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 ikitesurf.com:
"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.
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.
Originally posted at: