Old archived surfboard leash image from 1960s fom STab Magazine

Surfboard Leashes - A Guide and Some History


There's some accessories that have been invented over the years for surfing,like webbed gloves, that are not essential at all!  But among the most essential equipment for any surfer is the surfboard leash or legrope, a vital accessory that keeps the board tethered to the rider's leg, preventing you losing your board, the big swim in after it or endangering others in the water. Surfboard, fins, wetsuit, wax and a leash are standard in every surfer's gear stash.  In this comprehensive guide, we delve into the anatomy, history, and evolution of surfboard leashes, as well as review some of the top models available on the market today.

Anatomy of a Surfboard Leash:

A surfboard leash comprises several key components designed to withstand the rigors of the ocean while providing reliable performance. These components include:

  1. Cord: The leash's core element, typically made from urethane or other durable materials, determines the leash's strength and stretchability.  They should be made with plenty of srength and stretch that has good "memory" to its initial length
  2. Cuff: Attached to the surfer's ankle or calf, the cuff secures the leash to the rider, usually featuring comfortable padding and adjustable straps for a snug fit.  More premium leashes can have features like non-slip lining, slimmer/stronger design, premium quick release
  3. Rail Saver: Positioned near the leash plug, the rail saver prevents the leash from damaging the surfboard's rails, extending the board's lifespan.  Make sure when you fix your leash to the board the rail saver rather than the leash string comes into contact with the rails
  4. Swivel: Located at the cuff and/or railsaver, the swivel reduces tangling by allowing the leash to rotate freely when put in all sorts of different positions.

Evolution and History:

The surfboard leash has a fascinating history, evolving from primitive designs to today's advanced models. Originally, surfers used rudimentary ankle straps made from rope or fishing line to tether themselves to their boards. In the 1970s, the introduction of urethane cords revolutionized leash technology, offering improved strength and elasticity. In popular American surfing history it is claimed the surfboard leash was invented by the O'Neill family in 1970 but there is clear photographic evidence of surfers usnig leashes well before then.  Over the decades, manufacturers have continued to innovate, introducing features such as swivels, padded cuffs, and specialized materials to enhance performance and durability.

Review of Top Surfboard Leash Models:

FCS Freedom Helix Leash:

FCS FReedom Helix surfboard leash

The Freedom Helix leashcreates the perfect blend of weightlessness, strength and sustainability in a leash that’s one of a kind.

Featuring a cord made from natural bio-resin, the Helix ups the performance levels by being lighter and faster than anything you’ve experienced.

New Helix Cord: Naturally sourced, corn-based Bio-Resin construction results in a lighter & stronger cord. Inner Helix straightens under load to absorb shock & amplify strength. Helix’s textured cord surface creates smoother water flow resulting in less drag.

Lightweight Cuff  Silicone Grip Print - Reduces slipping around ankle. 2mm Neoprene Padding - Thin, light and comfortable. Low Profile Moulded Velcro - Stronger & more reliable. Moulded Pull-tab - New finger grip designed for quick release.

Strong Connections  Helix Overmould - Maximises strength while providing stretch when strained.  Reinforced Horn - Elongated & comfortable horn reduces back foot tangling.  Slim Railsaver - Made with Hypalon and moulded velcro for extra strength.  Titanium Swivels - Super durable, light & corrosion resistant.

Available in various lengths and thicknesses to suit different wave conditions and rider preferences.

Ocean and Earth One XT Leash:

Ocean and Earth Premium One XT Surfboard leash

The One Piece Leash’s extruded cord design eliminates the moulded end join which is the weakest point in traditional leashes. Constructed using a new production technique, 8mm swivels and a unique new formula in the urethane cord, this leash has superior strength, stretch and memory retention.


An engineered raised rubber print, positioned on the inside of the neoprene ankle strap. This design will help minimise the strap from moving, ensuring your board is always waiting for you tangle-free after any wipeout.


The original rail saver system designed by Ocean & Earth, with sewn in anchor cord. Protects rails and is easily detached.


The larger the wave, the more stretch which keeps your board at a safe distance away. Premium grade quality urethane developed by the world's leading manufacturer.


Designed for comfort to naturally curve and contour around the ankle.


New PU 'Easy access' pull tab. Essential when surfing big waves and reefs.


Another Ocean & Earth first. Ensures leash string can be easily slipped through surfboard plug.


Marine grade, stainless anti-corrosive free-spin swivels for tangle-free surfing.

Creatures of Leisure Superlite and Reliance Leashes:

Superlite Series:

CReatures of Leisure Superlite surfboard leash

The Creatures of Leisure SUPERLITE leash is the lightest, most comfortable leash in the world specifically developed with custom materials for a ‘no leash feel’. Regular Leash for medium-sized waves and all-around conditions. The 7mm cord Pro leash is perfect as a go-to leash ready to tackle a broad range of conditions. 

Creatures TPU Cord. DNA Flex Mould. Elliptical Horn. Surefire Leash Release. WT1 Welded Mesh. Non-Slip Cuff. Moulded Velcro

Reliance Series:

Creatures of Leisure Reliance Surfboard Leash

Reliance model engineered for maximum strength and reliability in medium (Pro) to large (Reef and Outer Reef) surf.

Patented DNA Flex Mould connection . Non-Slip Cuff – Streamline. Surefire Leash Release. Moulded Velcro®. Dual Stainless Steel Bearing Swivel - SS316. 2 Year Warranty. Responsible Packaging - Plastic Free

Both leashes feature high-quality materials, precision engineering, and advanced design elements for uncompromising performance.

FCS Essential Leash Collection:

FCS Essential surfboard leash

Versatile lineup offering a range of leash options suitable for all skill levels and wave conditions.

Overview: Inspired by the revolutionary freedom leash. The FCS essential series leash has been streamlined into a light, durable and super comfortable leash that is built to handle all conditions.

Features: Cord thickness: 7mm. Wave Size: 2 - 8 ft. In-cuff silicone grip, preventing ankle twisting. Hypalon pull tab for ease of release. Extra strength moulded Velcro. Extended overmould reduces tangles. Contoured horn conforms to shape of ankle

Specialized Leashes for Big Wave Surfing:

FCS Protect Big Wave Leash

For surfers tackling massive waves, specialized leashes like the FCS Protect Big Wave and Creatures of Leisure Outer Reef offer unparalleled strength and reliability. These leashes feature heavy-duty construction, reinforced cuffs, and extra-thick cords designed to withstand the immense forces encountered in extreme conditions, providing peace of mind and maximum safety for big wave riders.

Looking for a good quality price point leash?

Go and check out our own brand Gizzy Hard surfboard 6' surfboard leashes with 7mm cord, double swivel, high density neoprene cuff, extra strong rip and grip velcro, triple railsaver, internal key pocket.

Gizzy Hard red surfboard leash


As an indispensable piece of surfing equipment, the surfboard leash plays a crucial role in ensuring rider safety and enhancing overall performance in the water. With advancements in materials, design, and technology, today's surfers have access to a diverse range of leash options tailored to their specific needs and preferences. Whether you're a beginner catching your first waves or a seasoned pro chasing big swells, investing in a high-quality surfboard leash is essential for a safe and enjoyable surfing experience.

Shop online at Blitz Surf Shop for your surfboard leashes 

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