In 2013, Dakine received troublesome feedback regarding its line of surf leashes from the company’s sponsored surf team. At the time, those products were considered to be among the best on the market and yet they still failed regularly when used on big waves like those found at the Peahi surf break in Hawaii. Located along Maui’s North Shore, that legendary surf spot — also known as “Jaws” — is home to some of the biggest waves on the planet. Dakine’s surfers found that they were routinely snapping their leashes, ultimately putting themselves in danger and sending their costly boards smashing onto the rocks along the shore. This prompted the company’s designers to go back to the drawing board with the hopes of building a better product. Now, four years later, those new leashes are finally available to customers.
With one end of the leash attached to a surfer’s ankle via a velcro curl and the other attached to the board itself, a leash is used to prevent the board from drifting away following a wipeout. This saves the surfer’s precious time and energy, keeping him or her from having to track down their board every time they fall off. It also means that the buoyant board is never too far away should the surfer find themselves exhausted in the water. The leash will also prevent a wayward board from getting in the way of others, prevent wipeouts and potential injuries to others, too. This makes a leash a good safety device for use anywhere, and pretty much essential gear for a place like Peahi.
When Dakine began its redesign project, it examined every component of its products to look for ways they could improve. Ultimately, this led to a full, end-to-end redesign, replacing hooks, velcro, urethane cords, and more. The designers discovered weak points that they were unaware of in previous versions and found ways to correct them. They were even able to make the cuffs that go around the ankle more comfortable to wear too, thereby eliminating a common excuse for not using a leash at all.
The video posted above tells the entire tale of this process from beginning to end, with Dakine staff members sharing their insights along with the pro surfers who were part of the leash redesign. The clip also shows some of the big waves that are found at Peahi, making it easier to understand the challenges of making a product that can stand up to that environment. It took four years to find the right solution, but the new leashes are better — and safer — than ever.
The leashes come in a variety of sizes and their price ranges from $24 to $70.
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