Fixed board leashes can help you keep your board. They do it all the time. They also can seriously injury riders and there is evidence that leash use may have led to the recent kiteboarder fatality in Belgium. There is another unconfirmed report of a board impact temporarily paralyzing a rider in the Gorge. Both of these riders were wearing helmets. There is NOTHING to indicate that a rebounding board will cooperate and only hit an area protected by a helmet.
Additionally, there are several cases in which a board struck the helmet and pierced it and impacted the riders' skulls. Does this happen all the time? No. Does it happen often enough to bring the use of fixed leashes into question? YES. Helmets should be worn to protect against accidental lofting and dragging however.
Fixed leashes have no place in safe kiteboarding based on the accident experience. There is room for innovation for new leash designs that may be less prone to recoiling and causing injury. For now though the risk posed by fixed leashes as supported by the history of accidents far exceeds the benefit provided by them. Body dragging to recover your board is not that difficult in many cases. If you are concerned about having your runaway board drift into surf and possibly hit bathers, you have a problem. Picking another spot to ride may be one solution.
It is time to ditch the fixed board leashes.
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