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Surfers reminded to use a board leash

Wednesday, December 15, 2021   Posted in: Signatory Notice Board By: Administrator With tags: water, prevention, safety, recreation

Environment Canterbury media release: 15th December 2021

Surfers are being reminded to wear a board leash when out on the water this summer, after a small number have been observed surfing without leashes on very busy days in Sumner.

Part of global ‘surfer’s code’

Stand-up paddleboarders are required to wear a leash whilst paddling under the Canterbury Navigation and Safety Bylaw. However it’s not currently mandatory for surfers or hydrofoilers.

Deputy Harbourmaster Guy Harris said that whilst it’s not explicitly stated, it’s part of the global ‘surfer’s code’.

“Surfing is a sport of very few rules, but wearing a leash is one of them.”

Harris said that he noticed a small number of surfers not wearing a leash while surfing recently.

“If a surfer falls off when not wearing a leash and loses their board, it continues at an uncontrolled speed for some distance - often all the way to the beach, which can cause injuries to other water users. Kids, swimmers and beginner surfers are particularly vulnerable as they tend be in between the beach and the breaking part of the wave.

“Being separated from the board also puts the board user in a vulnerable situation, especially if they’re a significant distance from shore.”

“Riding without a leash - on any kind of board - is an accident waiting to happen. I’m a regular surfer myself and never surf without one.” he said. “Not wearing one puts other people at risk”.

Surfboard leashes hassle-free

Harris said he wanted to remind surfers that leashes are cheap and hardly noticeable when worn.

“They have practically zero effect on your surfing - perhaps other than to give you some confidence that you won’t lose your board and potentially ruin someone’s day - or even their life,” he said.