paddle leash

Just wondering if anyone can recommend a particular paddle leash.

I would just use it when it gets too windy or the conditions get rough.

It would be helpful if I had to do a self rescue, & I would not loose my paddle due to the current or wind.


Robert G

north water bungy paddle leash

Or something like it. The thing I look for is simple and lightweight. The fancier looking ones that look like webbing straps or the coiled ones all weigh several ounces more, and are more expensive. In the end saving a few ounces makes the most sense to me.

I use
the coiled type.The only ones I would avoid are the cloth type since they will get in the way of things.

DIY easy
Easy to make your own from an old phone charger cord and a unitie or any other of the many designs you can find online.

But it really is useful!

Had a funny situation a couple of years ago when another paddler asked me paddling in a harbor why I bothered with a leash and a spare paddle. Within a second he had accidentally hit his paddle on a guy wire over his head, it was wrenched out of his hands and fell out of his reach! I looked a him and laughed and said, “That’s why!” Then I paddled over to help him out.

Yes, get or make a leash.

Stopped using them
when I had to wet exit and got my ankle wrapped around it. Not a good feeling. Now if it gets away from me (hasn’t happened yet) I just grab my spare.

paddle leash

– Last Updated: Aug-26-13 2:08 PM EST –

If you train your paddle properly you can let it off leash!

Was in a flippant mood when posted above-here is a more thoughtful post to the need and use of paddle leashes.

The beginner kayaker goes to the kayak shop and is sold a leash, paddle float, pump, deck bag, roof rack, bottle of 303 and anything else they can talk a nubee into-$$$$.

At least 95% of the new paddlers will never use those things, other than making their kayak slightly less stable by all they stuff into the deck bag. They would be far safer if they just wore the life jacket instead of fixing it under the rear bungees. They will also have paddle clearance issues from the height added by the stuffed deck bag affixed on the already too high deck of the beginner kayak.

The kayaker who decides to progress into rougher water soon buys a longer and narrower kayak, always wears their life jacket and skirt and learns to do a wet exit. They are the ones who may need the paddle float, pump, etc.

A leash is a potential entrapment hazard that is most appropriate on long solo paddles (still bring a spare paddle) or on multi-day trips. Fellow kayakers in a group will loan you one of their spare paddles if you temporarily "loose" yours while learning to hold onto it. You can slip the paddle under a bungee when you need to stop to light a cigar.

The most experienced paddlers learn to roll their kayak as their primary recovery technique and back that up with a reentry and roll technique. Paddle floats and pumps still commonly carried but not usually used as the other methods are quicker and more reliable when learned and practiced. On a group paddle in rougher water, the most common rescue is usually the "T" rescue. Rescuer empties the kayak upside down over the deck of their kayak, rights the empty kayak and hold it so the paddler can reenter their almost dry kayak.


I have mine

– Last Updated: Aug-22-13 10:01 AM EST –

trained to return to whistle commands, like a falcon. Sometimes I have to put its jesses on though.

When seakayaking they are very good things to have when paddling solo, or with a group especially in windy conditions, and if there are big waves where you need to keep a grip on things. It could even be a lifeline in high wind/wave conditions where your boat has a good chance to blow away from you if you should happen to come out of it.

I use the cordura nylon covered bungee type. It stays mostly out of the way. I put excess length under the skirt grab loop that I tuck under the forward deck bungee (it doesn't interfere with grab loop access to tuck it under the deck bungee, and in a situation where I needed it the paddle leash would easily pull it loose anyway. They will force more water coming through a nylon/urethane coated spray skirt though from constant rubbing across it.

I would not use one in WW because of the possibility of entanglement or structure entrapment.

nice to have in strong winds
almost never use a paddle leash but on a few 20kt wind days where the wind can grab your paddle hard it’s nice to have. Otherwise a handy spare paddle is a better backup option. My leash is a simple cloth cord with a loop around the paddle and a clip to put on my deck bungee.

leash type
I had a coiled leash but got rid of it, it was too heavy and made lots of noise when banging on the deck.

The Northwater leash linked by Capefear is a good one, although I prefer regular cord to bungee. The Scotty clip is wimpy enough that if you give it a good tug it will release, an important ability. I use these clips to tether water bottles for the same reason. The Velcro at the paddle shaft is an easy-off too.

I have a Lendal leash, with a fancy quick-release gizmo, but is probably overkill - it lives in my pfd and only comes out if I want to leash my paddle and lay it in the water. On windy days I use a GP.

I believe that if you’re going to have tethered gear on a kayak, you should carry a knife on your pfd for possible entanglement issues.

I’ve never found one…
that was worth the money.

So I made my own!

Some hollow webbing, some bungie, a carabiner at one end and webbing & velcro at the other and I have one that is better than anything on the market.

wrist leash if at all

– Last Updated: Aug-23-13 9:54 AM EST –

Coils around the shaft to stay out of the way. Good thing
- l haven't uncoiled it in 3 years...

Later add -
Agree with below - it is for helping to hang onto a paddle doing an assisted, not a self-rescue. Learn to hang onto that paddle no matter what in a capsize. But even doing an assisted, a floating paddle can get in the way.

Depends on SINK or SOT
Are you using an SOT, then a coiled leash attached to the bow handle, stays out of the way. Look on the website for two models that work well.

If you are using a SINK I would go with just a wrist leash as a leash attached to deck rigging can cause complication issues during a wet exit in rough water.

The major reason for a paddle leash
is to have a way to secure your paddle when you are rescuing someone else. But there are better and safer ways to do that. The most sensible way to proceed is to always carry a spare paddle. Then install a paddle keep so you can secure your paddle without line. There are lots of ways to do that. Just Google. What is worth more? Your life or your paddle?

A light weight coiled
paddle leash does not make noise, and you can break it in a heart beat if you need to.

It’s useful to quickly put your paddle down quietly to take a photograph, or just to set the paddle to the side to enter or exit the kayak.

Just my .02…


NRS Coil Paddle Leash

– Last Updated: Aug-22-13 10:13 PM EST –

I use this one:

I have had too many trees try to steal my paddle...

I attach to my wrist where it stays out of my way -- nice and comfortable.

The zipper bag it comes in is actually very nice and useable.

I use one for all my paddles
Every time my wife and I get new club cards at the casino, they give us a new bungee leash with the card. I’ve got a bunch of them and they do the job perfectly; they weigh practically nothing, they come with a clip on one end for the deck bungee and the little plasic thingy on the other end makes it easy to create a double loop for the shaft. And if something weird happens I don’t worry about getting tangled up in it–it would be easy to break. My primary purpose for it is to keep the paddle from getting away when I’m getting in, or out of the kayak, which is always done in the water.