A kiteboard leash is a any tether which connects a kiteboarder or kitesurfer to his or her kiteboard, not to be confused with a kite leash which is an essential piece of kiteboarding safety equipment. The idea behind the kiteboard leash to help the kiteboarder not loose the board when the two become separated. The problem lies in the safety of this devise, and what can happen when things go wrong.
Firstly, learning to retrieve your board when fall off of it is a step in the learning process that comes before learning to ride a kiteboard. The kiteboard retrieval process we can refer to as upwind body dragging or directional body dragging. If you can't confidently body drag back to your board every time, you are not ready to try to ride it. Perfect example imagine driving a car for the first time on a busy city freeway during rush hour. Hmm, not how you learned how to drive, me either. Most of us went to driving classes or with parents and learned to drive in a parking lot. Keep in mind that sooner or later your kiteboard leash will break, if it doesn't break you first. When it does, how are you going to get back to your board??? Before becoming a kiteboarder the savey individual will be a expert kiteboard retriever. Safe and Independent, please.
Second point is that kiteboard leashes are dangerous. Try a internet search for the following; kiteboarding kitesurfing board leash accident kitemare. Dig around a bit and you will come up with some horrible stories and often graphic pictures of kiteboard leash carnage. I often hear people say in the same thought that they wear a leash, but they also wear a helmet. The truth is that a helmet will not protect your face, will not prevent the leash/board from tangling in your flylines and a host of other mishaps and well documented tragedies. Fact, body dragging to retrieve a board is easy, most of my students learn the technique in 20 minutes or less.
Last point is the economics. I hate that I have to use this argument but too many people think that an accident won't happen to them and thus ignore the safety argument. OK the idea behind a board leash is to prevent one from losing a kiteboard. As production boards cost anywhere from $500-$900 new, and custom boards even more, it is a reasonable concern. However buying a $79 dollar line-tangling-head-trama-cord is not the answer. If you found some stories about kiteboard leash accidents you know that many of these ended up in hospital visits. So the economics finally comes into play. Buy a new board vs. trip to the hospital. I think that one trip to the hospital would cover the cost of many new boards. Hey why not buy a cheap used board, if your upwind body dragging isn't dialed in and yet you insist on riding a kiteboard.
Other than the safe and independent thing, and the dangers of sever injury or even death thing (yes there have been leash related deaths), and, oh yah and the economic thing,.... I really can't think of any other reasons not to wear a kiteboard leash. Oh wait - they look dorky, people will think you are a kook, chicks hate them, your mom wouldn't approve and your family deserves to have you come home in one piece. Sure you will see plenty of good riders wearing kiteboard leashes. And some pro kitesurfers wear them.... in triple over head reef breaks with nasty-rocky shore lines. That does not mean it is a good idea for you to wear one.
If you still insist, do a internet search for "safe alternative to the board leash" you will find a product that is FAR safer.
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