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10 Things to Know About a Bodyboard Leash

For a relatively small price to pay, a bodyboard leash will ensure you don’t lose your bodyboard as you head out into the blue yonder to catch those bigger waves.

Young girl bodyboarding in the surf with bodyboard leash

You’ve spent a decent investment on a good bodyboard to help you take your bodyboarding to the next level so it’s imperative that you also ensure you don’t lose it in the water!

If you’re doing your research about possibly getting a bodyboard leash or wanting to know more about them, here are important things to know about bodyboard leashes.

What Is a Bodyboard Leash?

A bodyboard leash is a strong coil accessory that connects your arm to you bodyboard.

This ensures that you are always connected to your bodyboard so you don’t lose it when you fall of your bodyboard and having to chase it all the way to shore to recover it.

What Are the Components of a Leash?


The cuff wraps around your arm and is held in place by Velcro. This is how the bodyboard is attached to you on one end.


The cord can be a coiled cord or straight cord. In most cases they are a coiled cord and its length allows you to paddle while still keeping the bodyboard close to you.


The swivel connects the cuff to the cord.


The plug attaches the whole leash to the bodyboard and this is how the bodyboard is attached to you on the other end.

Bodyboard leash anatomy

Types of Bodyboard Leashes

There are 2 types of leashes that you can get:

Wrist Leashes

The cuff of this leash attaches the bodyboard to your wrist. This is the most common style used by bodyboarders and can vary from very basic models to leashes of high quality.

Most entry level bodyboards will come with some sort of a leash but you’ll find that its cords are either not a coil, are longer and of a cheaper standard.

If you’re hoping to improve your bodyboard skills or you’re on the way to catching those bigger waves, these cords won’t be suitable.

You’ll find that the longer cords will get tangled when you’re paddling or that the leash with snap at the plug. They tend to also not withstand the big surf and gets clogged with sand very quickly.

Our recommendation is to purchase a good quality bodyboard leash and replace it.

Bodyboard wrist cuff leash

Bicep Leashes

The bicep leash attaches the bodyboard to your bicep.

Bicep leashes are more expensive but have an advantage over the wrist leash, particularly as you get more skilled at body boarding and start catching bigger waves.

The bicep bodyboard leash is shorter and therefore it keeps the strap out of the way when you’re paddling for or riding a wave.

It is usually wrapped around your bicep just above your elbow for maximum comfort and ease of use.

If you were to choose between the 2 types of leashes, we highly recommend the bicep leash. We have used both types and the bicep leash are by far much more robust in terms of allowing you to paddle without entanglement and coping with the different impacts of the waves.

You don’t want to missing out on those awesome waves because your coiled cord in the way!

Bodyboard bicep cuff leash

Bodyboard Leash Plug

A plug is a plastic screw which allows you to attach the leash to the bodyboard.

A good leash plug should be wide and fairly big. It needs to be constructed of high-end plastic and be durable and sturdy.

The head of the plug should be flat and it must have the capability to contain the string as you don’t want them to be loose and looping around the back of it.

Bodyboard leash plug

There are 3 plug placement possibilities on the bodyboard.

The plug can be placed on the left or the right side of the bodyboard as it depends if you’re left or right-handed. Ideally you want to get your leash plugged on the same side of the bodyboard that you will be attaching to your arm. This will ensure that the cord is out of the way when you paddle.

So, if the cuff in on your right arm, place the plug on the right side of the bodyboard and vice versa. Or to put it in another way, if you’re right handed, put the plug on the right and vice versa.

Bodyboard leash plug on the right
This bodyboard has a right leash plug.

The 3rd option is a centre plugged leash. if you are riding mixed direction breaks and changing which way you ride, a this can be more advantageous for you.

Bodyboard leash plug in the centre
This bodyboard has a centred leash plug.

Most of the cheaper and generic bodyboards will come with a centre plug already attached.

For some of the more expensive boards, you’ll find they don’t come with a plug with one of the reasons being that everyone’s preference for placement difference. The plug is an extra cost of only about USD $2 – USD $5 each and the bodyboard shop will put the plug on for you. This way you’re not stuck with a placement you’re unhappy with.

Which Bodyboard Leash Should I Buy?

Brands and quality vary and you get what you pay for. I would suggest spending around USD $20- USD $30 on your leash.

Buckle Velcro Cuff

Aim to get a leash that attaches to your arm with a loop and buckle Velcro cuff system. And the reason you should get this over a non-buckled system is because it takes the pressure off the Velcro when the leash is pulled.

This obviously happens a fair bit and the buckled systems enables the leash to last longer.

Wider Cuff

Wider cuffs tend to be more comfortable too as it places pressure on a bigger surface area. You’ll thank the wider cuff when you’ve just been dumped and the bodyboard is pulling you in all sorts of precarious positions!

What’s a Good Quality Swivel?

A swivel is an attachment that on one end connects the reinforced string loop that attaches the leash to the bodyboard while the other end attaches the cuff to the leash.

A good quality bodyboard swivel is made of brass.

These brass swivels are much more durable than the plastic connections and you need to be robust enough to spin smoothly when you’re required to make quick movements and unexpected maneuvers.

This in turn ensures the leash works as it should without getting tangled.

The brass construct is also sought after as it is corrosion and rust resistant due to the low iron levels.

Bodyboard leash swivel

How to Put On Bodyboard Leash

Step 1: Put the handle through the plug of the bodyboard.

Step 2: Put the cuff through the handle.

How to put on a bodyboard leash step 1 of 3

Step 3: Pull the cuff right through until you get to the ocil.

Step 4: Pull the coil through. The best hack here is to keep the coil together so that the handle can get past without it getting caught between the coils. As you can see in the image below I am pushing both ends of the coil together.

How to put on a bodyboard leash step 2 of 3

Step 5: Once the coil is through, pull all the way past the swivel.

Step 6: Pull it tight so that it’s attached onto the bodyboard properly.

How to put on a bodyboard leash step 3 of 3

Step 7: Put the cuff around you wrist or bicep and apply the velcro comfortably.


Your leash is an important piece of kit from a safety perspective as it keeps you attached to your buoyant bodyboard.

A bit of a life saver if you find yourself in unchartered territory and need a bit of respite from threading water for too long.

How to Avoid Damaging Your Leash

If you use a bodyboard bag and carry more than one board in it, it’s a good idea to take you leash off the board before you transport them.

This will ensure that you don’t crush the leash against the bodyboard which can damage the slick or deck and leave a coil shape dent.

You can leave one of the bodyboard leashes on so it will save you removing them all. However, ensure that they are not stuck between 2 boards. Put the bodyboard with the leash on the outside so the pressure is not against another bodyboard. Then flip the cuff over and place on top between the 2 bodyboards.

How to store bodyboard leash in bodyboard bag

Caring for Your Bodyboard Leash

It’s very important to give your leash a good clean to reduce wear and tear from all that salt water and rubbing from the sand.

Rinse it thoroughly with fresh water as part of your pack down routine. This will help your leash last much longer.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does a bodyboard leash cost?

The average price of a good quality bicep leash is around USD $35 – USD $45. A small price to pay compared to the risk of losing your bodyboard altogether.

How to install a leash plug?

To be honest, don’t do it yourself, especially if you don’t know how to do it. Why spend all that money on a bodyboard only to ruin it by trying to put the plug in yourself. Get the professionals at the store you’re buying your bodyboard from and pay them the extra few dollars to install it for you.

Is it worth getting a leash for a cheap foam board?

If the intention is that the cheap foam board is going to last your kids for a few years than yes, get a simple leash so you don’t lose the bodyboard.

But if you’re buying a foam board just to test the waters a couple of times to make sure the kids enjoy the sport before upgrading to a proper board, then we don’t recommend you get a leash, purely from a cost perspective. A good leash will cost more than a foam board!

Which way should the cuff sit on your arm?

Be it a wrist or bicep leash, the coil should sit on the inside of your arm or thumb side. So the leash should sit on the deck of the of the board and not in the water.

The reason being is that when it sits on the outside of your arm, the coil will get tangled on the bodyboard when you paddle. Also, the leash in the water just creates unnecessary drag.

This is a well thought out accessory that should become a staple in your bodyboarding armoury.

If you’re ready to get something, check out the best bodyboarding leashes on the market today.

A quick tip about how to reduce tangling: attach the leash with the cord coming out on the thumb side of your arm to reduce tangling and improve arm movement.


bodyboard101.com Amy and Andrew at the beach

We’re Andrew & Amy and we are a small blended family that love to bodyboard! We’re here to share everything we know to help you with your bodyboarding adventure as a beginner, with your family or if you’re transitioning onto intermediate level. Let’s go!

22 thoughts on “10 Things to Know About a Bodyboard Leash”

  1. I had no idea there was so much to know about bodyboard leashes. The more knowledge you have the better, and you gave us a lot.

  2. I had no idea there was so much to know about bodyboard leashes. There really is a lot you have to think about.

  3. It seems easy but there is so much work behind the body leash. I always afraid of losing my bodyboard when I was in the ocean. Your post is so helpful to me.

  4. I love water but bodyboard is way hard for me plus I’m afraid to try it. And although you made it sound so easy but it is so hard…

    1. Well we have outlined as much as we can to help people who think they can’t do it but is curious. It’s easy enough for kids to try so perhaps one day if you feel up to it you can. Please feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions about bodyboarding.

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