Jono 111 wrote:Thanks for your response Richard.
I must admit I'm surprised, but its good for people to have different views.
My only leash experience is as follows, perhaps it will allow you to see my perspective:
1. I grew up surfing. One day the surf was perfect, hollow 4 ft (or 8 ft in kitesrf world apparently). I left my leash at home and borrowed a friend's spare 4 ft (ie short) competition leash. I got some great little barrels, then blew a critical take off. The board sprang back and took out all the muscles under my left eye. 21 stitches in my face, fully double vision for 12 months untill a 3 hour operation that did wonders.....not much to do with kitesurfing, but the start of my hate for leashes.
2. Learning to kitesurf in Mauritius in 2003. Leash wraps around my big toe after being ripped by the kite while my board was tomb stoning. Broken big toe, but no treatment available. Its still not right. That was the end of leashes for me.
3. 2007, bright young 29 year old friend from work decides he wants to learn to kitesurf. Goes to the Canaries. I give him some advice, but tell him that whatever he does, do NOT wear a leash. So he goes to the biggest school in Fuerto and they make him wear a leash, despite him telling them that he doesn't want to because of what his experienced friend told him. Gets launched, board rebounds, rips right through his calf muscle. Spends 3 nights in hospital and walks on crutches for 6 weeks. Never wants to kitesurf again.
In my experience, the vast majority (note: not all) of leash users are beginners lacking confiedence in their ability to relaunch a kite, students forced to use them by lazy instructors who have 4 students at a time and can't be assed to retrieve boards, or just kiters of a generally low ability who never learned to body drag properly.
I don't know the facts, but I would be very interested to know what the biggest cause of kite injuries is. You can guess what I would speculate.....
Anyhow, thats my piece.
It’s easy to see why you and others have strong opinions regarding leash use and I've had bad experiences with both surf board and reel leashes.
However, I don’t think there is any comparison between the dangerousness of reel leashes compared to surf board leashes – ESPECIALLY when the surf board leash is attached to the ankle (as shown in virtually every magazine photo of pros).
In our case, regarding board lessons, it boils down to a value judgment of increased risk of injury due to using a reel leash for a more productive lesson.
Assumedly, other locations and clientele may justify different approaches, but here, PRODUCTIVE lesson time is extremely valuable. Our clients generally are NOT on vacation and must fit lessons into their schedule – frequently weekends ONLY. We are not just limited by the amount of daylight, but also by the fact that the wind only tends to come up in the afternoon and then tends to be up and down. And it is DEFINITELY NOT within a lesson wind range every day. Board lessons tend to require a narrower set of conditions than other lessons because we need enough, but not too much wind and at surf locations, the surf can not be too big. We FREQUENTLY must cancel lessons due to inappropriate conditions.
Although virtually all our students will have taken a bodydragging lesson before their board lesson and KNOW HOW to bodydrag, they are rarely PROFICIENT at it because they have not practiced this on their own (ideally for 5 –10 hours in various conditions) prior to their board lesson.
When we give a board lesson where we swim out with the student, once they catch up to us, they have to bodydrag back and forth to hold their ground while we swim ahead of them. This is MUCH easier if they can tow the board. Likewise, retrieving the board after falling is much less time consuming.
Apparently, many people who advocate no leash teaching have forgotten how easy it is to get dragged downwind with a less than perfect transition, or how easy is to get dragged INTO or ON TOP of the board, or how disconcerting it can be for a novice (who already has his hands full flying a kite) to get a mouthful of water, or be unable to see because of water in their eyes, is uncomfortable and unused to the harness, probably anxious (if not scared shitless), etc.
Because the leash seems to save a substantial amount of precious time for the client and seems to add minimal additional risk the way we use it, we feel it provides enough benefit to justify the increased risk of injury.
As to what cause the most injuries, I would say that losing control on land causes far more injuries and definitely more serious injuries.
Malibu Kitesurfing - since 2002
(310) - 430 - KITE (5483)