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HOME arrow FEATURES arrow Lasso That Thing: Retaining Your Board Caught Inside
Lasso That Thing: Retaining Your Board Caught Inside PDF Print E-mail
By: Stand Up Paddle Surfing Magazine   
Tuesday, 18 December 2007
A common topic of discussion among stand up paddlers is keeping the board under control when your are caught in the impact zone after a wipeout or after straightening out on a wave. If you are all alone in the water, it's not a big deal because you can just let the board "blow in the wind" when the whitewater hits. However, if there are others in the water, especially between you and the sand, it is critical that you keep your board close to you and under control so that it doesn't get dragged off with the possibility of hitting someone inside of you. This article will present two techniques that you can use to keep the board under control when you're caught inside.

The scenario that we followed in figuring out these tricks is this, "You took off on a bomb of a wave, then the wind shifts and the wave closes out on you forcing you to straighten out. The wall of whitewater behind you catches up and swallows you. After you surface for air, you glance behind you only to be greeted by the second wave of the set. You look toward the shore and notice two other surfers about 20 yards "down wind" of you. Unless you are able to somehow tether the board, it's guaranteed to hit the surfers on the inside. Now what?" After trying several techniques the two techniques that we have chosen to highlight are what we call the "Tail Grab" and "Leash Wrap". It has been suggested by some to grab the leash near the leash plug or to install some sort of handle near the tail and grab that. We found two problems with these techniques. First, with you fingers all mingling with a the leash and plug string, when the water hits, you finger could get caught in the loop and taking your finger with it. This could happen in small or big surf. We weren't really comfortable with that since we like using our fingers for things like...eating and tying our shoes and paddling. Secondly, in bigger surf, if you have a death grip on the leash or a handle, which you will, knowing it'll probably hit someone if you let go, with force of the wave yanking the board will take your arm with it, possibly dislocating your wrist, elbow or shoulder, no to mention a wicked leash burn on your hand when you finally let go. So we voted against handle a handle on the plug.

Tail Grab
Tail Grab Technique: Don't grab the leash.
The "Tail Grab" and "Leash Wrap" are, in our opinion, the safest techniques we found so far. In small surf, the Tail Grab is what we recommend. In its simplicity, turn the board so it's "down wave" from you and you have the tail closest to you. Put the palm of your hand flat on the deck of the board and rub it a little to get as much friction as you can. Just before the wave hits, push down on the tail and sharply pull it back toward you in one motion. The board with perform sort of a tail-first duck dive below the foam. If you have a tail block, this technique is even more effective. We recommend a tail block even if you use it for this purpose only. You don't need an entire tail pad, you can purchase just the block and stick it on there. The friction of your hand on the board combined with the jerking motion back into the wave will get you through most small to medium whitewater. Your fingers aren't touching the leash or getting tangled in the string and the board is diving under the foam instead of getting dragged by it.

Leash Wrap
Leash Wrap Technique: Two hands and solid.
Now, for medium to large surf, we were stoked to discover the "Leash Wrap". SUPSURFMAG.COM editor Nate Burgoyne figured this one out a few weeks ago but wanted to test it several times to make sure it worked. This technique will give you a full two handed grip on both your paddle and surfboard. As the approaching wall of foam looms on the horizon, grab your paddle in one hand, near the handle, and the leash in the other, about 5 feet from your board. Wrap the leash around and around the paddle shaft multiple times crisscrossing the wraps if possible. Then, when the water is almost upon you, grab the paddle shaft with two hands, one on either side of the wrapped leash and hold on. When the wave grabs the board, you'll have a solid two handed grip on the paddle and board. If a second wave is on its way, you may have to re-wrap the leash as it may loosen after he initial pull.

Things To Remember
*Always look away from your board on impact. The movement of whitewater is very unpredictable any you wouldn't want to accidentally catch a fin nor the tail of your board in the face.
*Be aware of sharp tugs. With both of these techniques the cushion of a dynamic leash cord are non-existent. The wave will pull the board, and you, rather sharply when it hits. This is why we favor the Leash Wrap. With two hand on the paddle shaft, you are able to better absorb the impact and minimize the chance of injury.
*Always be aware of those around you and make safety your #1 priority. After that, there's nothing left to do but have fun!

We hope you will find these techniques useful. Next time you get caught inside, spend some time practicing these techniques and, when you need to use them, they will come naturally. If you a have any other tips or techniques that you feel would benefit stand up paddlers around the world, send them to This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it .

SUPSURFMAG.COM ...100% Pure Stoke!
feed3 Comments
August 01, 2009

Stand in a kung fu stance, take the last stroke just before the whitewater hits and make it a long, steady "sweeping" pull that lifts the nose, and as the nose lifts and rockets high, be ready to go into a drop knee stance (back knee dropped) if you loose your ballance - I've been abole to paddle out and over 10' wall of ww on my 9' board like this!

I also put leash plugs on the nose of my boards and a T grip style kayak handle that is a great grip to hang onto in the case of having to bail, but ALSO keep the board in hand. Kayak Handle-Thumb.jpg


June 10, 2009

I've been SUP surfing for a little over a year now - having been a surfer for a few years. One of the techniques i've found useful (in small whitewater waves) is to knee paddle towards the white water - and then as the whitewater is about to hit you plant your paddle firmly in the water - I find this gives a bit of stability as does being on your knees - my husband who has been surfing longer than me told me to try this and it works for me. Give it a go!

May 19, 2009

I am new to SUP surfing. I find myself getting frustrated paddling back out after catching a wave because even small whitewash waves are difficult to get over, especially when surfing breaks with very little channel like beach breaks. Every time white wash rolls toward me I'm forced to jump off my board and swim under. This is fine but it often takes quite a lot of time spent ducking under waves before the ocean goes flat enough again for me to paddle back out to the lineup. There has got to be an easier way, right? I'm not surfing huge waves or anything, I just wish I knew how to get back outside the breakers to catch more waves without getting pummeled for ten minutes or so every time I catch a wave. Can you provide any suggestions???

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