How do surf leashes produce drag?
Have you ever felt that your surf leash reduced the speed of your surf line when you were about to hit the next section of the wave? Learn what drag is stopping you from doing.
It's all in the book of hydrodynamics. Surfing is pure science, so we can learn why we aren't so fast on a surfboard to correct and improve performance.
Surf leashes have not been getting the attention that, for example, surf fins have. A leash is that uncomfortable yet loyal friend.
It is there to keep the board next to you, but it is also a private prison - you're attached to it.
Wouldn't it be perfect to have a magnetic connection between a surfer's foot and the surfboard? It would undoubtedly be a fantastic wireless solution.
The closest option is to ride a surfboard with no leash at all. However, you would score fewer waves than the standard average, as your board would 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.
To put things in perspective, 91 percent of a swimmer's energy is lost through drag. So, are we losing speed and momentum by wearing a surf leash?
The honest answer is yes. A surf leash has its share of drag effects. And drag is proportional to the square of speed. Two years ago, pro surfers tested their speed during competition.
Mick Fanning reached a fantastic top speed of 39,1 km/h. But, roughly, his surf leash dragged 3.67 kilograms (8.1 pounds). So, even if you're surfing at half speed, weight matters.
In conclusion, if you're riding a shortboard in small-to-medium wave conditions, pick a short and thin leash. Discover the best surfboard leashes in the world.
Because when it comes to surf leash thickness, the formula is quite simple: the thicker the leash, the greater the drag.