on the board deck, creates less drag on down wind races and/or flat water. Please comment.
Janson Colberg

Sand Sock Girl
March 23, 2010

Sorry to hear your story. Sorry for the board too. Just be very careful next time. Happy surfing!

March 18, 2010

After spending two months on Maui I like the coiled leash as many others there, but!! not in too big waves, max 4`.
But the biggest problem with leashes and standupboards to me seems to be the extreme size and weight of them even compared to longboards.
I think this is what´s new and the reason of too much power pulling.

March 10, 2010

In theory the coil leash has less of a tendency to break because there is no sudden jerk on it - it uncoils slowly lessening the tug (that breaks it) at its full extension. There is no question that coil leashes are less likely to break, and put less stress on the leash plug and your ankle. However, the problem I find is that its harder to know where your board is... after a wipeout the leash recoils, pulling the board towards you so its floating somewhere.... where?... above you. A on coiled leash the board will tend to stay at the end of the leash, so a little tug of the ankle tells you where it is.

There is no perfect system. However I can say for sure that in this case it was not that it was coiled that caused this. Quite the opposite in fact.


March 10, 2010

I had a coil XM leash break on me while in 6-8 surf in Ventura, CA. I dropped in, hit my bottom turn early as the wave jacked up and got rolled. My leash snapped (underwater) with the bulk of the cord still attached to the board. I have had similar breakage with normal leash. No difference. Lots of energy built up regardless. The problem is not the type of leash, but rather being unlucky enough at the time to have the fitting hit the board, yourself or another surfer.

Gary S
March 10, 2010 the problem really is not the fact that the leash was coiled. The problem was that the swivel broke. Any leash will stretch and store energy. What diameter was the leash material?

March 10, 2010

I'm not convinced that the "coil" in the leash has anything to do with this. Most modern leashes have a lot of strech and are very elastic. What is amazing here is that the leash must have broken while both the rider and board were in the air and not entirely underwater. If it had broken underwater, the friction of water, especially on a coiled leash would have slowed it down and taken out most of shock power.

I think you have a great example of anything is possible in the universe! What will I do differently next time I'm out? Nothing....

Just feel bad the guy blew out a good board...

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