Paddle Leash advice

Which is why…
…I said…“weasel” enough that if you need to make it go away you can do so"

paddle leash important!
Some excellent post and I’ve noticed that those who can roll are the first ones to dump the paddle leash as they come up from a capsize with paddle in hand. But those who cannot will find it’s very automatic in cold water to let go of the paddle and try to get up to the surface FAST so you unconsciously let go of the paddle to assist yourself. So if you read this post and think “I don’t want to fool with a leash” I’d advise otherwise. The more of a beginner you are-the more you need it. And from personal experience I learned that it’s a must while fishing since as others noted you have your hands full with other toys. I hooked into a nice bass one day and went to grab the paddle and it was 100 feet away! I use a Northwater bungie style and agree the coils stink on decked kayaks but maybe they work on SOT

Paddle leash for beginners?
I’m not sure I agree about beginners needing a paddle leash.

Personally, rolling or not rolling, I use my paddle in extended positions quite a lot and found a leash a total nuisance but mainly I always thought of it as a potential danger in case of a wet exit, especially for beginners.

Totally agree about beginners giving up on a paddle as soon as they capsize but what about a spare paddle? Don’t we all carry one on deck?

paddle leash ?
i’ve been kayaking for 40 years. i’ve paddled in calm water, i’ve paddled in rough water, i’ve paddled in crashing waves over my head, i’ve come out of my boat more than once, i’ve eaten lunch in my boat, i’ve taken pictures in my boat. and i’ve NEVER … that’s right, not once, lost my paddle or felt the need for a leash.

i was taught by some very good paddlers, that a paddle leash is an opportunity to get yourself tangled up and can be dangerous should you come out of your boat.

Rolling not the key point
The thing that causes a paddler to change their mind about paddle leashes isn’t rolling itself. It’s that performing/practicing rolls is often the first time someone will be upside down in more real conditions, when the paddle leash will behave more as it would in a real capsize. Prior to that moment, they have often only been upside in controlled conditions to practice wet exits or a paddle-float recovery.

I agree that, for anyone paddling alone, hanging onto the boat takes some real attention at first. If paddling with friends, you can usually figure they’ll get the boat. But it’s a habit that really needs to be acquired.

Personally, the closest I’ve come to being trapped by a line of any kind was a dratted footpeg cable/line in the cockpit of a ruddered boat. I had slipped off the peg trying to bring this behemoth of a boat up for a roll and had to come back up under the forward deck and feel around a bit to figure out how to get my foot out of the darned thing. (One other reason I really dislike a lot of rudder systems.) It was no big deal at the point that it happened to me this last summer, but if it had been two or three years ago when I was more of a beginner that minor catch could have sent me into full blown fatal panic. A small hangup with a paddle leash could have produced the same panic.

The hystrionics a simple cord can…
introduce to kayaking are astounding.

Augustus Dogmaticus


But still nothing compared to the fun
you can have arguing about whether a small chunk of sheetmetal ought to pivot or not.

Inexpensive Leash
A couple of years ago, I bought bungee-type leashes for my wife and myself from Coastal Expeditions (CE) in Charleston, SC (at that time, CE had them custom made). I paid $5 each, plus a few pennies (remember pennies?) for shipping. We have found them to be quite satisfactory.