paddle leash

OK, so I am new to kayaking, but recently thought hmmmm a paddle leash might be a good idea but then I thought, ok, so one end goes on the paddle, and the other end??? Does it go on the boat? On my wrist?


– Last Updated: Jul-11-16 12:40 AM EST –

I mostly see it attached to the boat but I don't use one myself and don't know anyone personally that uses one so I'll let somebody else chime in. I don't use one because it just would get in the way when doing rolls, re-entries, bow-rudders, etc.

Paddle leash
May be OK if you are surfing or fighting a fish, otherwise a PITA…

The boat
They typically attach to the boat. You can usually find a seat strap, or fitting that they can clip on to.

“Serious” kayakers tend to shun them due to the risk of entanglement, but recreational boaters find them useful to hold a paddle while they have lunch, take photos, etc.

Shock cord
REI… ? 1/8" 3/16" …

special knots recommended check online

when you’re not as experienced, dropping the paddle using 2 hands for a task … grabbing a branch before going over the falls… a leash is uh handy …also good for egress during landings.

If no place on hull for tie down try a nylon loop with 2 mountingmounting screw. Uholes …Use stainless screws n nuts, fiber washers. Locktite on nuts/screws.

Yes, can be either
I personally hate the added sound of one of those telephone cord paddle leashes whacking against my boat every stroke, the usual kind that people get to attach paddle to boat. I keep a rolled up leash that can loop quickly around my paddle if I am in stuff where I feel I need it on the paddle. Having a foam core carbon paddle tens to increase the interest in being able to hang onto it, at nearly $500 full price these days.

But that said, I don’t think I have unrolled it in a few years now. Over time just practicing capsizing and staying with boat and paddle produces similar benefits to a leash.

Some prefer having to paddle tethered to the boat so it’ll keep you with the boat. If you cultivate keeping one leg in the boat no matter what, and/or start to learn a roll which creates the habit of fully staying in the boat at first, it’ll take some mean stuff to separate you from the boat.

works for me

– Last Updated: Jul-11-16 3:17 PM EST –

I started using a kind of leash to tether my paddles to the boat. I use the little bungee leashes they give you at casinos for attaching to your players card. Just clip it to a bungee in front of the cockpit. It would most likely snap in violent conditions, but it's a little security thingy and I've got a ton of these things--gotta do something with them.

I use one for my kid’s canoe paddle, and clip it to the boat. I debated attaching it to her, but decided that would make it more likely for her to get tangled up with it in a capsize. Some risk of that either way, so I always keep a knife handy.

I use one.

The simple bungy instead of the coiled version is much lighter. It doesn’t effect my rolling or turning strokes. I would say, without a doubt, it is a case of less is more. I find the simple bungy version superior.

I attach mine to myself. A friend of mine attaches his to his kayak. I do see the value in attaching it to the kayak. In a capsize, you’re supposed to hold onto the paddle and the kayak. But being around other paddlers, and in my years of kayaking, it’s not terribly unusual to see someone lose hold of their kayak in the process, and I know my hand slips off of the kayak on occasion. It isn’t always about knowing better. It’s just popping your skirt, pushing yourself out, needing to get a breath, all while never losing hold of your kayak and paddle. It’s one of those things that you could get right every single time for 15 years, and then one day, for who knows what reason…

I find it very convenient in rescue scenarios. Rescue scenarios seem to be a prime place for someone’s paddle to get away. You’re supposed to secure your paddle, and the swimmer’s, under your bungees.

In a bigger surf launch or landing, I’ll disconnect it and wind it around the shaft until I’m through.

boat attachment
In my particular case, I attached the paddle to the boat when I was doing some water sampling for our local Waterkeeper. I needed both hands free and had a bunch of gear for the water sampling. There wasn’t much of anyplace to stick the paddle with all that gear, So having the paddle floating alongside the kayak was perfect.

Other than that I don’t use a leash and try to keep track of boat and paddle upon capsize / wet exit. Holding onto the kayak is the most crucial task and I do have a spare paddle.

I make my own …
as what I make form scrap materials are often better than anything I can buy.

Attach them to the boat as when you set your paddle down for a drink or picture, and it goes overboard, it is easily recovered.

If I do a wet-exit, instinct is to do a DEATH_GRIP on whatever is in my hand, paddle, so I can pull myself back to my boat.

the secret is to have one not too long or not too short.

Mine is attached to the boat.
I added it after capsizing and losing my grip on the paddle, which was headed downstream and, fortunately, got hung up in some brush.

How do you determine length?
I gathered up some spare bungee cord and a velcro band and can make just about an exact duplicate of that North Water leash, but have no idea how long/short the bungee should be.

Me too
And I use it religiously.

You know the expression, “Up the creek without a paddle”? Well there’s a very good reason behind that one!

Just drop it in the water once and you’ll find out how valuable a leash can be, and I’ve seen that several times, plus it’s no bother at all.

Not that critical

– Last Updated: Jul-12-16 4:12 PM EST –

I don't think the length is that critical.

You want it as short as possible as the shorter it is the less entanglement risk there is, but 1) you want it long enough so you can paddle with it attached and be totally unimpeded by it, and 2) you want it long enough so that the paddle reaches the water without any stretching of the bungee.

My wife and I have the Harmony leashes...

I'll measure one today and get back to you.

(To be honest we hardly ever use them but they stow out of the way fairly well and don't get in the way).

Update: The Harmony leashes measure about 42" unstretched. I never paddle with mine - it's typically rolled up under my seat pan - but my wife will with hers especially if we run into some rough water.

Don’t plan to paddle with it, but might be nice to have it handy for snack stops/photo ops on the water. I carry a spare paddle on the bow, so space is tight.

2’ 5"
Just measured mine. They have 2’ 5" of bungee between the attachments. So probably 2’ 6" with a knot on the end to attach the clip. Always seems a good length to me. Not too short. Not much excess.

you clip0 one end of the leash to a convenient pad-eye where you will feel comfortable. I like the center of the front of my cockpit.

loosely wrap the leash around the center of your paddle so it is taught, then pretend to paddle using the same motions and positio9n.

Allow the leash to pull free until it is only a bit saggy at your fullest pull. That is your length.

Too short and you are fighting the boat every time you stroke.

Too loose and the leash is wrapping around your feet and whatever is in your cockpit.

Properly sized, a paddle leash is safe.

I have lost my boat
because I listened to the no-leash people. I did a wet-entry, had a death-grip on my paddle and watched the wind push my kayak across the lake faster than I could swim.

I have also had people complain about how dangerous a leash was, then lost their paddle when they took a pic or drink and had to beg me to chase their paddle down and recover it for them.

Sounds like a plan
Cool. The bungee cord I have already has a clip attached to it (can’t recall what it came with) so I’ll start with 2’6". Need to cut the velcro arm band I’ve never used, then five minutes to sew it where the bungee will thread, and I’m good to go. Compact and easy to access when needed.

Should also be helpful when I’m doing the dance of three paddles when switching to my Lumpy and breaking down my Cyprus.