Contact   Imprint   Advertising   Guidelines

Another reel leash injury

forum for kitesurfers

User avatar
Very Frequent Poster
Posts: 8808
Joined: Mon Feb 11, 2002 1:00 am
Kiting since: 1998
Local Beach: SE Florida
Gear: Cabrinha
Brand Affiliation: Cabrinha
Location: Florida

Another reel leash injury

Postby RickI » Thu Jun 12, 2003 2:03 am

Board leashes are dangerous. They can injure riders and may have even contributed to one or more deaths. Body dragging is easy and for most but not all launches can generally restore your board to you much of the time. Reel leashes are less dangerous than fixed length leashes but injuries have still occurred even with this design. Here is one more from

"Thanks for help at 3rd ave, cut foot, wed 28th

Thanks to the guys who helped me out Wed eve with first aid and packing up my kite.

here's what happened and the outlook:

7pm, light wind - maybe 11 or 12 kts. Equipment: psycho 12.5, Wipika Eclipse board, helmet, retractable leash, wetsuit, booties. Overall experience level - maybe 30-50 hours on the water (plus awhol elot on land and under paragliders)

On the water, after a nice hour of kiting - i'm experimenting more with jumps and bringing the kite back to different points. but the jumps are still a bit hit and miss, especially the ones off 12 o'clock.

One of the jumps misses in that I take off without being properly balanced. I kick off the board, keep getting pulled ... but the retractable leash gets stuck at about 1 yard. the wipika whips around and the edge slams into my the side of my foot.

I sail in thinking i might have bruised my foot quite badly, but when i look down at the board, it is covered in blood. Open fracture, 4th and 5th meta-tarsals. several months off.

Thanks again for the first aid and packing up!


There is another story about a kite leash misused as a board leash that resulted in a serious foot injury at:


There are MANY other stories in cirulation about problems with board leash use. Attaching yourself to a missle that can hit any part of your body and has MANY times isn't advisable particularly IF you have options at your particular launch to recover your board by body dragging. ALL kiteboarders learn to water start on their board, ALL kiteboarders also need to learn and practice body dragging. Expect more avoidable accidents until leash use starts to substantially decline. If you ride in an area where your runaway board is likely to injure bathers you probably need to move to another launch rather than put yourself at risk by using a board leash.

If you don't use a board leash you need to accept the possibility that you might lose your board someday. What is the price of a replacement board stacked up against the pain, costs and recovery time associated with a serious board impact injury? Lots of guys have been forced to consider this during recovery. Look to their example and lessons learned or no, it is your choice.

User avatar
Very Frequent Poster
Posts: 673
Joined: Thu Jan 16, 2003 1:00 am
Kiting since: 0
Brand Affiliation: None
Location: Los Angeles, California

Re: Another reel leash injury

Postby » Thu Jun 12, 2003 2:59 am

"RickI" forwarded:
...Equipment: psycho 12.5, Wipika Eclipse board, helmet, retractable leash, wetsuit, booties....One of the jumps misses in that I take off without being properly balanced. I kick off the board, keep getting pulled ... but the retractable leash gets stuck at about 1 yard.
VERY strange. I wonder which exact "retractable leash" it was. My Reel Leashes have NEVER stuck*, even though I never rinse it, not even after getting tumbled in the surf, or dropping it wet into dry sand. I have heard that the "Surf Nut" leashes are prone to jamming.

*& IF this WAS a Reel Leash which stuck, it would be the first one I can recall being reported.
There is another story about a kite leash misused as a board leash...
Sorry, but I can't help but point out that's not really a fair example of the hazards of using a board leash.

User avatar
Very Frequent Poster
Posts: 2301
Joined: Sat Apr 13, 2002 1:00 am
Kiting since: 1999
Gear: Naish, North, Ozone, MikesLab, Taaroa
Brand Affiliation: None
Location: Vancouver, Canada

Postby cglazier » Thu Jun 12, 2003 5:52 am

I have to agree with Mel here. My NSI reel leash has never stuck. It has always behaved flawlessly.
I agree that sufboard style leashes are dangerous, but the NSI reel leash (Oceanus reel leash) is quite different.

Chris G

Rare Poster
Posts: 37
Joined: Sat May 31, 2003 8:56 pm

Postby JayEl » Thu Jun 12, 2003 7:08 am

Same comment here: my NSI reel leash has never jammed (well, I purchased it via but I think it is the NSI leash).
The elastic bungy cord broke after 2 times sailing, so I had to replace that by an own construction.

Sailing without a board leash may be an option for advanced riders, but beginners and intermediate riders will often be in this situation after a failed move:
- board kicked away
- kite in the water
By the time that you have relaunched your kite, your board is gone...


User avatar
Very Frequent Poster
Posts: 8808
Joined: Mon Feb 11, 2002 1:00 am
Kiting since: 1998
Local Beach: SE Florida
Gear: Cabrinha
Brand Affiliation: Cabrinha
Location: Florida

Postby RickI » Thu Jun 12, 2003 1:48 pm

My NSI reel leash has never jammed on me either. I carry it most of the time but use it only on a short term basis for getting out through high surf, on those rare occassions, and to secure the board while I use both hands if necessary for the odd kite relaunch from water. The use of the term "retractable" leash implies a reel leash of some manufacture was used in the recent accident. I will make an inquiry to learn more specifics about what type and model of leash was actually used. I think some people are even using dog leashes still so it may not have been one of the kiteboarding variety. Some reel leash injuries are caused not by rebounding boards but by wave driven boards held close by the reel leash.

Also, I NEVER even came close to being injured by a fixed, surfboard style board leash in over 2 1/2 years of riding. I still stopped using a leash fulltime 2 1/2 years ago roughly, even though I had never personally experienced any serious incident. Why?

Lots of stories about injuries that happened to others. There are the two recent ones that haven't made it into the KSI yet. Some of these board leash related accidents and incidents are in the KSI such as:

67. Cut throat and smashed teeth,
66. Likely involvement in a fatality,
49. Head injury,
46. Possible involvement in fatality, we will never likely know for certain,
31. Lacerated leg,
26. Head gash using a reel leash,
24. Head gash and skull fracture THROUGH a helmet,
17. Caused inadvertant lofting,

There have been other stories that I have heard about that indicated leash injury through helmets and to other parts of the body. STILL, I NEVER CAME CLOSE TO EXPERIENCING ANY OF THIS, SO WHY STOP USING BOARD LEASHES? Because, injuries happened to enough other people to convince me to stop. It is all about choice.

I will continue to use a reel leash, but only as a temporary measure with care, when needed. Most riders don't have contrary currents that might take their board away, some do however. For those few, you have a hard decision and need to employ particular care.. For the many riders that use a leash but don't really have to because of launch conditions, you folks should consider that choice carefully. I suspect that there are a large number of people using board leashes out of convenience as opposed to possible necessity. They are building the odds for injury against themselves out of "convenience." Strange.
Last edited by RickI on Thu Jun 12, 2003 3:54 pm, edited 4 times in total.

Bintan Kiter
Rare Poster
Posts: 44
Joined: Sat Apr 12, 2003 4:30 am
Kiting since: 0
Brand Affiliation: None
Location: Bintan, Indonesia

Postby Bintan Kiter » Thu Jun 12, 2003 2:25 pm

Hi Guys

I have had problems with my Oceanus reel. I am relatively new and have been kiting in sometimes overpowered (for me) conditions. The first time I damaged my reel was when I was getting dragged and in the process getting my board dragged. What happened during the session was my leash (webbing) frayed and that's when the reel jammed. Did not get into trouble with the board hitting me then.

Has happened where board came flying at me from the back and just by instinct ducked just in time for the board to come past where my head used to be and hit my hands real hard.

Last week, (since a new replacement leash for the reel) Same thing happened to me. Got out in off shore wind (with safety jet ski following) and a storm came up. Got dragged and lofted a long way out to sea. Leash frayed again. The next day as I had no leash, I had to body drag upwind to my board and was quite surprised that it wasn't so difficult to do.

When I am sailing without friends and in off shore then I will use a leash but will definitely be careful.


User avatar
Frequent Poster
Posts: 252
Joined: Wed Oct 16, 2002 1:00 am
Kiting since: 0
Brand Affiliation: None
Location: BRAZIL

Postby fabinhoj » Thu Jun 12, 2003 2:48 pm

my reel leash stuck once, and was enough to get 7 stiches in my head.
Now when I have to use it, always w/ a helmet.

ps- be ready, because things can go wrong, sooner or later :bye:

Medium Poster
Posts: 140
Joined: Tue Jun 18, 2002 1:00 am
Kiting since: 0
Brand Affiliation: None

Postby pluvious » Thu Jun 12, 2003 3:19 pm

My new (replacement) reel leash hasn't caught on me yet either, but these reports, especially Rick's detailed accounts, do give me pause. The reel portion of the device may always work, never jam, etc., but it's still easy to imagine a scenario whereby the leash gets maxed out, extreme pressure is put on board attachment, then webbing, or attachment point, something gives way and the bugger whips back at you, hopefully not at your face, or on your foot, busting it up as noted. (This could happen if you inadvertantly get lifted off your board attempting a jump. You fly up, the board stays on the water, when pressure is applied the board submarines a bit, bang, busted leash.)

Yes, body dragging can be inconvenient, and the thought of loosing a board is a total bummer. In context of a lost tooth, or eyeball, or busted foot, maybe it's worth the tradeoff.

I think I'll switch to temporary reel leash usage, henceforth to be known as Rick I. Style, for my next sessions...

PS To the guy whose still learning and getting dragged offshore, etc. Beware the offshore winds, especially alone. What you don't know can kill you.

User avatar
Very Frequent Poster
Posts: 613
Joined: Thu Sep 12, 2002 1:00 am
Kiting since: 0
Brand Affiliation: None
Location: Israel

Postby BigSmelly » Thu Jun 12, 2003 9:56 pm

All you heros who have never had their NSI retractable leash get stuck, EVER! It only takes one time to make the difference.
Never, say never!
Learn how to body drag...

Very Frequent Poster
Posts: 775
Joined: Tue May 06, 2003 10:29 am
Kiting since: 0
Brand Affiliation: None
Location: Hawaii

Postby MadMick » Thu Jun 12, 2003 10:01 pm

Could I suggest a pre kiting test of your reel leash?

Just stretch it out and check for damage,and make sure it runs freely.

Return to “Kitesurfing”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Baidu [Spider], hajvar and 22 guests