Reduce Reuse Recycle Repurpose

Way back in time (before surf leashes) body surfing wasn't considered such an off shoot from the surfing tree. Everyone lost their board at some point and everyone would body surf in. If the waves were good for body surfing you would leave your board on the beach and whomp. It was all surfing.

Then it all changed over night! If there were 30 guys out at a peak 10 would be surfing, 10 would be swimming in after there boards and 10 would be paddling all the way back out after retrieving their board from the beach. Suddenly all 30 guys, from kooks to accomplished watermen were all sitting on the peak waiting for the next set.

Some with some without
While leashes did open up some spots that were too rocky to surf for the average surfer, the really good guys were already surfing there because they didn't lose there boards like the rest of us. So what leashes really did was to open the last few good spots to the crowds

 Photo Grannis

No one trusted leashes in big surf for a while.  The early leashes were made of stretchy surgical tubing attached to a suction cup on the nose of your board, the other end went around your wrist. When you lost your board the wave would pull it and then it would come flying back at you! Nose first. There were injuries. It was kind of cool to pull the nose of your board around when doing an off the lip etc. Oh and contests didn't allow the new device for a while. It was considered cheating. When the new ankle leashes came out everyone drilled a hole in their fins to attach it to. Leash plugs hadn't been invented yet. (I don't know where you attached your GoPro)

One of the things I really like about the mat is that it is leash free. I can go for months and not lose it then lose my mat three times in a day. Since I'm already wearing fins it's just an opportunity to whomp. But sometimes I will just float around and watch the waves. Lately I have even traded the mat for a handplane or just a bigger pair of fins.  Bodysurfing is perfect for some on shore close outs.  

A beautiful shot making the rounds on the net. It seemed like a good way to end this ramble.


pranaglider said…
I titled this post RRRR because most of it happened as some posts on Facebook yesterday and people seemed to like the theme. How am I to argue with the people right? So I like swiped some period photos and another 23B post is in the books.
I enjoyed this post/history lesson on leashes... I love learning tidbits related to surfing...My feelings are..well.. there is good and bad. When you wear a leash and lose your board(and if a beginner I really think you should)the chances of you getting hurt by your board are higher..but if you don't have a leash and you lose your board the chances of others getting hurt is higher. AND in ALL honesty..Not everyone can say they have FULL control of their board. Regardless.. Really the OCEAN is in control ;-)
pranaglider said…
SGofOC, Every situation is unique and you always have to decide what makes sense and is safe. I don't ride boards that much anymore and getting hit by a partially inflated mat is fairly low on the pain scale ;)
Piskian said…
Mats with leashes are like democracies with a welfare state system.Think about that.
I would happily take a Mat on the noggin any day and not complain... even a boogie board.. maybe..;-)Not so much a surfboard..had it happen a few times..did'nt like it.. LOL
pranaglider said…
Piski - Je Refuse!

SGofOC - Yes very hard on the board!
Robin Thomson said…
Interesting as I am currently working on ideas for workable and reliable leash for the mat. It is great not having one but sometimes when the waves are big, powerful and lumpy it is not a pleasurable experience to be left out there without a mat and I have come close to drowning once in this type of situation. Coincidentally, surgical rubber is exactly what I have sourced to experiment with as I believe it's incredible degree of stretch before breaking could protect the attachment location on a mat's seam. I am still working through the issues relating how to do that without risking the ultimate destruction of the mat. Another idea I have is to actually carry a 2nd fully deflated mat in a pouch low on the back that can be accessed and blown up should the mat one is riding be lost. MT5s, Blue Streaks and Neumatics fold up very neatly for this purpose with the latter 2 probably being the most useful as you can get some air in to them a little quicker than the MT5.
pranaglider said…
Robin, I never pursued a leash for the mat but I did ponder it for a while. As far as I got was to have the mat in a net of some sort that would spread the forces of the tug from the leash over a greater area and not focus the pull on one contact point. Good Luck and keep us informed.
Robin Thomson said…
My latest thought is to use a rear corner of the mat so a very short leash can be attached to just below the knee. This leaves the hands free to do their work, should not impede the legs at all whilst still maintaining the all of that great leash free mat riding sensation we love.

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