When choosing a calf or leg leash for watersports, reliability is your number one priority. You are looking for a piece of equipment designed with the elements in mind to last through repetitive exposure to weather, weight loading, and salt.
Types of leg leashes: Coiled or Straight
With so many surf ski leashes and surfboard calf leashes on the market, it’s hard to know which design is best for your watersports needs. The first thing to note is that traditional surfboard leg ropes differ from surf ski and ocean paddling leashes.
Traditional leashes that you will find at the back of a thruster or mini-mal are usually long, straight, and float next to (or just below) the surfer in the water. While these are great for surfing where length is required for pop-ups and high mobility, they are not so good for paddling and kayaking.
For this reason, coiled leashes are best for paddling. This means the leg rope itself has a shorter length without compromising its functionality. If the athlete and craft are separated, the leash can stretch to full length during the pull phase. It then springs back to a shorter length when the paddler recovers their craft. This stops the paddle from catching the leash and thus enabling maximum safety and the best performance.
Strength and durability are also critical factors in the coil design. Vaikobi’s 2-piece calf leash is a high-quality PU German-made coil that can stretch five times its length. While some coiled surf ski leashes can twist up and be extremely difficult to untangle, the Vaikobi coil leash has been designed with a swivel at both ends. This mechanism prevents twists to save athletes time and energy preparing their vessel on land that could be spent ripping it up over the waves.
The 2-Piece vs. 1-piece Leg Leash Debate
The two-piece leg leash has been given a rough name among ocean paddlers. This is because some designs across the market are notorious for involuntarily unclipping themselves from the calf leash through the motion of paddling unbeknownst to the paddler. This can be dangerous if, or inevitably when, the paddler becomes separated from their vessel.
However, the 2-piece leash provides a unique opportunity for paddling athletes as the easiest kind of surf leash to clip on and off. You can set up your calf strap onshore without difficulty and then clip it onto your vessel using just one hand. This is desirable when holding your paddle and clambering into your craft.
Vaikobi has developed a 100% reliable and easy-to-use, 2-piece surf ski leash that paddling athletes have tested in various conditions. We have achieved this by including a patent-pending Vaikobi stainless steel carabiner clip with a gate and hook end to prevent accidental release, no matter the level of leg movement or interference. This clip is load-rated up to 500kg.
Visibility and colour
Think calf leashes for kayaking have to be black and boring? Think again! The 2022 launch of coloured Vaikobi leashes allows the paddler to choose a brighter, more visible option compared to traditional leashes. They are available in cyan, orange, yellow and pink, so you can easily see the strap while it’s underwater or hiding amongst your gear on land. If that’s not enough to get you onboard, the unique Vaikobi colour range allows you to mix and match your Vaikobi PFD, phone case, or hat.