Choosing the right paddle board leash

As well as observing the 5 water safety advice tips, when paddleboarding, you should always use a SUP leash*.

A paddleboard leash keeps you connected to the board and prevents it from floating away. Without one, it can drift out of reach in seconds and may also impact with other paddlers or swimmers.

When using a paddle board leash and you fall into the water, if you come off your board, or get into trouble in the water, it will help you to get back on your board as quickly as you can or use it as a floatation device in emergency situation.

Depending on where you're paddling and the conditions of the water, you need to wear a different type of leash. We can help you choose the right type of leash for paddleboarding.

Which is the correct SUP lease to use?

Ankle or Calf Leash: Calm, non-moving water

These are the most common types of SUP leash and they’re intended for use on low or non-moving flat water such as calm seas, coastal bays, lakes, reservoirs, canals or slow moving rivers. If you fall in, the board won't float away and you can easily make your way back to the SUP.

How to use a regular SUP leash:
Attach the leash to your paddle board first then place the padded cuff around your ankle or calf and secure with the Velcro strap. Make sure you attach it to your dominant leg – the one you position towards the tail of the board. Don’t make it too tight otherwise it will become uncomfortable

Quick Release Waist Belt System: Moving or flowing water

This connects your regular leash to a quick-release belt and should be used on moving or flowing water such as rivers, estuaries, and environments with tides or currents. It should also be used on any water environment where, if you fall in, your leash could get caught on something. This could be tree branches, rocks, buoys, boat anchor points, bridges etc.

How does it work?
If you find yourself in a situation where you fall in and the leash gets caught on something or the board is dragging you, you can quickly release yourself from the board. In flowing water it is almost impossible to reach your calf or ankle to remove the leash which is why a quick release leash system is necessary. Watch this video to see this in action Ankle Leash entrapment with PFD.
How to use a QR SUP belt:
Attach the leash to your paddle board first then fit the Hydro-Force™ quick release belt around your waist, clip the strap down and loop the padded cuff of the leash onto the quick release belt. When needed, you simply pull the toggle on the front to release the belt. Before using, it is important to trim off any excess strap after the buckle (approx. 15cm/6”) to make the strap properly releases all the way, and test the belt a few times to make sure you know what you are doing.

There are other types of quick release belt systems for which you should follow manufacturer instructions on how to use. It is worth noting that the type of quick release belt we offer was proven to be most effective in comparison to others in testing conditions.

Coiled or Straight SUP leash?

A coiled leash is used for all general paddleboarding and that is what is included with all Hydro-Force™ paddle boards. Whereas a straight leash is for SUP surf only.

Coiled leashes generally remain out of the water which means they don’t cause dragging or pick up any debris such as seaweed or algae from the surface. Straight leashes are longer so that if you come off the board in wavy conditions, the board is less likely to crash into you. 

* The only exception to wearing a leash is in white water conditions. The official guidance from Paddle UK fka British Canoeing, acting as the National Governing Body for Stand Up Paddleboarding in the UK, informed by recent research and insight into the inherent danger of using leashes in these environments, advises not to use any type of leash system. This type of environment is best suited to trained paddleboarders with experience and the right equipment.