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.