Design a better leash

A reel leash solves a lot of problems. The leash is as short as possible when you’re riding, but the board can get some distance from you in a crash. They introduce a few new ones. High price, kooky, and you have to wash it out.

thank you @slashdotdash !
I finally got around to making mine. Its a 6ft leash which extends about 3ft further. I use a waist leash.

I used surgical tubing from Amazon, and 5/32" Amsteel Dyneema. Fishing the surgical tubing through took some trials, but finally figured out that it goes through smoothly if everything is wet. I tied it around the dyneema where it exits and cleaned up with heat shrink tubing.

I used to swear by the XM hand-tied leashes, so I had a few of the rail saver velcro ends laying around which have a nice swivel and is perfect to connect to the leash.


I use the same leash on a different harness and love the extra stretch and slow recoil, bit apparently Oceanus the manufacturer of the recoil leash stopped producing them

there are still a few of the oceanus reel retractors in stock for sale at a few sites. I use it for winging since I’m wearing a simple waist harness anyway and don’t feel the weight. I absolutely love it - the biggest benefit is it lets the board get far away from me when I crash and the wing is never in danger of getting popped by the foil. When I was using a regular leash I popped my leading edge once and tore the canopy a few times. It was pretty rare, but it did happen and its really a pain to deal with repairing the wing. One wing repair avoided makes the reel leash worth it


I want to give an update now that I have a half a dozen sessions on this homemade leash with my downwind SUPfoil kit.

I’m very happy with the lightweight and supple nature of the leash. It stays out of the way and hasn’t gotten tangled or in the way.

I’m very unhappy with what’s happening when I need the leash to be a leash. It has way too little stiffness and immediately stretches to its limit and yanks hard on my waist belt. Not really a problem per-se except it probably is pulling too hard on the board connection.

I’m planning on building the next one with a polyurethane core material. I’ve got some 3mm and 4mm cord on order that should have better stretch characteristics.

Waist leash with a slide (like the Dakin belt)

Seem to minimise wrapping and keep the leash out of the way.

Then I can pop the wing leash on a loop on the front of the waist leash and if I need to exit the set up - I just undo the waist belt and the wing and board are still attached to each other.

Anyone had any downsides from this?

I’ve done it that way for years. A waist belt for both leashes is very convenient. When coming ashore for a break, I simply undo the belt and walk away. The combined length of both leashes keeps the wing safely away from the foil if the wing happens to flip over. No downsides that I can think of.

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I gave the Manera a try and within 30 minutes it lost its recoil and frayed to the point that it looks like it was going to break.

I would recommend a different leash :joy:

Some considerations for downwind leash.

  • Downwind you need a waist leash, or a belt to attach the ankle strap. Otherwise the swivel knocks around when pumping.
  • Only one swivel, at the cuff end, and ideally a longer tail saver section to reduce the knocking

I’m tempted to just run a piece of webbing tied to the leash plug on one end and a locking carabiner to the PFD on the other. Urethane leashes are susceptible to cuts, and a snapped leash when offshore can literally be deadly. I don’t think downwind needs the stretch of urethane, but it does need something that cannot snap? Maybe dyneema with some flex like this:

Matt, we really need stretch in the leash for surfing. I think it might be just find for downwind going without any stretch. In breaking waves, there is a huge pull on the board if it gets taken by whitewater, but not nearly so much in open ocean swell. You might try just using a length of dyneema rope. It is quite good for abrasion resistance and you can get away with a pretty darn thin line which will rip out the insert in the board long before it breaks.

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I think all dyneema like leashes are very prone to fraying when they touch velcro (the male,hook side).
A velcro calf leash ate through my 4/3 wetsuit leg…
A solution is to cover any exposed hook side with some loop/female velcro bit.

What are wing leashes made of? They seem strong enough, have just enough stretch and don’t seem to mind a lot of general abuse. My f-one and Cabrinha ones both seem to fit the need.

I have retired the leash I made with dyneema and surgical tubing inside - too stretchy. I might convert it into a wing leash, seems like the stretch profile will be nice for that.

I made a new one, this time using 4mm Polyurethane cord stock snaked through the inside of 5/32" dyneema. (Polyurethane is the same thing normal leashes are made out of, just usually thicker than 4mm) I set it up for about 25% total stretch before the dyneema bottoms out. I got it out in big overhead swell with my 8’ standup downwind foil board yesterday and the pull is a lot smoother when the board gets taken by a wave. It is pretty lightweight and just stiff enough not to get tangled. Time will tell, but I think this is the formula.

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That looks very good. What is the advantage of the PU inner over a regular wing leash? I’ve been meaning to try mine but at 4.5ft it is probably too short.