Submitted by peninsula_surfer on Sat, 02/10/2018 - 21:51
Don't know if this has been posted before, but I thought I'd tell my story.
I'll start by saying I'm a Police Officer at a coastal town. We have had a terrible year for drownings. I have seen/recovered/searched for 4 bodies this summer alone. I have started to realise issues with anxiety in the water lately surrounding leash snaps and becoming another recovered body in the water.
So this makes leash snaps just that little bit worse, and I've done 2 this summer.
My first one i was surfing in a 3-5ft rip bowl at a notoriously rippy beach break. I took an average run of the mill wipe out on an average sized wave of the day and i felt the tension of my board release very suddenly. I straight away knew my leash had failed. I surfaced easily enough and was able to confirm that yes, my board was washing to shore, yes i was about 150m out, I was still fair and square in the rip bowl and yes set waves were approaching. I relax myself, begin swimming in using the waves to assist me in. It was a washing machine. I was getting nowhere fast and tiring greatly. I was getting the panicky feeling and picturing the drowned victims I had seen this year. I couldnt control this and it forced me to panick and gas out quick. I manage to wave another surfer over and because of him I was able to have a breather whilst holding onto his board. I still couldn't pick where I was in the line up. within a few minutes another bloke paddles my board out to me and I am able to get in.
2nd leash break:
4-5ft day at a beach break, slight rip in the channel, clean offshore - ideal!
Another run of the mill wipe out in the end section, into the rip. No sets on the head, plenty of surfers out, knew where I was in the line up. Still that anxiety, I was able to ground myself, swim and even body surf in! Not as hard a swim the first break but i was stuffed none the less. It wrecked the session! I had the yips for the remainder of the session (after replacing the leggie with a spare in the car).
Now when I surf, busting a leash is always on my mind. Its certainly affected my comfort level. Any tips or advice? or even stories of your own?
Great topic mate. I'm always mindful that every surfer should make sure they can swim 4-5 laps of an olympic swimming pool without any problems. A legrope is only a precautionary measure.
Also, far too many surfers don't seem to plan entry/exit routes etc before they paddle out. Even at locations I surf frequently, I'll spent 5-10 mins watching the current and timing the sets to get a feel for how a couple of rare circumstances might play out (where would I drift to if I got caught inside, where would I come in, if that doesn't work out then what's the next option etc).
From your story it sounds like you're trying to get straight in to the beach whilst still in the rip. You've got to swim parallel to the beach to get out of the rip before attempting to come in. Even a strong swimmer will struggle to come straight in through a rip. Sideways first until you hit clear water, then in.
A few laps in the local pool sound like they might help as well.
Be safe mate.
Fitness breeds confidence and confidence maximises fitness by allowing you to avoid wasting energy through panic.
Hit the pool and swim your arse off . Not just chilled out laps . Power laps as fast as you can move as well . Underwater laps . Push ups . Chin ups .
Surf without a leggie as often as possible.
If you’re one of the good coppers then cheers for your work.
Where i live now is very dangerous if you snap your leggy ive seen guys snap leggies on 8-10 foot days and get dragged out to sea and up the coast for almost a km and there's no beachies to safely get in just jagged rocky shoreline with two small rippy keyholes. very dangerous indeed. i had to rescue one swimmer who jumped off the rocks just before a set came in and the rip tore everything apart. she was trying to swim but quickly panicked asking "what do i do?" to which i was struggling on my 6'0 thinking this board wont float us both.
she got in ok though.
G'day peninsula surfer. That's full on dealing with dead bodies, I can see why those thoughts kick in. My theory is to replace my leggies every 12 months. Just to minimise the risk of degradation and weakening. Also I actually use the thickest largest leggie I can get.i reckon drag is minimal in good powerful waves and like to have the piece of mind of a strong leggie.
Meditation I find helps . I just feel when I do get into a hairy situation I have the ability to put myself into a calm state of mind and try to regulate my breathing and focus on that. Good luck .
Snapping leggies is something that scares me, I'm not a very strong swimmer or paddler luckily i haven't snapped many.
For further reference and common sense.
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I've had a few break on me, but only once in a serious situation.
Like others said, being able to swim and be comfortable in the water is the best advice. I'm not a great swimmer, but can easily cover a couple of kilometers, tread water for long periods, and keep my calm in persistent shorebreak. Which makes snapping a leash less of an unknown.
By far the best advice though is to have a plan. Like Ben said, always have an idea about how you would get out of the water if you lost your board. Where are the rips? What kind of waves will push right up and over the reef? If there's a keyhole, how would you get to it? I'll always make sure I know that before surfing in waves above 4 ft.
Sounds like you need to go see a shrink to sort you out.
Don't watch the 15th episode of of Babylon Berlin.
Stop buying gimmick leashes theyre hoaxes
Yeah theres bulk batches of them that are pathetic pissweak plastic popouts.
you know how it is crustt
Always a good idea to check your leg ropes regularly for small tears in the leash. These can be caused by minor contact with an edge and reduce the strength of the leash by around 90%.
Wet rub the back of your fins and blunten that sharp edge to save any minor legrope nicks
Good replies. Yep updated both leggies. Good solid ones too. I like the planning idea. The first break was the worst. The whole beach was a washing machine. I think ill avoid those sorts of days and beaches.
But in all honesty anyone else done a legrope? Got a story?
Best advice I got as a grommet on this subject and still abide by in my early 50's is:
When you're checking out a line up that's looking pretty hectic by your own personal level, take a moment to imagine getting caught inside/wiping out on the set of the day and losing your board. Ask yourself how capable you would be of getting yourself to safety without ANY assistance from others.
If you know you could do it then get out there. If in any sort of doubt then stay on the beach.
Leggies aren't personal safety equipment and anyone who thinks they are will be in for a rude shock sooner or later.
Big issue with me. Unless its 2ft toss those comp leggies into the fire absolutely
stupid bad joke of a leg rope. Too often I see guys wearing them in solid surf and
wondering why they break and now in trouble. Best leash I have is a thick 8mm
and 6ft long, (custom made) super strong and dependable and being shorter it
does not get dragged to far and get held down in the power zone like longer leashes.
Also have a 7ft leash 9mil thick I got in Hawaii also a brilliant leash.
Normal waves standard leggie but when it gets powerful short and thick works for me
with the added confidence of strength and wont break.
Leg rope manufactures take note you don't make suitable leg ropes in Australia for
solid conditions. You make them to thin or to long and thin.
IF im not surfing im racing
I've only had one sketchy situation. I had a rotator cuff injury that I was recovering from and I was managing to paddle (not at my best) but I couldn't do overarm swimming at all. The Velcro pulled off at 6-8ft pascuales and the waves were pushing me to shore in the impact zone while the backwash wasn't letting me back to shore.
I was stuck in enough water that I was out of my depth but could occasionally touch the sand but I couldn't get a grip on it.
Ended up just persisting with left arm sidestroke and eventually got in.
Was cooked afterwards.
But dont you wanna dive deep Evo? Understand the hassle of reeling 15ft of line in as the next wave of the set bears down, but if you dive just 6ft under the surface you're gonna get worked, surely.
First surf in Hawaii I snapped an Australian made leggy - a SUP leggy no less - and my board ended up on the rocks at Puena Point, followed by a big swim around. I came home with four fat arse Da Kine leggies. No messing about.
Longer legropes are good, I use 6ft in small surf and 10ft in bigger surf. Unfortunately there aren't alot of quality leggies around, I used to seek out da'kine but they were bought out some years ago and quality de'clined. I bought a da'kine 16ft legrope in Hawaii in 1990 and after a few months over there it was around 20ft, used it for years and left in the cupboard for a few years then about 5 years ago I cut it in half and use it on my SUP, still no sign of perishing.
I've had the knot on the rope give way, I got in just fine but my board got badly damaged on the rocky shoreline. I also replace my leg ropes regularly and hang spares fully out vertically out of the sun in my garage to get those annoying kinks out of them. How cheap are they compare to a board or even a repair job?
How about surfing shallow reefs where the leggie snags underwater, just sitting in the lineup? Granted it’s different to snapping a leggie, but if you’re in a vigorous environment with lots of water moving around with each wave, that can be dangerous too. I reckon that’s a good case for an even shorter leggie (4-5ft maybe?).
Using a long leggie your in waves a fair way out to sea, so it's deep water.
I don't surf those sort of waves anymore Ben. One thing with short leggie is more chance of snapping a board, that's why over the years I have put up with the down side of long leashes.
O&E used to make a real short and thick leggy called the Teahupoo which was great for shallow slabs or waves where the rocks were only a board length away. Not sure why they dont make it anymore, maybe something to do with most people wanting thin legropes?
Good point about busted boards, Crustt.
I surf a lot of really rocky spots, where quick escapes are needed, so being able to super quickly real your board in and not snagging are main concerns.
In terms of Aussie makers, who do you reckon makes a better leggie: O&E or Creatures? They both do 6 and 7ft 7mm leggies.
Granted shorter leggies can break boards but thicker ones have a lot more stretch and give
the key word here is thicker. I have got 5 fractures in my back from a longer leggie when
caught around rocks recently. I did use a bit longer at sunset thou and I don't dive that
deep always found when your deep you just get pushed down even deeper.
Stu that's heavy out Puena Point I wouldn't like that swim.
I have found Dakine to be the best leggies I also stocked up on them.
Off topic, sorry OP, but Stu tell us how your 10 channel went in Hawaii - until it didn't :-(
Stay Covered make good strong leggies imo
Yeah, I've had my leggie wrap around and tie me up a bit, just got to stay calm and go with it, most problems happen when you get flustered. I have heart disease so I stay away from surf where there is no easy escape from the impact zone. In the last couple of years it's been a relief when my leggie has broken in bigger surf as you get a bit of a flogging just hanging in the take off area. :-)
Beware of replicas its a plastic filled world.
Pay more to get one that lasts at least.
Dont use a pissweak leash that breaks easily..
Even the best brand leashes break often.
"So what can we do about it ?
"The solution to all this stuff is on land and it has to do with changing our supply chains around packaging, how we use packaging, and how we take care of packaging," said Dr Wilcox.
The main problem, he said, was how cheap plastic was.
Had some bad situations with short leggies due too the board being pushed deep with you and you reaching the surface before the board.The board always seems to be directly under you when if flys up I've been so close to being seriously injured by this that I use long leggies.Pushing the board to one side and pin dropping just below the surface works for me if caught by a solid one eye's open to watch for the pillars of white water. Shallow reef is curl up in a ball and protect your noggin'.
Only lasted a few days but it went fantastic. Straight off the plane and the Bay was breaking, Sunset was too big, Pipe capping halfway to the horizon, so we settled on 8' outside Puena Point where the ten channel went unreal in the down the line waves. Early angled entry, high line glide, flick off before the wave gets away from you - that sort of session. I lost it under a clean up set and watched it bounce up and down the intertidal zone between each wave as I got swept past. Horrible business. Considered a heroic swim onto the shelf but with 6-8ft of whitewash surging up the pockmarked lava I abandoned it for the swim around to the beach and hotfooted run back up the point. Fortunately it wasn't in too bad a state - maybe 20-25 dings across the rails and bottom, but the fin and channels were intact. Some minor cosmetics and a pack of resin strips and it was largely surfable again.
Next day I pushed my luck at big Sunset. Way too undergunned and bad juju in the air - felt like I had a bullseye on my back as west sets roared in and no board under 8ft got a look in. Session after that was at Alligators, just four of us out and every wave was an airfare ride - cost of the trip paid back ten times over. 8-12ft and so glassy every feature, each channel, each 1/8th of an inch was appreciable. Got my best waves of the trip. That sesh ended with high fives on the beach and a silent thanks to Phil Myers. Felt like a lot of things connected during that session: experience, board design, friendships, and considered risk. The culmination of which was supremely satisfying.
Couple hours later at Himalayas I sat off to the west waiting for the ones that offered a different, slightly deeper, entry. Again, the board was really too short but I figured the bulk volume under the chest might compensate. Jagged one bomb and shortly after paddled for another but simply didn't have the length to get into it early enough. Ditched it from the lip, landed at the trough and luckily pushed out the back so I didn't get worked, but the board didn't make it.
Kicked myself - literally and metaphoricaly - all the way in. It really was a beautiful board and its manifest history meant a lot to me...but then I figured, fuck it, it's a surfboard, it was made to be surfed, and Phil was also keen to hear how it went over there. If I was taking one to Hawaii I'd get the same again but glassed heavier, though I wouldn't paddle a 7ft version out to big Sunset or similar.
Your Host felt up the Channel bottom....his views ?
Busted before he had a chance to check it. We didn't stay at his house but up the road. Plenty of other, mostly older, crew did check it and while I was expecting a bit of incredulity it was mostly curiousity and even the odd nostalgic flash that led to ravings about Col Smith, Allan Byrne, Phil Myers, and the merits of channel bottoms. Always entertaining.
Quoted from the article :
"Another cause for easy breakage of the leg ropes is the use of inferior raw materials during the production. What does this mean?!?! Urethane cords are made by extruding ( using a layman’s term: melting) TPU pellets. The most common shortcuts used by cheaper factories are:
These pellets come in different qualities depending on the purity of the material. The purer the pellets, the more resistant the cord will be, but the more expensive it will be to produce. Cheaper leg ropes are made with inferior pellets which are cheaper to buy for the factories.
The pellets must be “fresh” because the lifecycle of the cord (that hasn’t even been made yet) starts ticking right after the pellets are made (even though they haven’t been extruded).
Some factories use recycled pellets because they are cheaper thus making the product of inferior quality. In some cases factories “recycle” finished cords if they end up defective after the extrusion process.
Factories extrude the cords in advance of the production of the leashes, storing them until they get an order and they can be used to assemble the finished leash. This inevitably shaves time off the life cycle of the finished product.
You may ask yourself why would a factory do this?!?!
It all translates to the final price of the finished leashes. The cheaper pellets, recycled TPU, etc allow the factories to offer a lower priced leash to their customers. That is one of the reasons some factories are able to offer considerably lower prices. In some cases, the prices vary between 10% and 20%! The factories will never give you all these details but this is the reality behind the lower prices. You get what you pay for! "
I hooked a leg rope on the surgeon's table at HTs. Luckily my head was just above water but it was going under with every wave. Lots of water movement meant that it was at full stretch so trying to get down to undo it was really difficult. I was just starting to worry when it broke at the ankle strap joint.
Epic report Stu...sorry you lost a great board but being able to test its limits and refine it for next time is all part of the reward.
That line about the culmination of experience, board design etc. is so true.
A great feeling.
Phil has a pic of the hapless Stu on his Insta account
So with latest forecast notes for East coast....buy a new leggie this week.
and maybe a flotation vest
Just have a new flotation vest and new only decent leggie
Dakine both fresh from Hawaii. They fail I drown
Bought an O&E Premium XT 7'/7mm leggie yesterday. Feels very solid; we shall see.
Thanks, Stu, for your report. Sounds like good times. I always wondered how a 7ft Byrning Spears single fin would go in solid surf. Maybe you should arrange a comparative test :-)
(Btw, for another Phil Myers 10 channel review, see Nick Carroll's report on beachgrit)
Yeah, saw that IB. I rang Phil yesterday and ordered another ten channel. When you're on a good thing...
I've had many snapped leggys at Lennox Point and 2 near drownings, one more severe than the other.
First one was Cyclone Sose, April 2001. It was proper 12-15ft out of the ENE. Absolutely bombing.
I had 4 goes at getting off the rocks. My fucking brother arsed it first go and snuck across the bank, while I wore 50 8-10ft top to bottom drainers down the inside.
4 goes at that and I was fucked and had given up and accepted the fact that I was going to watch my brother have the surf of his life.
Then I saw a lull and without thinking ran down and jumped off the rocks and got out. My brother caught one more magnificent 10 foot wave as i was paddling out and then I was out. Couldn't see anyone else out.
Caught one solid wave then got back out and the horizon went black.
First set wave broke 50 yards out from me, top to bottom and started barrelling left at me.
I went under it, felt a big shockwave and immediate leggy snap.
Then came up to a worst case step ladder set miles out the back. 10 wave set, 12-15ft. I dove shallow and let every wave wash me in as far as I could.
That flogged me to within an inch of life and by the time I got in I was weak in the knees and seeing stars. My board had been deposited by the first wave so high up on the rocks it didn't have a scratch on it.
Second near drowning a 6-8ft E swell day. We had a young baby. Sleepless night. I paddled out half asleep in a daze, went and sat right out the back thinking it was all easy peasy. Paddled for a set wave that just snuck in under me and turned then there was another black horizon.
!0 footers lined up to the shipping channel.
I tied to go deeper and paddle up and around the first set wave and that was the worst mistake, because the next one was pitching top to bottom and I was right in the impact zone for it.
That thing hit me so hard it knocked the air right out from me, I slammed into the bottom, it pinned me on the bottom. Swam up and then it sucked me right back down.
Because I was so deep by the time I fought back to the surface, just in time to get a gulp of air the next set was unloading, top to bottom on the same impact zone.
My brain went into a panic and I thought, seriously, I'm fcuked, I don't know if I will survive this.
It took me down, down, down. So deep, and I was fighting for my life to get back to the surface to breathe. And then everything went white, and I lost all the strength in my limbs and lost consciousness.
And then in a second I was breathing air and whitewater and coughing and spluttering and and had to dive under another wave that was about to hit me like a cement truck. This one I didn't even really dive under, I let it hit me and tried to hang onto consciousness so I didn't breathe water.
I came up and couldn't do anything except float and try and keep my head up to breathe.
I got washed in up near Red Rock, scrambled up on the rocks sideways like a crab and just lay on the rocks for a long time.
I had a loud ringing in my ears and I couldn't see properly. That lasted an hour or so.
Sose gave me a helluva beating too, FR.... Fucking T ree of all places :/
You can get a stronger leash which may help but the worst experiences I have had are snapped boards especially just above the fins. I was absolutely flogged in Indo and snapped my board just above the fins, you can't swim with it and it just drags you back. I was being absolutely flogged after copping some 8ft double up bombs on the head and swam out of the impact zone into the channel. Had to ditch what was left of my board and star the long swim in.
After about 30 mins I realised I was not going anywhere and still a long from shore and was getting gassed, after 45 mins I started having weird thoughts about how my mum was going to be angry with me for dying in such a stupid way, then I was angry at myself, it was kind of surreal. In the end I had to swim down to the next reef/point down where it was breaking on dry reef and just cop the flogging, it was a better option than drowning.
In retrospect when I was first getting flogged I should have just gone with it and not punched back out the back.
As Thermalben said and a lesson I have learnt - make sure you have a clear strategy of how you are going to get out.
Also, really understand what's happening with the conditions, what's the tide doing, is the swell building or falling. I have been in some scary situations with building swell where suddenly things have gotten really serious pretty quickly - Hawaii is classic for it.
Surfing some of the outside reefs in Samoa which are a good 30-45 min paddle out, swell builds and tide switches and suddenly those reef passes are raging rivers heading out to sea - that scared the living crap out of me, there was no way you swim in if you lost your board.
Thanks for that Freeride you just reinforced with me that im not up to anything more than 4-6 ft these days....reading that put the Willys up me !
Freeride you were lucky getting back in around at redrock....fuk sketchy.....
I've never been more glad to cop a flogging on those rocks than then.
And for anyone who does have to come in on rocky shoreline.....come in feet/bum first, not head first. Once you feel rocks keep going until you get onto dry land.
Yeah depends on the rocks too.... Round slimy boulders are cool.... Bit different down here.