TO LEASH OR NOT TO LEASH!
Do you need or want a leash for your kiteboard? Depending on your style, kiting location and skill level will help determine if you should be leashing up to your kiteboard or not. Let’s first consider these facts before doing so by looking at the Pros and Cons of it all.
I’ll start by answering this question for the beginner kiteboarders and let me just be frank...NO, do not use a leash! Many beginners think that they should be using a leash to connect themselves to their kiteboard while learning in order to help retrieve their kiteboard after falling. If you are properly trained with good kitesurf lessons then you should already be great at body dragging upwind to retrieve your kiteboard and get back up and riding without the use of a leash. As you should know, there is already a lot going on with kiteboarding as it is, such as the bar and lines and the safety leash you need to wear. Attaching an additional leash to yourself will only increase the chance of more problems, tangles and injury.
Remember, when you fall or are getting dragged from a wipeout, that kiteboard is trailing right behind you either flying through the air with you, dragging on top of the water or being pulled underneath the water.
Notice this Kiter above is not even wearing a helmet or impact vest. Getting hit in the head, face or body by a kiteboard can really hurt and/or do even more serious damage resulting in a trip to the ER! Not just that, but a leash can easily get wrapped around your legs, arms, neck or even your bar and lines.
For the reasons stated above for beginners, I recommend to NOT wear a leash and hopefully you are learning in FLAT WATER making it much easier for you to body drag back to your board. As a final note for beginners, leash or no leash, protect yourself by wearing a helmet and impact vest.
However, some experienced Kiters prefer a leash because perhaps they are kiting strapless on a surfboard in the surf. When they incur a wipeout, the waves can easily carry their board to shore far away from them. Also, some kiting spots have shallow reefs or strong rip currents where leashes can be very beneficial to experienced Kiters. But the same goes for them too as a board leash can still be very hazardous as well.
Here are some of the worst case Kite Leash Kitemare Testimonials from Kiters.
(Caution: Some images may be graphic)
As a safer alternative to using a leash, especially for beginners, you can look into using the GO-JOE Leashless Board Recovery Tool.
Remember, Kiteboarding is an extreme sport so always perform routine safety checks on your gear and be very aware of any potential dangerous kiteboarding spots. Talk to the locals, get the scoop on the area and what size kites and type of gear are being used there.
Stay safe my friends!