Surfers will opt to place their longboard leash just below the knee. This helps to stop the leash from tangling while you walk and surf and is more comfortable than placing your leash around your ankle.
Where you decide to place your longboard leash is called cuff style, this option is only available to longboarders due to some reasons we’ll look at now.
So, longboard leash, knee or ankle, we break down all the pros and cons and let you decide.
Reasons to use a knee leash or calf leash
Placing the cuff of your leash around your upper calf provides a much sturdier anchor than your ankle. Due to the extra muscle and your calf’s thicker bone compared to your ankle, you’re less likely to injure yourself.
Due to the size and weight of longboards, this becomes even more of a concern. That’s why getting a sturdy, high-quality knee leash is really important.
Not only that but it can help with your performance on the board. Cross stepping is when a surfer moves up and down the deck of a surfboard by crossing each leg across the other.
Attaching your leash to your knee allows free easy movement as you step over each leg, an ankle leash can get in the way while cross-stepping leading to standing on your leash or tripping mid-step.
Check out the video below to learn more about cross-stepping on a longboard:
Part of progressing onto more challenging surf tricks on your longboard involves putting your toes at the nose of the surfboard, often referred to as noseriding, hanging ten (both feet) or hanging five (one foot).
Moving back from the noseriding position can be much harder with a leash attached to your ankle. Much like cross-stepping, you run the risk of standing on your leash as you step backwards or the leash getting tangled around your ankles.
Reasons to use an ankle leash
It’s hard to find many redeeming features for ankle leashes while longboarding.
From personal experience, the biggest issue I have with knee leashes is simply that you tend to surprise yourself with the speed and power your board returns with when you pull your leash taught.
I’ve had to put my hand in front of my face to avoid a nasty black eye, especially if you’re switching over from a shortboard after any length of time.
If you’re new to using a knee leash you might find that it rubs the back of your legs initially.
You can use vaseline to help avoid chafing and rubbing for your first few surfs.
Can you wear a calf leash on your ankle?
Yes, in most cases you’ll be able to use a calf or knee leash on your ankle. You might have some spare velcro hanging out the side of your ankle but it will definitely work.
Can you wear an ankle leash on your knee or calf?
No, unless you have incredibly small calves you won’t be able to fit an ankle leash any further up your leg.
Can I longboard without a leash?
While you can longboard without a leash you should always wear one to ensure the safety of other surfers and beach users.
Is a knee leash and calf leash the same thing?
Yes, a knee leash and calf leash are two ways of referring to the same thing. The name used will depend on your surf community and the surfing terms and phrases they use.