Preferred paddle leash

Any suggestions on this? Thanks!


– Last Updated: Jun-07-11 5:01 PM EST –

Carry two paddles. If one gets away from you, grab the other. Seriously; one paddle can have significantly less surface area. If the wind and current get strong, you have another cadence to use.

Wrist if at all
It hasn’t gotten unwrapped from my paddle in quite a while, but it’s still there. Use for touring. NO leash for white stuff - hang on to gear or consider it may have been donated.

They’re ridiculously easy and cheap to make and fully functional. This is NOT rocket science. Check out a few of the YouTube vids on how to do this.

I took an old cellphone charger cord, a carabiner clip, and a velcro strap and made the whole thing up in a few minutes. Works like a charm, wet or dry.

Why pay $15-20 for that?

light and simple
I’ve seen some that weigh 5+ ounces, and people will pay a couple hundred dollars to drop 5 ounces in a paddle. The telephone cord style are particularly heavy, and the ones with fabric sewn onto a bungee too. The good thing with these is the lighter ones usually cost less.

None - again.
They are a PITA to deal with and an entrapment hazard in a spill.

first it was all about
the paddle leash…now they don’t want you to use one. I use one only if it’s windy and i want hands free for pictures or eating lunch on open water. Other than that it’s in my day hatch. But just wondered why they experts are saying NO to the leash. I see a lot of old school paddlers still using them. Is it a safety issue?

yep, many views on this…
I don’t generally use one, but I know some BCU 5* coaches that do. I can see it handy if you do have reason to put your paddle down a lot in rough conditions, though normally I can tuck it under some deck lines and be pretty secure. I’ve never let a paddle go even when being tumbled in big surf, but I can see how one bad moment in 30kt winds could send it flying so that’s the condition I would most likely use one. I do own a very simple, light weight cord version that has a loop on one end for the paddle and a simple clip on the other for the deck lines. I don’t see it as major hazard when used outside the surf zone. I do always carry a spare on deck so mostly I don’t worry about leash.

paddle leash
If you train your paddle you can let it off leash.


Ha Ha Ha
Love that…here boy.Sit.Stay!!!

Telephone-type cord
I only take a spare paddle for touring. If you’re kayaking alone it really wouldn’t be good to lose your paddle, and it’s easy to do—a second of inattention and the paddle is gone. I’ve used different leashes and prefer one with a telephone-type cord so it’s out of the way. I clip it to the deck line, not my wrist.

The Lendahl paddle leash has a nice quick release feature (the ball and elastic bit). I have one but rarely use it, and it was too expensive. I would make my own if I wanted another.


– Last Updated: Jun-09-11 6:22 AM EST –

I can't say that anyone we have ever worked with recommended a paddle leash, since we started. We got the usual telephone cord thing because it came in the package with the other starter stuff, at least for a bit, and frankly I was happy to lose it. Noisy as hell, banging away at the deck.

The wrist one I have is a good solution for dropping a paddle if you want to take pics or in some situations help in a rescue and it'd be inconvenient to stick it under your body or deck bungies. Unwrap it, let it drop, wrap it up around the shaft again and you are on your way. They were being made by a couple in their kitchen and sold from a few paddle shops. I have no idea if they are still available, but I can show you mine when we next paddle together. I suspect it'd be pretty easy for you to make one up for yourself.

That said, I can't remember the last time I actually used it, as in unwrapping it from the shaft.

Dont work so well on my GP
We have Northwater and NRS -bungee and coil and don’t care for either but use them when our kids and their friends join us paddling. When they swim off their boats in the lake, we get them to attach the leash to their paddles and boat so we don’t lose them - they work great for that. (short sit on tops dont have alot of places to slip them under bungees)

I use one most of the time…
I have one from LL Bean, The “sportsmans” paddle leash. It just has 1/8" shock cord and quite a bit of it, so it stays out of the way. I clip to my PFD normally since it has a D ring on it. I like to sight see, take pictures and fish out of my kayak, so its worth it to me.

Just one more thing you can get tangled around in the event of a wet exit. If you know what to do in the event of a capsize you really should not need one.

Entanglement hazard. Tuck your paddle under deckline and/or bungie. If you’re worried about losing/breaking a paddle, carry a second.

Same here - wouldn’t ever use one because it’s an entanglement hazard.

But if you do use one, carry a knife or rescue hook on your pfd in case you need to cut it. Anytime you play with cordage near water, you should have the ability to cut it readily at hand.

Depends On The Venue…
big wave surf kayaking - homemade leash of 12" attached from paddle to wrist. BIG dumping wave lip can strip the paddle out of one’s hands, or leverage the paddle blades to suck you right out of the kayak as you hang onto the paddle. With a leash, you can actually let go with one hand if the dynamics of the wave is strong and let the paddle find the way of least resistance. I have had the paddle stripped while upside down. When the resistance dissipated, I gave a quick tug on the short leash, popped the paddle back into the hand and rolled back up. Worse case (winter surfing) scenario, you get sucked out of the boat and are in for a long swim in. Better actually to hang onto the paddle and use that to help swim and/or body surf back in. Hanging onto the finned surf kayak, have gotten me cut up in the impact zone.

Waveskiing - Use standard coiled leash which attaches paddle to the footstrap area of the ski. In the cases where I have to bail. I let go of the paddle and let the leash do it’s thing, while I hang onto the much stronger waveski belt and footstrap. In between waves, I climb back on an rebelt myself to the ski, then tug the leash to get the paddle back. Again, the premise for me is that a long (solo) swim in winter winter is more dangerous to me that a potential “entrapment” scenario with a leash (especailly if one doesn’t panic upside down and know where the leash is relative to one’s body). Everything has a trade-off.

More pedestrian scenario - fishing on my SOT, I use a standard coil leash which is attached to a strap on the side of my SOT. I drop the paddle in the water next to the SOT while I focus on fishing (line on the opposite side of SOT from the paddle). I don’t want the paddle in the cockpit, getting in the way of the rod or tangling with my fishing line (especially with coil fly line). If a see a situation developing that requires me to have my paddle (like a big ferry wake coming at me), I drop the fishing rod into the cockpit, grab my paddle to swing into correct position and/or brace for a wave. This last use probably works with camera buff types as well.


I have made many
wet exits… all unintentionally.

And I have NEVER benentangled in my leash.

BUT, I clip my leash tothe boat so when I do fall out, my death-grip on the paddle which is leashed tothe kayak prevents the kayak from drifting away faster than you can swim.