Silver Cord: the humble legrope goes high tech

Stu Nettle
Swellnet Dispatch

It wasn't so long ago that the humble boardshort got promoted up the ranks. With a few dabs of rubber added to the waist strap and the odd velcro patch they became 'tech' boardshorts. All this while other more important surf equipment kept getting made the same as it always had.

Take the legrope for example, an ankle strap and cord joined by a length of plain urethane. Yeah, there have design innovations, the rail saver and the swivel for instance, but each was invented before 1990. Since then - nothing.

Craig Drysdale is a South African surfer and he's just launched the Silver Cord, a legrope with a truly clever design. It may not be for everyone, but for surfers who can't afford to break a legrope, say while surfing big waves or in sharky waters, it's worth a closer inspection.

The Silver Cord looks similar to all other leggys on the market; an ankle strap and cord joined by a length of plain urethane. However, the urethane has a hollow section and inside that is the eponymous 'silver cord'.

silvercord-leash-cord.jpg

If the urethane breaks then the silver cord activates and the surfer remains tethered to their board. Drysdale wont say what the silver cord is made of, except that it's waterproof, UV resistant, and has an average break strength of 365 kilograms. He's adamant that it'll cover any situation in the surf.

If the urethane breaks the surfer has a choice to continue surfing - though the cord has no stretch and would hurt like a bastard if it wrapped around your leg in a wipeout - or return to shore and swap it out. All the parts, rail saver, strap, and cord, can be interchaged and replaced.

As the Silver Cord is designed with serious waves in mind, Drysdale has dropped another little feature into the mix. The BSD, or Bail Safe Device, is a quick release pin that can be pulled when a surfer doesn't want to be attached to their board.

silvercord-surfboard-leash-systems2.jpg

The Silver Cord isn't on the market yet, but Craig Drysdale has taken it to Surf Expo in America with an eye on international trade deals. Our guess is that surfers who paddle big or sketchy waves, or even just those who don't want to lose a new stick on the rocks, will be taking a closer look at this little legrope.

Comments

pointy's picture
pointy's picture
pointy commented Wednesday, 7 Sep 2016 at 11:13am

Everything old is new again

All of the early legropes that I owned in 80's were like this

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo commented Wednesday, 7 Sep 2016 at 11:20am

Similar to the 70s ones.

dfinnecy's picture
dfinnecy's picture
dfinnecy commented Wednesday, 7 Sep 2016 at 11:52am

What is a 'rail saver'?

Darren

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Wednesday, 7 Sep 2016 at 1:00pm

leash-parts.jpg

clif's picture
clif's picture
clif commented Wednesday, 7 Sep 2016 at 5:56pm

A rail saver does NOT work unless your string hangs over the rail of the board. Trust me.

"Don't try. That's very important: not to try." Charles Bukowski

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Wednesday, 7 Sep 2016 at 1:10pm

Or better still, this ad from 1978 (when then were apparently first introduced).

From SurfResearch: http://www.surfresearch.com.au/agr.html

surfer99's picture
surfer99's picture
surfer99 commented Wednesday, 7 Sep 2016 at 12:09pm

Legripes are for kooks

memlasurf's picture
memlasurf's picture
memlasurf commented Wednesday, 7 Sep 2016 at 1:12pm

Yeah I remember the early Balin ones had a rubber sleeve over a nylon cord. Shitful. The rubber probably lasted 2 surfs then you were left with the unforgiving nylon. Yes what goes around comes around.

nogo's picture
nogo's picture
nogo commented Wednesday, 7 Sep 2016 at 1:25pm

I like the pin pull release, great idea!

frog's picture
frog's picture
frog commented Wednesday, 7 Sep 2016 at 1:32pm

A key thing is how long is the silver cord? If you get a huge stretch and it hits the extended length of the cord it will create a sudden shock, same if the flex bit breaks. This used to happen with the old rubber tube with braided nylon cords inside them in the 70s. Mostly this is okay but often it will just pull the plug out of your board. Plugs are not that strong. They rarely pull out because the stretch with modern leg ropes is gradual. Plus a hollow tube will be a lot weaker.

Go gadget

Frogg

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Wednesday, 7 Sep 2016 at 1:40pm

I was thinking the same.

fitzroy-21's picture
fitzroy-21's picture
fitzroy-21 commented Wednesday, 7 Sep 2016 at 2:03pm

Looks like the stainless steel screen braiding found inside instrumentation cables used to protect the inner cores..

AndyM's picture
AndyM's picture
AndyM commented Wednesday, 7 Sep 2016 at 2:35pm

Might be Spectra, Dyneema or some similar exotic cordage - extremely strong and much lighter than stainless.
Would be very easy to stuff more than enough length inside an outer sheath.

migstar's picture
migstar's picture
migstar commented Wednesday, 7 Sep 2016 at 2:49pm

Interchangeable and replaceable parts - nice! I've a box full of broken leggies/recycled as dog leashes sitting around all because the poly cord snapped.

goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot commented Wednesday, 7 Sep 2016 at 2:56pm

How much weight does it add to a leggy?

AndyM's picture
AndyM's picture
AndyM commented Wednesday, 7 Sep 2016 at 5:26pm

By my estimation, 6ft of 5mm Spectra weighs about 75 grams.

Offset against loss of weight in leggie due to polyurethane sheath being hollow, so total weight gain wouldn't be much I'd guess.

Just saw that 5mm Spectra has a tensile strength of over 2 ton, so suspect he's using something thinner and lower quality than that.

Fleazool's picture
Fleazool's picture
Fleazool commented Wednesday, 7 Sep 2016 at 4:31pm

Can't remember the last leggy that broke? Tend to get a massive hyperextension of the cord that'll ruin it but not snap it.

clif's picture
clif's picture
clif commented Wednesday, 7 Sep 2016 at 5:59pm

Once the urethane breaks would the 'silver' cut your foot off? Please answer. I would like to know if I have the potential for litigation in the future or not, my dole payments are to be canceled forthwith.

"Don't try. That's very important: not to try." Charles Bukowski

AndyM's picture
AndyM's picture
AndyM commented Wednesday, 7 Sep 2016 at 6:37pm

A fella I used to work with told me a story.

He was doing illegal sailing charters in Sydney Harbour (his boat wasn't in survey).

He didn't have a proper anchor windlass setup, just an anchor tied to some thin Spectra or Dyneema or whatever.

One of his guests somehow got involved with dropping the anchor, got the line caught around his hand and had three fingers taken clean off.

Your average surf conditions probably wouldn't generate these forces clif but you could always persevere!

Coaster's picture
Coaster's picture
Coaster commented Wednesday, 7 Sep 2016 at 7:50pm

Don't they say shiny things attract sharks?

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain commented Thursday, 8 Sep 2016 at 9:02am

And women from the Eastern suburbs.

(Can I say that these days?)

1173

saltman's picture
saltman's picture
saltman commented Thursday, 8 Sep 2016 at 9:52am

same same

saltman's picture
saltman's picture
saltman commented Thursday, 8 Sep 2016 at 9:52am

same same

Coaster's picture
Coaster's picture
Coaster commented Thursday, 8 Sep 2016 at 7:51pm

Haha, touché. They might be harder to shake loose too.

ljkarma's picture
ljkarma's picture
ljkarma commented Thursday, 8 Sep 2016 at 8:03am

hey Stu , did Mr Drysdale send you a sample to test?

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Thursday, 8 Sep 2016 at 8:32am

No, I only heard about it via a South African journo who gave me the info you read above. Wouldn't mind seeing one though I reckon their best use is in huge paddle entry waves, so not something I have a need for.

ljkarma's picture
ljkarma's picture
ljkarma commented Thursday, 8 Sep 2016 at 9:04pm

Ok so the info in your piece is 2nd hand at best so who takes responsibility for quotes like "a truly clever design" ?
Ask em for a sample and go test it or have an appropriate big wave freak test it before plugging it...just saying!

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Friday, 9 Sep 2016 at 8:48am

I take responsibility for it. I think it is a clever design, yet if it doesn't work as planned then it would be bad execution, or maybe bad mechanics, but a metal rope and pull pin is good design.

Just saying...

ljkarma's picture
ljkarma's picture
ljkarma commented Friday, 9 Sep 2016 at 11:27am

I guess the issue is that statistically I would have thought more surfers have drowned because their leash got snagged and they could not get free than have drowned by loosing their board.
Release pins have been around for 15 years (maybe SurfMore was first) and they had a release cord that came higher near the knee as it was well recognised that getting to your ankle to pull the pin can be impossible in certain situations.
Also Fanning maybe would not be alive today if he was wearing one of these and the Noah could not bit through the leash. Getting dragged under water by a large shark would do you in and no way could you release.
So good luck to them and hope they carry very large insurance!

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Friday, 9 Sep 2016 at 11:34am

"I guess the issue is that statistically I would have thought more surfers have drowned because their leash got snagged and they could not get free than have drowned by loosing their board."

Don't think too many people are snagging the bottom at Waimea, Jaws, Todos, Mavs, Two Mile, YB , Dungeons or wherever else "big wave freaks" surf big waves. By their nature they're deep water waves.

Bit of a long bow with the Mick Fanning shark analogy, but keep trying, I'm sure you can find more reasons to dislike it.

memlasurf's picture
memlasurf's picture
memlasurf commented Friday, 9 Sep 2016 at 12:18pm

Ha, Ha yes you would need an aqualung to snag a leggie at one of those spots. And you will probably call me a semantic dick however I heaps prefer Leggie to leash. Good Aussie word like Rashie rather than jersey. Jersey is a rugby league word which doesn't rate a mention down here. We used to call them jumpers. Australia has some great words which seem to get gobbled up by the unstoppable roll of the USA English. Another pet hate is the WSL calling rocks bricks. WTF calls them bricks outside of the US? There ends todays rant.

AndyM's picture
AndyM's picture
AndyM commented Friday, 9 Sep 2016 at 3:39pm

Maybe worth a thread of its own Memla.

U.S. English seems unstoppable - I keep telling fellas at the pub when they go to the "bathroom", there ain't no bath in there and if you think there is, it's probably time to go home (and have a shower).

memlasurf's picture
memlasurf's picture
memlasurf commented Friday, 9 Sep 2016 at 4:19pm

Your right I got off topic completely and yes I prefer dunny or thunderbox however toilet will suffice.

AndyM's picture
AndyM's picture
AndyM commented Friday, 9 Sep 2016 at 5:41pm

Wasn't trying to shut you down, I do think that it's a topic worth talking about.

memlasurf's picture
memlasurf's picture
memlasurf commented Monday, 12 Sep 2016 at 10:20am

Nah was only pulling your leg, having a lend of you - another couple of golden oldies. As long as don't start they rhyming slang I shouldn't need any medication.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Friday, 9 Sep 2016 at 12:31pm

Would be interesting to compare stats on drowning from legropes getting snagged up though, just in the past few years here there was one at the Wreck, one at Broken Head and there's been one or two from Lennox Point where legropes entanglement has led to a fatality .

bigtreeman's picture
bigtreeman's picture
bigtreeman commented Friday, 9 Sep 2016 at 3:43pm

I remember a picture of a surfer with a leg stretched an extra 6 feet cause of the cord in his old style leg-rope, might a been in an old Tracks mag.
If your neoprene leg-rope snaps it is too old or too light, or you just need some swimming exercise.
A metal rope is just plain dangerous, who the fuck thought of that.

Go well,
Colin

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo commented Friday, 9 Sep 2016 at 3:47pm

Slater design legropes have a Kevlar core don't they ?

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Friday, 9 Sep 2016 at 3:49pm

Yep. Not out yet though.

Not sure how much give Kevlar has.

benski's picture
benski's picture
benski commented Friday, 9 Sep 2016 at 4:31pm

There's always the speculation from Riding Giants about Mark Foo's leggie getting snagged on the bottom at Mavs

https://vimeo.com/49425260

And these examples of the shallow water snaggings there

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RO-bOgqvseQ

ljkarma's picture
ljkarma's picture
ljkarma commented Friday, 9 Sep 2016 at 5:34pm

thank you Benski. That highlights exactly what my point was.

Stu, who said I disliked it? I was just making a few observations in the absence of any un biased test/review of a 'leggie' that is getting quite a wrap here on SN. One could misread it as an endorsement, which is cool if that is what SN is prepared to commit to.

Wasn't a young pro drowned at Margrets (big wave spot) by getting 'leggie' snagged?

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Friday, 9 Sep 2016 at 5:45pm

1) If normal legropes are snagging and killing people, as per info above, then having a metal inner wont matter.

2) Unlike most other legropes on the market this has a quick release device if you did get snagged. That makes it safer then most other legropes.

Problem is...?

simba's picture
simba's picture
simba commented Friday, 9 Sep 2016 at 6:05pm

If you cant reach it ,happened to me last year in very shallow water ,boards wrapped around a rock but current was real strong so real hard to reach,can see how guys have drowned with waves coming thru.....

simba

goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot commented Friday, 9 Sep 2016 at 6:33pm

How'd you react? it'd be pretty scary id imagine.

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo commented Friday, 9 Sep 2016 at 6:16pm

In huge surf I still reckon you need a starter cord from thigh or waist to the quick release clip, first reaction is to try and reach down to your ankle which is near impossible at times...its takes a few seconds to gell that you need to bend your leg to get to it .

wally's picture
wally's picture
wally commented Friday, 9 Sep 2016 at 6:21pm

The tip is, don't try to just reach out with your hands to get the leash off your ankle. Instead, draw yourself in by bending your legs until you can reach your ankle with ease.
Everybody should probably practice this.

Wharfjunkie's picture
Wharfjunkie's picture
Wharfjunkie commented Saturday, 10 Sep 2016 at 7:19pm

As Wally said use your legs and core muscles.
As for the leg rope I imagine the tube would be weaker than solid plastic and the steel wire even though it looks to be braided would be fucking stiff after the tube breaks likely rendering the leggie string and leash plug the next weakest points. Guess someone will have to test it out to prove its worth. Not something the average surfer would require.

crustt's picture
crustt's picture
crustt commented Monday, 12 Sep 2016 at 12:45pm

I don't know why you all think the average surfer would not need a leggie that is unlikely to break. I'm an average surfer and 8' is about my limit, not having a leggie break sounds good to me. Loosing a board onto rocks or out to sea is a bit costly and in the last few years I've broken more than a couple of legropes within the first week and they were replaced, but I doubt if I had have damaged or lost my board any of the makers would have coughed up.
If these leggies are that strong and the can handle 3 times the size I surf, that will do me. :-)

Mackie's picture
Mackie's picture
Mackie commented Friday, 16 Sep 2016 at 2:12pm

These Silver Cord leashes are infringing existing domestic and international surf leash patents. I don't think they will get to market, and if they do, it will be short lived.

Mackie's picture
Mackie's picture
Mackie commented Friday, 16 Sep 2016 at 2:12pm

These Silver Cord leashes are infringing existing domestic and international surf leash patents. I don't think they will get to market, and if they do, it will be short lived.