WaveSki Leash

Leash from ski to paddle and hang onto paddle when I get dumped. Or from ski to ankle, as with the boardies?

Going out this weekend with the waveski for the first time in small waist high waves. I expect to dump (unless rolling a waveski proves much easier than I am anticipating) and don’t want my ski to run away, either hitting someone or crashing and dinging on rocks.


limited experience
I have had a waveski for 6 months and have found it harder to roll than kayak but not impossible. I bought an ankle surfboard style leash but have not used it yet (wish I had a few weeks ago: resulted in swim in surf. Interestingly big lady on beach who saw me drag myself out of ocean said “that looks like fun”, made me think of you.)

I found a copy of an old how to waveski book that recomended paddle leash. When playing with ankle leash it seemed that there would be complications of having extra leash all over the place once remounting. I thought that I could tuck it in the seatbelt when I start but if I actually needed it I would never have time to retuck and it would be in way of paddle etcc… I was contemplating ataching it to foot straps. I suppose if you attach to the belt itself and perhaps a belt/towline to your waist it would trail behimd you and not get in the way. I always worry about stuff getting wraped around my neck, but I think paddle leash is what the more experienced riders use.

what kind of ski did you get?


a pretty red one. :slight_smile:

Go with a coiled paddle leash

– Last Updated: Jun-03-05 8:48 AM EST –

Check out the leashes at the wavemaster site or on sit on top kayaking .com. Your board is low volume enough that you may want to try a ankle leash, but if you get worked in really big waves the ankle leash is pretty painful. The San Onofre crew don't use leashes but the waves don't have enough juice to make it an issue. I doubt you are going to be swimming enough to make it an issue either.

Paddle leash
I’m just starting out learning to waveski myself. I chose a coiled paddle leash. After years of board surfing I know that you would need a really long ankle leash to keep a large volume ski (compared to a board) from springing back and causing bodily damage if the waves are pumping. I would hate having a long leash dangling in the water or having to constantly tuck it in. A paddle leash on the other hand gives you the option of jettisoning everything if things get too hairy. The down side to a paddle leash is that if you bail in a strong wave, the force of the board can causes the paddle to slide through your hand. A friend recently had the blade edge slice his hand. Solution for this is to put vinyl edge molding found in auto stores around the blades.

Good luck with the roll. Although I can roll my sea kayaks and surf kayak easily I’m finding the waveski roll very frustrating. I can do an extended paddle roll with my legs out for leverage but it’s not pretty. But hey it works for now. I’m finding that if I roll up with my feet in the straps I just end up rolling over the other side even laying all the way back. Very frustrating.

Sounds Like Paddle Leash…
is the better option than the ankle leash. I asked about ankle lease because my ski actually has a connection point for a leash right in front of the footwells. It’s a little quarter size scooped out indention with a metal piece going across the diameter. But, I was struggling with what to do with a long leash while I am sitting on the ski.

I have some very long lengths 1/8" bungee cord. I think I’ll try to figure out how to connect a short leash (but long enough to not impede rolling) to the seat belt in manner that makes putting it on and taking it off easier.


Give it a shot…
just buy one of the super short coiled leashes with the small diamerter nylon strings for tieing to the pin in the slot in front of your feet. You’ll see its the right spot after you wipe out and swim a few times. It’s time tested and works. Just noted the wavemasterusa page is not working.

Agree with seadart

Attach it to your leash plug.

Check out the North Water coiled paddle leash. Take off the hook and just loop it through the plug.

? Ankle Leash…
I am confused. What’s the lenght on the short ankle leash?


No sorry I meant Paddle leash
about 2’ coiled about 6’ stretched, it has two break away points. Velcro strap around paddle, string that ties into the leash plug.

And if you like it… suggest
installing a plug @ the bow or stern of the boat.

Less drag or pull on you and the leash when hanging on.

To Leash or Not To Leash…
When I first started out on a wave ski, I used a traditional ankle leash. That may have been psychological conditioning as a result of years using one on a surf board. What I discovered is that when I got dumped and had to pull the waist belt, I always grabbed either a foot loop or the waist belt to make sure the ski didn’t take off. I don’t ever recall a time when I wasn’t able to hang onto my ski, even in really big surf. Because the rider is attached at the waist and feet, a ski will not suddenly fly away like a surfboard before control is gained.

It wasn’t long before I abandoned the leash and relied on the “release and grab” technique. That said, the incentive to learn to roll a ski was greatly heightened by a desire not to have to go through the whole unbelting and remounting drill.

As to relying on a paddle leash to hold on to a wayward ski, I think you’re asking for a bent or broken paddle shaft. The sheer force of a breaking wave is considerable and I doubt if most paddle leashes are actually intended to be used to arrest the shoreward rush of a loose wave ski. And lastly, any leash poses a potential risk of entanglement and possible injury.

I agree with JLK
on the leash entanglement issues. I don’t ride waveskis, but use my surfski in the ocean waves quite a bit. (nice day yesterday morning with 3-5’ waves breaking offshore.) I have tried both ankle and paddle leash and find them both disconcerting, when caught in the wrong place. For me, that could be when heading out and getting through the first line of breakers or missing a wave outside and getting caught in the the break zone. Too much happens too quickly in those places to risk entanglement.

I do find a paddle leash to be OK when not surfing big waves on

the ocean, but when paddling on the bay in heavy wind. If I became separated from the ski, the paddle leash would slow it down as it headed downwind. This would not really help you on the waveski.

LAst year I saw some surfer surfing without an ankle leash in a crowded area. His board got a way and hit some kid. The Dad came running out and gave that surfer a real piece of his mind. Rightfully so, as a loose board sliding into a group of kids is a dangerous thing.

So in the end, for you to paddle a waveski without a leash is dangerous to others, where having one may be a danger to you.

Oh NO!
a moral choice. I can’t handle those. :slight_smile:


I get a lot more punishment …

– Last Updated: Jun-05-05 9:16 AM EST –

from my boat than I do from my leash....

I have been beat up several times now getting thrashed in my Mako , never had a problem with a PADDLE leash used properly on a SOT or waveski. Never met anyone who actually uses one who has had a problem. Also introduced about two dozen of my sons friends and my friends to surfing , never had a problem, if you use a seat belt and thigh straps you are not going to get tangled. If you do get tangled it's easy to get out of it.
The only people who have problems with PADDLE leashes for surfing waveskis and SOTs seem to be those who have NEVER USED THEM! OK rant over, I'm off to get thrashed before the winds pick up this morning...... (Got out on that thing yet Sing?)

morally speaking
sorry sing, didn’t mean it as a moral choice. I never use a leash with the surski, but I hook my feet pretty well in the straps when getting thrashed and can usually hang on. I am also fortunate in that I usually surf waves that others can’t. I can’t surf the steep, so I am off to the side usually and out of the way or way outside picking up the swell before it jacks up.

the surfer incident opened my eyes to what can happen to a runaway board. I remember quite a few years ago I had plastic wavesport white water kayak and I was at Gilgo Beach surfing hurricane storm swells. I got maytagged so bad that I was flushed completely from my boat. I then watched the boat surf away and slide over other board surfers. Luckily no one was hurt and they kindly told me to surf further away.

Rant Rebutted

– Last Updated: Jun-05-05 1:47 PM EST –

If I read your rant correctly, you implied that I’ve never used a paddle leash. Sorry... but yes I have. In the earlier days of riding a Cobra Strike and later a W.S. Kaos, I used a paddle leash. But it was mainly so I could let go of the paddle when remounting and concentrate on getting thigh straps and back band back in place. I even had a leash plug installed on my first wave ski to serve that same purpose. So I do think a leash has value when first starting to paddle surf... since getting dumped frequently is part of the learning process. But to always rely on it might lessen the incentive to develop a reliable roll.

As to “never having a problem”...that’s great. However, I know from first hand experience that a leash warped around a limb when a ski or board is loose, can be extremely painful...and thus, potentially dangerous. I know of one incident of a very skilled and experienced paddler getting a leash wrapped around his neck and almost drowning as a result. So the fact that you’ve not had a problem...doesn’t mean the potential for a problem doesn’t exist.

Runaway Ski!!!

– Last Updated: Jun-05-05 4:26 PM EST –

Didn't use a leash today since it was originally intended to be me and my buddy at a small thigh to waist break. Figured while it hit the 80's today, no one will be in the water since it just hit a little over 50. This proved true. Plenty of suntanners but no swimmers. Later, another waveskier (originally from South Africa), who lives nearby, saw us, went home got his ski, came back and joined in our session.

Anyway, the waveski did get away from me twice. The first time, a breaking wave took it and pulled the seat belt right out of my hands. The ski just rocketed past my buddy coming back out through the breaks. YIKES! The second time, the same thing happened but the ski rode harmlessly to shore.

For the future, I do intend to used a paddleleash attached to the ski in the future. The waveskieer actually suggested the same but with the addition though that it would be easier to remount my ski and get the seat belt on without having to worry about hanging onto the paddle.

So the verdict on my first day on a waveski... Holy moly! I don't think I've been on anything this tippy since trying Pam Browning's flatwater racing boat. I couldn't take more than 2 or 3 strokes without falling over. Oh yeah, I can roll this thing up... But would quickly go right back over. Sure was a ton of fun just doing the windowshade routine, NOT!

I was so glad that the waveskier joined our session. This guy is a pretty darn good waveski surfer. Even with the small waves, I could see what a waveski is capable of looking at his his rides. Helps that he has been at it for 20 years! He suggested that I paddle with my legs down, then with the legs extended along the ski's side but not on top just to get the balance. It helped. I felt it was a major victory just being able to get out past the break zone, which I did more and more as the session went on. My problem was and still is that I can't get my feet into the footwells and accelerate to catch a wave before beginning to capsize again.

The waveskier offered me the use of his ski for a bit, just to get the feel of surfing with one. His ski was 8'x25" compared to my 7.5"x23". For my lighter weight, his bigger ski was much steady ski and I can actually paddle it with my feet in the footwells. I caught a couple of rides on it and can really tell that the ski has a lighter feel and the sensation of flying on the waves. The other thing I noticed was that waveskier, being 45 pounds heavier than me, was able to paddle my ski, albeit a little more gingerly than he had with his own. But I watched him sprint to catch waves on my waveski which really was way to low volume for him. The message is clear to me -- my ski is not too small for me -- but that I got a steep learning curve ahead. As the waveskier noted, my ski is really an advance ski for someone of my size but with much more experience than I have. However, if I stick to it, I'll eventually be able to paddle it out and get rides without tipping over every 3 or 4 strokes. I am happy. A challenge and something to shoot for. :)


(who took his trashin' and spankin' like a "man" today. LOL!)

Good On Ya Mate!
The dimensions of your ski sounds like you’re riding an Australian style ski. And from what I’ve observed, they appear to be tippier…probably due to the fact that you sit pretty high above the water line. If that continues to create problems, perhaps you might want to consider an Infinity or Mike Johnson wave ski.

These skis tend to be longer, a bit narrower and definitely present a lower profile. The style of riding is maybe a little more akin to long boarding with classic carving moves versus the slashing moves you see on a short board. But they are more stable and can be rolled to the 180 degree position vs. a full rotation.

Just a thought.

Cool Sing

– Last Updated: Jun-05-05 6:43 PM EST –

Looking forward to seeing you ripping on that thing.

Did the guy show you how to do the drop leg roll, this thing sounds even tippier than Ian's strata. Good luck in that New England surf. You get that thing mastered in choppy New England water and you are going to rule next time you come out to Santa Cruz.

Maybe you should surf more like a shortboarder now, you don't paddle more than 3 strokes to catch the wave but drop in and crank a hard bottom turn right as it pitches, your board will be fun on a steep break with a lot of juice. Watch Fletcher Burton in Vince's flick.