Surfboard leashes: we only remember them when something goes wrong | Photo: Neerav Bhatt

Are surf leashes a matter of style or safety? When loose surfboards hit surfers, the debate on using leg ropes arises again. There's really only one obvious answer: use it.

Longboarders tend to embed the spirit of "ropeless riding" in their DNA. It's cool, it's traditional, it's pure, and it's trendy.

Let's take a look at what they usually say about surf leashes:

  • "Longboarders should never use leashes";
  • "I don't need one; I never lose my board";
  • "If it's a sandy beach, I'm not putting a cord on";
  • "Leg ropes are dumb. All surfboards were invented without leg ropes";
  • "It's a personal choice; you don't need one if you can surf";
  • "Boards have got to be single-fin and without leashes";
  • "I can go out and be confident I'm not going to lose my board";
  • "If you lose your board, you have to swim and collect it and think about why you lost it";

Surfboard leashes were introduced to the world of surfing in the 1970s. It is still a smart invention, whether you're a pro surfer or an absolute beginner.

Despite being wrongly named "kook cords," these surf ropes have prevented thousands of injuries in the last 50 years.

Take a look at four reasons why you should definitely get that polyurethane cord around your ankle:

1. Surf Leashes May Save Your Life

You're tired and getting pounded. A rip current has taken you to unwanted spots.

Stay cool and connected to your surfboard. It will keep you afloat.

2. No Ditched Surfboards

A leg rope will prevent your surfboard from hitting and injuring other surfers.

Do you want to be responsible for inflicting severe injuries on someone else? Wearing a leash is an act of civility.

3. Surf More

A surf cord will allow you to surf more.

If you have to swim back to the beach to get your surfboard every time you make a mistake, you won't surf 10 percent as much as you would if you'd attached the rope to the stick.

4. Safe Duck Dives

Leg ropes allow you to leave the surfboard for emergency duck dives.

If a dangerous set approaches, and you can't make a proper duck dive, leave your surfboard behind and submerge your body as deep as you can.

5. Everybody Uses It

So why do 99 percent of surfers use surf leashes? Style isn't everything. It's all about staying safe and respecting your fellow surfers.

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