Surfboard leash: the rope that connects surfboard to your ankle | Photo: Shutterstock

Surf leashes are a key piece of surf gear. But, how should we choose a surf leash? We'll guide you through all the options when buying surfboard leashes.

Surf leashes, also known as "kook cords" and leg ropes, save you tremendous efforts and may save your life, too. They were introduced in the world of surfing in the 1970s. In those days, the average surfboard was heavier and longer than it is now.

If you suffered a wipeout in the small or big surf, your surfboard would end up on the beach, sand or on the rocks. Simultaneously, the surfer would be out alone in the lineup, caught inside, or involved in a terrible white water nightmare.

The surf leash was a fantastic invention, even for experienced and uber-confident pro surfers. It keeps your surfboard attached to your leg, in case you need something to hold on to. Today, "kook cords" are probably the most important gear in surfing, right after the surfboard and the wetsuit.

Before buying a new surf leash, you should take into consideration four variables: the length of the cord, the thickness of the cord, the quality of the connection between the cord and the ankle strap and the security conditions of the ankle strap itself.

The best surf leashes are made of polyurethane. If you've got a 6-foot surfboard, pick a 6-foot surf leash. If you own a 9-foot longboard, then go for a 9-foot rope. It's a simple rule of thumb.

Regarding thickness, it's always important to confirm the wave conditions. In the small surf, thinner surf leashes can be enough, but if you're riding powerful medium-to-large waves then paddling out with a strong thick leash is compulsory.

To avoid breaking the surf leash, good and strong multi-directional rotating swivels are crucial. In rare situations, you will need to dismount your surfboard quickly. That is why the best ankle straps have accessible, fast detachable "buttons."

The same applies to the rail saver. The ankle straps should be made of neoprene and include soft lycra edges. Let's take a look at the best "kook cords" in the world:

 

FCS Premium Regular

FCS Premium Regular

A surfboard leash for shortboards.

A 7mm thick leash for 2-to-8-foot waves. Features an interchangeable smooth rotating nylon cuff, machine stainless steel swivels, and a key pocket.

Buy: Amazon.com

 

FCS Premium Competition

FCS Premium Competition

A surfboard leash for shortboards.

A 5.5mm thick leash for 2-to-4-foot waves. A shorter lightweight model that minimizes drag.

Buy: Amazon.com

 

Dakine Kainui

Dakine Kainui

A surfboard leash for bigger boards.

An 8mm thick cord for larger swells and double-to-triple overhead waves. Features a molded neoprene ankle cuff, heavy duty, corrosion proof zipper, and maximum safety systems.

 

Buy: Amazon.com

 

Dakine Longboard

Dakine Longboard

A surfboard leash for longboards.

A 6.5mm thick leash for log riders. It will keep your toes on the noes, not wrapped up in the leash.

Buy: Amazon.com

 

Creatures of Leisure Pro

Creatures of Leisure Pro

A surfboard leash for shortboards and bigger boards.

Features an injection molded urethan sure release tag with molded holes that allow water flow and reduce the weight of the cuff. It comes with an unbreakable, self-lubricating swivel that produces continuous friction-free motion, eliminating leash tangles.

Buy: Amazon.com

 

Creatures of Leisure Outer Reef

Creatures of Leisure Outer Reef

A surfboard leash for big wave surfboards.

A super strong model that absorbs wave impact, and stretches to resist breakage.

Buy: Amazon.com

 

Sticky Bumps Day Glo

Sticky Bumps Day Glo

A surfboard leash for shortboards.

A 5mm thick leash for competitive surfers. Features molded rivets, a double webbed rail saver, and a padded ankle cuff.

Buy: Amazon.com

 

Bully's Enduro

Bully's Enduro

A surfboard leash for shortboards.

A solid urethane rope for strength and elasticity. Features a double brass heavy duty swivel that prevents tangling, and a flex base that adds flexibility between the leash and your leg.

Buy: Amazon.com

 

Bullet Proof Surf Storm

Bullet Proof Surf Storm

A surfboard leash for stand-up paddleboards (SUP).

A coiled surf leash for SUP enthusiasts. It eliminated the drag and keeps your leash up on the back of your board and out of the water.

Buy: Amazon.com