How To Create a Leash Designed Specifically for Big Waves


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Updated 2219d ago

For the past five years, Dakine has been working with some of surfing's top hellmen in order to develop a leash specifically for big waves.

The Pe'ahi leash was designed using feedback from the likes of Albee Layer and Shane Dorian, perhaps two of the most prominent when Jaws goes XXL, in an attempt to make equipment strong enough to withstand an onslaught. We caught up with Dakine's Micah Nickes to talk what went into the leash's development and how tough it really is.

How has the Peahi leash been tested?
Micah: Most of the testing has taken place at Peahi.  For the last five years I’ve sat at the top of the cliff and observed how the leash failed. I also try to get a play by play of what the situation was like, was it from a fall, or did they get caught inside when a set came?

In the early phases of development, we also tied the leash to an old 1965 Chevy truck and connected the other end to a big Kiawe tree. The truck would speed off and the leash would eventually break.  That initially helped with identifying the common weak spots.  

What makes it different than other leashes?
Ultimately, the time and dedication we’ve put in. Also, having some of the heaviest athletes on the planet share their feed back on how we can make the leash better. Ian Walsh has played a huge part, so has Albee Layer and Shane Dorian.  The athlete feed back from those boys has been priceless.

Who's using it and what's there feedback?
Almost the whole Peahi line up is using our leashes. There are a group of mad men that will give me very valuable insight as to how to eliminate leash failure.

The Walsh Brothers, Shane Dorian, Albee Layer, Billy Kemper, and many more. Each season it’s been something different. When we correct a weak spot, by the laws of physics, the next weakest point becomes an issue.  We’ve had to thicken the cord substantially.

The leash has been developed using feedback from the likes of Albee Layer.

The leash has been developed using feedback from the likes of Albee Layer.

© 2023 - Aaron Lynton Productions

We’ve reinforced the molding pieces.  A big one was creating the perfect amount of flexibility from the cord to the leash cuff. The wave is so powerful that the leashes were blowing off of ankles. We added a tri-wrap the cuff to eliminate that issue.

We also had to remove velcro from the rail saver. The double leash strings were causing the velcro to split up this middle thus creating a weak spot that occasionally led to failure.

What size wave range is the leash made for?
Right now the leash is designed to handle the biggest waves that are being paddled.  As the crew continues to push the limits, its our duty to keep them safe. We will continue to reassess the leash and how we can make it better.

Talk us through some of the features.
12’ long, 11mm urethane cord, high quality velcro tri-wrap cuffs, re-designed molding end pieces, and a few other details that we’ll keep to ourselves.

How long has this been in development?
This is our 5th season of developing the Peahi leash.

On a side note; We've taken the same technology we’ve built in the Peahi leash and implement it into all the leashes we offer. For 2017 we are releasing a whole new re-design to our leashes. We are very confident that the new re-design is going to become the market leader of all leashes. Especially with John John Florence at the helm feeding us all his research and development. 

Like the sound of that? The leash will be available from mid-January and you can pick it up then by going HERE