The Inertia Gear Editor
The Inglorious But Important History of the Surf Leash

Surf leashes are a controversial topic – do you wear one? Photo courtesy Encyclopedia of Surfing

The Inertia

Welcome to Episode 1 of Split Peak. This is a special edition of The Inertia Podcast, and the first in a series of debates where we take on some of surfing’s most controversial topics and host a back and forth to shed more light on the subject. In this episode, I sit down with my colleague, The Inertia’s social media editor Juan Hernandez, to chat about leashless surfing – its pros, its cons, when we’re justified in riding sans leash, or if we ever are.

Juan and I are coming at the problem from different backgrounds and with different points of view. Juan lives in Southern California, where he sees a decent amount of leashless mayhem going on in the water at breaks like First Point, Malibu. He wrote an article a couple of years ago addressing the legal side of surfing leashless, where he came to the conclusion that although you might not be legally liable for the damage your leashless surfboard could cause, you’re just a bit of an asshole if you choose to surf without an ankle chord.

I on the other hand live in Northern California, where I mostly surf at a Bay Area break with small waves, plenty of leashless surfing, but a lot less mayhem. And I’ve also written an article on the subject defending leashless surfing. Basically, in my view, when done correctly and in the right conditions such as in uncrowded, small waves, it’s a lot less dumb than it’s made out to be.

And while we came into the entire debate hackles up and ready for a fight, we ended up agreeing a lot more than we thought we would. Give ‘er a listen and feel free to leave your thoughts below.


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