I'm being bombarded with tons of "Hey, I've been snapping leashes too!" emails and, "Yeah, which paddles do have a reputation for being tough?" The people want to know, there is interest!
The next paddle that I pick up will have as long a warranty period as I can find. I just have this nagging feeling in the back of my mind that I'll snap any paddle within a year. It'd be nice to compile some paddle data over the course of one year. I'd like to determine which paddles make it a year and which are failing. Kind of a "Consumer Reports" style investigation. There's a lot of people who read this site, drop me an email about your paddle and how it's performed, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Want more info? Check out the paddle piece Nate wrote up at SUPsurfmag.com for some solid paddle data.
A couple of ways to extend the life of your leash. Kelly sent me these tips for keeping your leash alive, they sounded good to me so I thought I'd pass them on:
"One important thing though is bailing technique, especially when you are simply caught inside and have some control over the situation. You have to line up your body so that it will drag through the water cleanly. Leaving your self sideways (perpendicular to the wave direction) and thus resisting the flow puts greater strain on the leash. I have also heard suggestions that you should get the slack out the leash before the wave hits so that the pressure won’t be so sudden. Do this by pushing your board away or diving deep. One of the worst possible leash strains is probably that more unique to SU situation where you jump over the back and the board gets caught by the wave. Your body is penetrating into the less active part of the wave and not flowing at all shoreward while the board is getting suddenly yanked by the wave. That was how I broke my not very thick 10’ leash that first big day."
Kelly makes a good point earlier in the note too, he writes, "With boards that are in the 20 - 25lb range and lots of buoyancy, breaks are to be expected". I have to agree, we're asking leashes to do a job they weren't really designed to do. But, from examining where my leashes have failed, I think they can be improved considerably.
So answer this question for me: If you've had a leash break, where exactly has it broken? Did your leash actually snap the cord in half, a clean cut? Or did your leash pop off of the cuff where it's melted/glued into the cuff "plug"? Did a swivel fail? I'm trying to compile some data here so I'm going to continue to ask for feed back. Hook me up. Tell me exactly where it broke!
In the words of the infamous Dennis Dragon, "Cords were useless, they snapped like peanut brittle!"