Memo from the Surf Desk: Leashless

"Outside!" someone will scream. You can see it, something surfable. But what if I get closed on, swallowed whole by that big blue bastard!? And what if I let go - loose my stick in the soup? What will keep me afloat? Enough with all that noise! You know how to swim, you sonofabitch. You can make it to shore. Wait it out. Hold on tight when you have to. Size won't matter anymore. Just something you can surf. You'll appreciate the ones you have. Forget the ones you failed.

Dora did it, surfed sans leash. Shit, they all did. All of those bronze gods of the surfing '60s. No one knew any better, I'll give you that. But you have to think someone said it - "Why don't I tie a rope to this damn thing!? Save myself the swim?" Good idea, I suppose. But what was lost? Surely some soul. When that first guy wrapped rubber around his ankle. Secured himself to his surfboard - died, an era did. Over were the days of cautious consumption. Forever changed. Forever carefree. Facing monsters without worry. No need for well rounded watermen. We're all out there with our own little life raft. Safe and sound.

I'd like to see some digression. Back to a time when surfing wasn't so serious. When waves were fun. Not all this big wave little board business. Leashes and tow ropes. Back to a time when you were happy with the ones you had. When craftsmanship was common and your board was made by the hands of a man. Ramble on.


Duke Dangerpants


foster said...

surfing leashless is wild. i do it from time to time when the waves look small. i almost always regret it.

Matt said...

Sorry Foster, I have to agree with the article. After surfing for 8 years I moved to Malibu and cut my teeth on one of the most "leashless" waves in Cali. I thought it was crazy at first, to sacrifice your board to the rocks waiting on shore.

The more I surfed there though, the more I began to see the restraint, beauty and subtleties that came with surfing leashless. I quickly adopted it myself and fell in love with surfing sans leg rope. Like a tamer version of climbing ropeless.

I agree though it can be dangerous and leashes should be used by the inexperienced if they're going to surf at crowded breaks.

Give me clean waist high waves, an old log, and no leash and I'll be happy any day :)

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