Because all beginners should be wearing a leash, going leashless gives a surfer more credibility in the line-up. It is a statement that says, “I am a good surfer, so don’t drop in on me.”
It is more difficult to hang ten with a leash dangling off your ankle. A leash also causes drag in the water, and sometimes it gets caught up in your feet. But not wearing a leash means that you can lose your board and have to swim for it.
Jason M., 43, who lives in Pacific Beach and is a regular surfer at Tourmaline Surfing Park, gives this advice: “If it is high tide and there is a wind on the water, wear a leash.” If you lose your board on a wave it is more likely that a board will surf itself all the way back to the shore. Epoxy boards are more likely to make it all the way to the shore before a surfer can catch it. They are light, and when there is no one on them, they are likely to catch the first wave in.
On big days almost everyone wears a leash. There are a few that will never wear a leash. I have never seen Skip Frye wear a leash. But if his board ends up on the rocks he can make himself a new board.
Joe Enge, also a regular surfer at Tourmaline, cautions, “Too often surfers rely on the leash to not hit another surfer, but they misjudge the length of the leash and still hit someone.”