Introduction: How to Remove the Leash From Your Kiteboard and Why

Picture of How to Remove the Leash From Your Kiteboard and Why

After you've built your own kiteboard, you might be tempted to throw on a piece of rope or webbing and bungy cord to make sure it stays close. Don't. Learn how to body drag upwind. Here's why.

WARNING: graphic images of injury on steps 2, 3, and 4.

Step 1: Remove the Board Leash. Great, Now You're Done

Picture of Remove the Board Leash.  Great, Now You're Done

If you lose your board, you should already know how to body drag upwind. If not, search the web for the technique and ask someone at the beach to show you some of the finer points. Body dragging upwind has all sorts of advantages besides reclaiming your board and is the sort of thing you should really know if you're going to kitesurf.

Back in April, kiteboarding legend Pete Lynn came to visit and test out some prototypes at Squid Labs. After a great session, he gave me a lecture about how I shouldn't be using a board leash and how the most pain he's ever felt was in direct relation to a board leash. I brushed it off claiming I always wore a helmet and used a length of rope rather than an energy storage device, like a bungy, to attach my board.

Saul wants it to be known that he's been on my case for years to ride without a board leash.

So, Pete's back in town and yesterday it was windy, so we went to beach. Before going out on the water, he gave me another lecture about board leashes and again I acknowledged, but ignored it. It was windy and we had prototypes to test!

If you're the type of person who can learn something without, say, a blow to the head, you're done. Enjoy kiting without a leash. If you're like me, by all means, carry on to the next step!

WARNING: graphic images of injury follow!

Step 2: 1 Hour After

Picture of 1 Hour After

In about 20 knots of wind, I took a big jump, didn't stick the landing, and got separated from my board. The kite was still powered up and dragging me, so when the board popped loose of the water it rocketed right at my head. My helmet took most of the blow protecting the back and side of my head, but the board still managed to connect with my cheek.

When people ask if they should wear a helmet for kiting/biking/sailing/whatever, I always say I've invested too much in my head not to wear a helmet, but the choice is theirs. I think this would have been a lot worse if I hadn't been wearing a helmet.

Step 3: Next Morning

Picture of Next Morning

I stayed awake for a few hours under the observation of friends of family to make sure my brain continued to function properly (swelling as a result of head trauma can be fatal if not treated). The next morning all the broken blood vessels made their presence known through a massive black eye, blood in my white of my eye, and loads of blood in my nose.

I've learned my lesson! Hopefully you have too.

Step 4: 48 Hours Afterwards

Picture of 48 Hours Afterwards

It only gets worse before it gets better.


greenoobleck (author)2009-04-10

Next project-HELMET!!!

ewilhelm (author)greenoobleck2010-12-01

The helmet I was wearing is probably one of the key reasons I'm able to share this!

goeon (author)2008-09-29

outch that looks painful

shammallamaman (author)2008-08-24
Holy Cracker Face!!I have a new admiration for you
hammer9876 (author)2008-08-14

My mom's first words were always, "So, where's the blood?" I think you qualify. Second sentence: "Don't bleed on the carpet!" Owee!

Lithium Rain (author)2008-05-25

Those pictures are pitiful! Owie!

jake101 (author)2007-05-12

the bloody eye is most likely a result of a fractured jaw, your jaw swlling up when you sneeze with your mouth closed or blow your nose is air being forced into the hollow sinuses of the skull through the fractures, this air then escapes into the area between the skull and the skin on your cheek causing mild inflation that looks like swelling.... im not allowed to sneeze mouth closed or blow my nose for 4 weeks after a horrowshow bmx accident that smashed my face pretty good... hope your all healed well now anyway... just noticed how old this is... haha

ewilhelm (author)jake1012007-05-12

The only remaining visible damage is a small scar on right on the point of impact. When I press on my face with both hands, it seems that my face is no longer symmetric and that one of the plates of my skull was shifted as a result of this -- my right cheek bone feel "more prominent." I think there was some nerves impacted. A few of my front right top teeth feel more sensitive then the others, but this feeling seems to be passing. I did go and get a head x-ray. Instead of film it was all digital! Unfortunately, the techs running the machine had never had someone request to be emailed their x-ray and didn't know if they could.

killerjackalope (author)ewilhelm2008-03-05

I love the digital X-ray machines, they've made my hospital visits at least half an hour quicker and are so much fun, the ones at the dentists are even better you can get an image of the front half of your skull flattened, it's great fun... The only thing is it's impossible to acquire a nice transparency like the old ones now, all the files are digital, the patient files scared me a bit though, a doctor left a note warning others that though not averse to being stitched up I kept watching him do it. (new doctor was nervous because I had a large hole in my arm, he put too few stitches in so there was a note which he made a joke of.) The teeth thing passes quite slowly but will eventually, I've had a few head crunches resulting in that...

Yerboogieman (author)2007-11-23

so this is all because of the leash?

Weissensteinburg (author)2007-08-29 look so badass in the first picture of step two!

radiorental (author)2006-09-25

I'd like to flag this instructable. Nowhere contained within are instructions on removing said leash from piece of plywood masquerading as a kiteboard.

if you look under the initial introduction page of you will find that it tells you that this site is for posting instructions on things AND simply showing off what you've done. no offense.

he is showing off what he did... to his face.

extrememtbr69 (author)2006-12-05

shit man thats why i have never used a leash and probly never will. kite for life

Del (author)2006-10-04

Eit. Looks like you have helped your Halloween contest all by yourself.

radiorental (author)2006-09-25

Issue isnt so much the board being propelled towards you. Its the whole flying through the air at 30mph thing, being tailed by what can only be described as a very well tuned heat seaking missle. You hit the water, the board breaks its fall on you thanks to a litle guidance/hint from the leash, stretchy or not.

radiorental (author)2006-09-25

Thank goodness you're ok. I thought kooks only used leashes. Lessson learnt I guess. I have a huge gash up the back of my helmet and after that I thought the probably of a fin hitting the small percentage of my body covered by the lid was too small to justify a leash. However! using a leash has great advantage in some circumstances. I carry a 2' kite leash on the back of my harness for the times when I'm trying to relaunch my kite or I'm 'swiming it home' being able to free your hands yet remain near your board is useful. Also, the 2' length means it will only take out a kidney, not an eye. On that eye, I had one of those, you've burst a vessel under the layer of skin that covers the eyeball. If you're really lucky it will flood your entire eyeball and you end up looking like terminator. It should last for a month, turn brown and then dissappear.

ewilhelm (author)radiorental2006-09-25

The eye looks even worse this morning. The 2' length of rope sounds like a great idea. I bet I could coil it up, attach it with velcro to my harness, and never notice it until I actually needed it.

radiorental (author)ewilhelm2006-09-25

Actually I use sheath with a bungee inside. Sort of a homemade kiteleash.

leevonk (author)2006-09-25

If you just use a non stretchy rope instead of a bungee cord, the board wouldn't shoot at you like that would it?

ewilhelm (author)leevonk2006-09-25

The rope I was using was pretty non-stretchy. It was more of a dynamics problem than a static load-up-a-spring-and-fire problem.

flywoodkb (author)2006-09-25

Ow! I usually ride without a leash these and the ONE time I used one was when I borrowed a friend's surf-style board. I had a very mild snap back but the a sharp fin got me on the side of the head and I gushed blood. I didn't realize how much I was bleeding til I wiped my neck. I guess it was quite a horror show for the beach goers. Still have a nice scar from that incident.

irwinner (author)2006-09-24

all i have to say is ouch, that looks incredibally painful

TheCheese9921 (author)2006-09-24

your eye looks totaly freekin sweet its like a real life zombie rock on dude

ewilhelm (author)TheCheese99212006-09-24

Too bad it's not closer to Halloween!

About This Instructable




Bio: Eric J. Wilhelm is the founder of Instructables. He has a Ph.D. from MIT in Mechanical Engineering. Eric believes in making technology accessible through ... More »
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