- 12 July 2013 | Surfing
Have you ever felt that your surf leash has reduced the speed of your surf line, when you were about to reach the next wave section? Learn what drag is stopping you from doing.
It's all in the book of hydrodynamics. Surfing is pure science and we can learn the reasons why we aren't so fast on a surfboard, in order to correct and improve performance.
Surf leashes have not been getting the attention that, for example, surf fins. A leash is that uncomfortable, but loyal friend. It's there to keep the board next to you and it is also a private prison. You're attached to it.
Wouldn't it be perfect to have a magnet connection between a surfer's foot and the surfboard? It would be the greatest wireless solution.
The closest option is to ride a surfboard with no leash at. Of course, you might end up scoring less waves than the standard average, as your board will randomly visit the beach.
The optimal decision is to wear a surf leash. We know that water is nearly 800 times denser and 55 times more viscous - resistant to flow - than air.
Drag increases with speed, fluid density, and object size. Just to put things in perspective, 91% of a swimmers' energy is lost through drag. So, are we losing speed and momentum with a surf leash?
The honest answer is yes. A surf leash has its share of drag effect. And drag is proportional to the square of speed. Two years ago, pro surfers tested their speed during competition.
Mick Fanning reached an amazing high speed of 39,1 km/h. Roughly, his surf leash dragged 3.67 kilograms (8.1 pounds). Even if you're surfing at half speed, weight matters.
So, if you're riding a shortboard in small-to-medium wave conditions, pick a short and thin leash, too. Discover how to pick the best surf leash.
Because when it comes to surf leash thickness, the formula is quite simple: the thicker the leash is, the greater the drag.