So what’s a paddle leash?
A paddle leash is, as the name suggests, a “leash for your paddle.”
The first end of the leash is a bungee that attaches to either you or your kayak. Where you attach this end of the leash is up to you—many people attach it to their life vest. Others, like me, attach it to their boat. In my case, I attach it to the rope I’ve strung down both sides of the kayak.
The second end of the paddle leash is velcro that is attached to the paddle’s shaft (the shaft is what the paddler holds when they paddle).
Why Should I Get a Paddle Leash?
To avoid being “up the creek without a paddle,” that’s why.
Ok, enough with the old sayings. But in this case, the old saying is very true, especially for solo paddlers.
To safely put your paddle down without losing it whilst having a rest or to take a photograph. Simply attach the leash to the shaft using the velcro attachment and either clip the other end to your deck line or slip it over your hand.
All kayak paddles float. So what happens if you drop your kayak paddle into the water? It floats. Depending on the strength or direction of the current, you might watch your kayak paddle float away and right out of reach.
While kayak paddles float, they tend to “float” slower than your kayak will. As such, if you drop a kayak paddle into the water you’ll watch helplessly as you and your kayak drift away downstream.
And if you don’t have a paddle, well, how are you going to retrieve it? Dive into the river, swim to it, and then swim back to kayak? While that would work, I guess, there’s certainly a simpler and drier way to deal with this problem.
And that’s by using a paddle leash. The leash attaches the paddle to you or your kayak, preventing the paddle from just “floating off on down the stream.”
Does the Leash Interfere With Paddling?
No. Just be sure to buy a leash that is fairly long (especially true for inflatable kayaks) and that you have a place next to where you sit to clip the leash (if you don’t want to clip the leash to your own life vest). If you do that, you’ll rarely even notice the paddle is leashed.