Contact   Imprint   Advertising   Guidelines

Board leashes, use 'em or lose 'em???

forum for kitesurfers

User avatar
Very Frequent Poster
Posts: 8873
Joined: Mon Feb 11, 2002 1:00 am
Kiting since: 1998
Local Beach: SE Florida
Gear: Cabrinha
Brand Affiliation: Cabrinha
Location: Florida

Postby RickI » Tue Feb 19, 2002 6:39 pm

I wanted to pass on a thread from another forum to the group:

Well said Dave and I am with you on helmets! Some other issues were sent to me by private email. He brings up some thought provoking stuff. It seems going leashless may cause new problems in some instances. Here it is ...

Rick Iossi


Although I understand the dangers of board leashes, I think they offer more
good than bad. The Surf Nut retractable leash minimizes the downsides while
supplying the obvious upsides of having a leash.

I've seen excellent riders going without a board leash with
no problem. That is, until they lose their board. Then they disrupt the
whole flow of the relatively small kite zone trying to get back to their
board. Inevitably, one or two other kiters totally alter their ride in
order to assist in retrieving the lost board. Of course this further
compounds the developing chaos in kite traffic that was needlessly caused by
the unleashed board.

I'm starting to see the same thing with kite leashes, too. I think we're
entering a bad phase where a large percentage of riders are getting good
enough to call themselves advanced and therefore start ditching board and
kite leashes. I fear this trend is already with us and may get ugly before
the pendulum can swing back the other way. I wish the industry would come
up with some improved kite leash designs that deal with the limitations that
lead to advanced riders deciding to go without.

I think that the safety aspects of kiteboard gear in general have been
somewhat neglected by the industry. The confusing kite sizes, the variety
of questionable quality kite leashes, control bars that don't float and the
lack of any kite specific impact vests & PFD's are just some of the problems
that have taken back seat to who can create the best aspect ratio or wind
range. I noticed how many of the kitemares on your database happened upon
launch while hooked in the loop. By now it seems like kite manufacturers
(besides Flysurfer) would have some quick release loops and other options
for us to use. It seems like each kite community is developing their own
little niche of shackles and kite leashes and gadgets to get around the
inadequacies in the designs we're buying. What if the kiteboarding
associations could work together to encourage/pressure the manufacturers to
put more emphasis on these types of things? Industry is obviously running
way behind reality on these issues and it is leading to more accidents, more
bad safety trends and more beach closures for kiteboarders worldwide.

Of course, the glamorizing of the whole bad boy scene further promotes new
riders to go without appropriate safety gear, too. Kiteboarding Magazine
doesn't even have a safety section in it. Instead you skim the 10 tips on
big air and get advice like riding with kites that are two or three sizes
too big for conditions! I don't know man, but I'm seeing some bad trends
developing out there. One of the most troublesome trends being advanced
riders going without leashes. Instead of encouraging riders to ditch their
leash, I wish we could pressure industry to build a better one.


<< Hang on a bit, let's not get carried away. If we are concerned about
safety let's not forget one of the original reasons leashes were used
on surfboards, to stop runaway boards in surf from hitting other surf

This may not be a problem on waterways where there is no surf or other
ways in which errant boards can hit other water users but could be a
real problem in relatively crowded surf zones. Most kiteboards have so
little volume they are virtually invisible in the surf until you are
very close to them. Sharp rails also increase the likelihood of some
injury if someone gets hit, (even another kitesurfer).

I don't like standard leashes myself and have found the reel leash
solves the problem for me, no slingshots and 5 to 10 seconds to be back
on my board from when I lose it. I still wear a helmet though :smile:

Have fun, Dave (Dr Surf Australia) COM

--- In kitesurf@y..., "vide72au" <vide72au@y...> wrote:
> I think the day any kitesurfer starts jumping or gybing, it the day
> they should lose the leash.
> Leashes should be illegal!
> You can either:
> - wear a helmet and full body armour and a leash
> - or no leash and just board shorts (and still be safer in my
> view...)
> DT >>

User avatar
Very Frequent Poster
Posts: 37569
Joined: Mon Sep 24, 2001 1:00 am
Kiting since: 2000
Local Beach: Cumbuco, Brazil
Barra do Cauipe, Brazil
Style: Airstyle
Gear: Rebel 2015 18
Brand Affiliation: None.
Location: World (KF Admin)

Postby Toby » Tue Feb 19, 2002 7:34 pm

the question is, if a kitebeach is good for many people kitesurfing, if you can't even get back to your board? IMO more accidents happend with leash. I stopped using a leash when my board shot head high towards me. And I never regret it, since I got back my board everytime and wasn't in the way of anyone. And you don't loose your board all the time. You can avoid loosing your board when you put up your toes while falling down to make sure not to loose it. It worked many times.

Maybe Naish has a new leash system for the kites, but we have to wait for the X2.

Definitely the kitecompanies have to invent a system, which works for spins and has a quick release.

Medium Poster
Posts: 143
Joined: Sat Dec 15, 2001 1:00 am

Postby phree » Wed Feb 20, 2002 7:17 am

A kiteboard fatality in Hawaii was likely caused by a rider not using a board leash, losing the board in surf and being knocked out by it when it washed over a wave into him. He was a Very Talented, Advanced Rider whom hardly ever lost his board. Such horrible acciedents do happen. This and other scenarios can be avoided with a good retractable board leash such is made by Surf Nut.

One aspect of the Surf Nut retractable leash design is a short section that will break away before so much force is applied to make it sling back at a rider.
This leash can be viewed at

I understand that maybe some kite zones are so huge and/or uncrowded that chasing a loose board around doesn't create dangerous traffic. However, I suspect many kite zones are crowded and filled with kiters of various abilities. In such areas, full safety gear, including board leashes, seems to be called for. Isn't the point of safety gear to make you ready when the unexpected happens?

Please take a look at the Surf Nut Retractable Leash and don't completely rule out ever using a board leash. I think we may set a dangerous precedent if we promote a trend of removing safety gear of any kind.

I wish industry would help here with improved technology on board leash designs. Again, I think the Surf Nut may be the best out there right now. Check it out.

User avatar
Very Frequent Poster
Posts: 1949
Joined: Mon Nov 12, 2001 1:00 am
Kiting since: 0
Brand Affiliation: None
Location: Hamburg, Germany

Postby murdoc » Wed Feb 20, 2002 4:08 pm

2 things into the discussion:

1. ever seen the nsi or flysurfer reel-leashes?
haven't tried them on my own, but i heard that they work very well.

2. ever tried to go upwind with a kite and no board ? it's easy:

use a well powered 4 line tubekite, lie in the water and strech out your whole body. fly the kite fully depowered down to the left or right. then take the arm which is on [don't know the rigth expression] the down-side off the bar and point upwind into the direction you wanna go.

it works - if your kite has enough power.

using this method, you can get easily back to your board which will travel downwind towards you anyway ....

User avatar
Very Frequent Poster
Posts: 37569
Joined: Mon Sep 24, 2001 1:00 am
Kiting since: 2000
Local Beach: Cumbuco, Brazil
Barra do Cauipe, Brazil
Style: Airstyle
Gear: Rebel 2015 18
Brand Affiliation: None.
Location: World (KF Admin)

Postby Toby » Wed Feb 20, 2002 5:46 pm

but how many accidents happend using a board leash and how many without? this was the first time I heard someone was hit by a board without using a leash. But even with a leash it can hit you in a wave.
If you use a board leash, the board can only go in one direction: towards you.
If you don't use a leash, it can go in all directions, but it doesn't fly as fast as you do, since you are still powered up with the kite.
I will take my chance and get hit by a board without using a leash rather than using a leash. And two times I had bad experience using a leash not hitting me but being in the lines of another kite (I wanted to resatrt a dropped kite from a friend and the board got in the way) and being stucked at a buoy, kite pulling me and leash holding me at it in 2 m height!
Also jumping and doing tricks like deadman or stiffy it came into the lines.
I'm very happy not using it anymore.
It is everyones decision. And if you use it, use a helmet as well.

Medium Poster
Posts: 143
Joined: Sat Dec 15, 2001 1:00 am

Postby phree » Wed Feb 20, 2002 7:23 pm

Regarding the comparison of the NSI retractable to the Surf Nut: I've heard the NSI is not as mechanically reliable but don't know from first hand experience. I hope both these companies and others, too, will further improve the technology to answer the current limitations.

What do you guys think about the use of heel bungees with board straps?

Return to “Kitesurfing”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot], Google [Bot], Jukka, Papiloko and 8 guests