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A leg rope or leash is a urethane cord attached to the deck of a surfboard, down near the tail. A leg rope plug enables the leg rope to be attached here using a leg rope string. The other end of the leg rope is secured tightly around the surfer's ankle with a velcro fastening strap covered in neoprene to provide comfort for the user. The purpose of using a leg rope is to keep the surfboard attached to a surfer's ankle at a safe distance. Should the surfer fall while riding a wave, the surfboard will not be swept away, thus allowing the surfer to quickly recover his surfboard and return to the take-off zone.
The leg rope was invented in the 1970s amidst controversy that it was a dangerous accessory. Initially, a minority of people expressed concern that if a surfer fell while riding a wave and wearing a leg rope, the surfboard may bounce back and hit the surfer causing serious injury. Although this can happen, most surfers today choose to use a leg rope while surfing as it is believed that leg ropes prevent more accidents than they cause.
The first leg rope on the surfboard was created by Peter Wright, in Raglan, New Zealand. It was established in the very early 1970s. It consisted of nylon. He is not credited for his efforts because he did not copyright the leg rope. The urethane design was patented by David Hattrick (Australian Patent 505,451 issued September 5, 1977). Later in the 1970s, he established Pipe Lines surfing products and developed a design that could be patented. This design also won an Australian Design Award in 1979.
Modern leg rope consists of four parts cuff, swivel, cord and rail saver. The cuff comes with a double wrap-around velcro cuff. The swivel allows the cuff to spin and twist without the rope itself twisting or tangling providing less strain on the rope. The cords are typically made from a high-quality polyurethane and typically come in 2 thicknesses. However, the thicker leg ropes has more drag in the water. The rails saver is designed to provide a secured connection to the board and protect the rail when a surfer falls.
- "How to choose a surfboard leash or leg rope". Surf Nation. Retrieved 2018-06-22.
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