Straight or Coil Leash for SUP?

In Equipment, General by Daniel

Share this Post

Straight or Coil Leash for SUP?

When you first start in SUP...

Picking out the correct equipment can be confusing.

In the past, we covered the big choices such as inflatables v. hardboards, or if carbon fiber paddles are worth the extra money...

This week, we're going to quickly cover one of the minor purchases you have to make when you first purchase a board...

But a decision that is ultimately just as important...

Whether to buy and use a coil leash or a straight leash.

Let's get into it, starting first with a coil leash.


This type of leash is perfect for flatwater paddling, river paddling, and racing.

The coil keeps the leash out of the water and prevents it from dragging behind your board when you're trying to paddle distance or go for the win.

This reduces resistance and will also prevent you from snagging your leash on any debris - rocks, trees, sticks, etc.

And since it acts like a spring, when you fall, the board will quickly rebound back to you helping you to recover and remount faster - very important when racing.

Purchase a coil leash if you:

Paddle flatwater
Paddle rivers
SUP race


Use a straight leash when surfing.

What is considered a pro for the coil leash - spring back, not dragging in the water, is actually a negative when in the surf.

And a dangerous one at that too.

When surfing, it is important to always know where your board is when you fall. SUP surf boards are big and heavy and can cause serious injury if they were to hit you in the surf.

If you use a coil leash in the surf, the board stays closer to you and can rebound back into your body.

And coil leashes tend to tangle very quickly in the surf, making for an extra chore when you head back to your vehicle.

Purchase a straight leash if you:



A little curveball here...

There are leashes out there that have a small section of coil to keep it out of the water without the rebound action of a full coil leash.

These can be a great alternative if you don't want to purchase two different leashes for each activity.

Purchase a hybrid leash if you:

Plan on participating in SUP surfing, racing, and flatwater paddling and only want to purchase one leash

Quick Release or Break Away Leashes

This type of leash can be straight or coiled...

But its primary feature comes in the form of an attachment that allows the user to quickly detach the leash in certain situations - especially in emergencies.

In some instances, when paddling white water or tough conditions, your leash can get snagged on a rock, tree, or other debris and can cause you to be trapped.

If this is the case, your best bet is to detach yourself from your board, inflate your PFD and get to safety.

Purchase a quick-release leash if you:

Plan on paddling white water, rivers, and in other extreme conditions

Goofy Footed or Regular Foot

Our last tip on leashes has to do with your preferred or comfortable stance on the board...

Especially when surfing.

In a surfing position where one foot is in front of the other, either you feel comfortable with your right foot forward or your left.

If you prefer your right food, then you are what is called "goofy foot." If you like your left foot forward, you're "regular foot."

Whichever you are, always put your leash on the ankle that is towards the back of the board.

This will allow you to easily maneuver on the board without tripping over your leash.


That was a lot of information on something that seems so insignificant.

But as you can see -

Leashes are an integral part of SUP and your safety. Don't ever paddle without one!


Now let's get to this week's technique video featuring...

Olympic Gold Medalist Larry Cane!

In it, he discusses the 5 Fundamentals of SUP Technique that every paddler should know.

Click below to check it out!

Have a question about a part of SUP you'd like to know more about? Let us know!

Drop an email with your questions - we're more than happy to answer them!

-The Perfect Paddles Team

P.S. Interested in becoming a member? You should be! Join today and experience these benefits:

  • Discounts on trips around the world
  • Discounts on local paddling activities in your hometown
  • Discounts on the best SUP gear on the market
  • A community of paddlers eager to connect and have fun

Join today!

About the Author


Daniel is a travelling author with a passion for exploring new waterways and sharing his experiences with the world.

Share this Post