This is where we will do our best to convince you not to wear or use a kite board leash, with or without a helmet. If you can't body drag back to your board yet, then we will inform you on the common mistakes you might be having, so you can be liberated from your kite surfing leash of doom. Not using a kite board leash is an integral part to kite surfing safety in the sport. Many people have excuses for why they use kitesurfing leashes, but there are viable explanations around every single reason you can come up with for why you don’t need a leash attached. The main concept for not having one is the ever-present possibility of your board leash acting as a bungee leash and will spring the board back at your head when you crash hard.

   Some reasons you will hear for wearing a kiteboard leash are: can’t body drag upwind, don’t want to drag too far from one’s kite board, waves will take the board into shore, not too good at carrying the board while flying the kite with one hand, and others. This web site is here to inform you of good techniques to avoid these problems. Please read on to find out more about why kite board leashes are bad practice, and will inevitably cause serious injury or death. First hand kite mares, explanations, tips, board leash alternative, and more about kite boarding safety continued below.

Can I wear a board leash with a helmet?

   It is common belief that if you decide to wear a board leash than it is all right as long as you choose to also wear a helmet to protect yourself from the board flinging back. This is a false belief. Please take a quick look at the pictures in the header. The helmet will protect the sides and the back of your head only. What if the board snaps back and hits you in the neck or the face? What if the kiteboard leash gets tangled around your lines or bar? A helmet won't help there either. Besides the danger of knocking you out cold in the water, your kite board can easy break your spine, causing instant paralysis if it hits you directly in the back of the neck. This will most definitely cause serious issues, and probably death.

Reel Leash

   Sorry, reel leashes are just as dangerous as fixed leashes. The idea that reel leashes will extend farther when you crash, so they won’t spring back at you is a myth. That extra length just gives them more potential energy and speed to whip back in your direction. Potentially, they could be more dangerous than a normal surf leash, which will break much easier than the nylon webbing used with most kite boarding reel leashes. Reel leashes have a tendency to get more tangled in your gear because of the extra slack. This can result in several kite safety accidents. You already have 4 and sometimes five lines in kitesurfing that you are dealing with, and trying to keep from tangling. Why add another line into the mix? You ever notice that when you kite lines lose tension; they tend to get knotted and wrapped around your body and gear. Most of the time this does not happen because your kite lines stay taught. But a board leash, on the other hand, does not stay under constant tension and therefore continually runs the risk of tangling in your gear.

   Static leashes are no better than reel leashes. There is an instance where the kite surfer’s leash wrapped the kiter’s neck as well as got tangled in her chicken loop. When the chicken loop came undone, the load of the kite was 100% around her neck. The kite she was using was a C-kite, known for there constant truck-like pull. Luckily the normal surf leash broke before doing too much damage. Her voice did not restore back to normal for 10 months because the leash crushed cartilage surrounding her voice box. The doctor said if the leash didn't have break when it did, she most have likely would have lost her voice for good.

   Some of you might be thinking, well she was using a C kite, and now most kites used are bow kites and depower more. The problem is that they are still not 100 percent de-power able, even though the kitesurfing companies claim they are. Think about what happens if a bridle gets wrapped around a wing tip of the kite. Now your kite is performing the death loop, and you are dragging to your death by suffocation hanging from your neck; not a pretty picture. DON’T WHERE A KITE LEASH!

   Besides the massive fact that kite board leashes are unsafe because they will load under pressure of a crash and whip back at your head and body, boards attached by static leashes also will wrap themselves in your bar and kiteboarding lines. This tends to happen when the kiteboarder or kitesurfer crashes and the board gets tossed through your bar and lines, or floats through while you are getting oriented in the water. Another instance that is prevalent is when kite surfing in the waves you sometimes get thrown over the falls (pushed under the water by waves and disoriented). The board will follow you because you are tethered to it, and as you fall into the water on the front side of the waves, the board rides the wave and is tossed over your head, generally through your kite bar and lines. Now, once you gain control of your kite again, you have to deal with at the very least your kite board leash passed through your control bar. Worst-case scenario, which is more often than not, is your board is now tied up in all your gear, creating a rats nest is the most important part of your bar safety, steering and de power. This will severely disable you to fly your kiteboarding kite properly, pull safeties, and be able to push your bar out.

Alternative to Kite Board Leash

   Some people may ask, "Is there is an alternative to kiteboarding with out a kite leash attached to their board?" The answer is yes there is. A industry leading company called Ocean Rodeo, makes a product called the GoJoe Board Recovery System. The GoJoe 2.0 Leashless Board Recovery Tool is an inflated micro-sail, which mounted under the grab handle of the board. When you lose the board upwind up you, it will right the board automatically, and then the Go Joe will act as a sail catching wind and sail downwind back to you. This item is not the coolest piece of equipment to bring to the beach, but you will get more respect with a Go Joe than with a board leash, because it won't kill you. And we have yet to find any accidents directly involving a Go Joe.

Check out the video of the Go Joe in action.


GO – JOE™ No Leash recovery tool

No more kiteboarding leash! The unique hour glass design of the inflatable tube structure places the self righting buoyancy at a high pivot point. This distribution of flotation will power roll your board right side up if it lands foot straps down in the water, (foot straps down create drag, slowing the boards drift) With the board right side up and foot strap resistance eliminated, the GO – Joe™ is positioned on the board forward of center allowing the wind to turn and sail the GO – Joe ™ down wind towards the rider. If the rider maintains their position with the kite at the zenith the board will simply sail downwind towards you. The hour glass shaped design of the GO – Joe™ fits comfortably between the riders feet and does not restrict mobility. The hour glass shape also eliminates drag caused by spray from the boards rails The GO – Joe™ is very light and durable using our proven manufacturing techniques.


The inflatable tubes are manufactured with the same techniques and materials used on our kite tubes. 110 micron PU inner bladder with HD Nylon outer cover. Bomber! Deck mounting plate uses the same construction as our foot pad deck plates.


Traditional surfboard style leashes used to connect kiters with their boards have proven to be dangerous in both the water and on land. The GO – Joe™ is a new “leash free” tool to assist in the retrieval of your kiteboard without fear of being impacted or impeded by a leashed board. The GO – Joe™ is perfect for beginners and intermediates learning board recovery techniques. Advanced riders will appreciate the faster board recovery in extreme conditions or while learning new tricks.


The GO – Joe™ is an inflatable tube structure attached to deck of the kiteboard that uses the natural forces of buoyancy distribution and wind to roll you kite board right side up and accelerate it down wind. These features combined with high visibility and additional floatation will make the use of surfboard style leashes in kiteboarding obsolete.

Purchase the Go Joe Kite Board Recovery Tool

Kite board leash injuries and fatalities

People have died as a direct result of kiteboard leashes and reel leashes. Through the years we have kept records of several instances where kiteboard leashes have ruined peoples lives and caused serious harm to kiters. Please check out our page dedicated to kiteboard leash horror stories and testimonials.

There are no reported cases of where kiteboard leashes saved lives, or helped people more than just allowing the kiter to recover their board a few seconds faster, but on the other hand, there are several instances where they have seriously harmed individuals using them, sending them to the hospital and sometimes the morgue.

How to learn to body drag upwind

    One of most common reasons why people believe that they need a kiteboard leash attached to their person is because they never learned how to properly body drag upwind to rescue their board. This is a problem, because now you feel like you need to attach your board to yourself to keep from losing it upwind of you as you drift farther and farther away. This concept needs to be dealt with immediately upon learning how to control the kite in the water. If you can’t body drag upwind then you have no reason to be in the sport of kite surfing. This skill is completely necessary. If you don’t know how to do it, then learn immediately or stop kiteboarding until you have perfected this skill.

   The upwind body drag is important for more than just recovering your board. You will need to utilize this skill if perhaps the wind dies and you can no longer ride on your board to get back to land. You can still use the technique to slowly drag back to land. It takes less wind and lift to slowly drag you through the water than to stand up out on top of the water and ride to shore. You also may find that you sometimes lose other things while riding, such as our hat or sunglasses or anything else. Now you need to get back upwind to them before they disappear, and the quickest way and most efficient is to body drag with your board back to recover the lost items.

   The most common error is that most people are trying to go upwind too fast by pointing the arm in the water WAY too much upwind. This results in slipping sideways, just like a sailboat will do, if you point it too high into the wind. Instead, try to angle your body so that you are only slightly pointing upwind, maybe 10 - 20 degrees. Remember that the board is drifting down wind, so you really don't have to go upwind to retrieve it, all you really have to do is stay even with where you are at. If you can at least do this, the board will be blown down wind to you.

   Since some people are worried that they will lose their board that they paid a lot of money for, one way to go about this is to purchase a used kiteboard, which will greatly lower the cost of a lost board if you cannot recover it while kiteboarding at your local spot. Another useful tip is to write your name and contact information on the board, so if someone else finds it, there is a better chance of returning it to you.

How Do I Safely Get Into Kiteboarding

   Kiteboarding and kitesurfing have become more accessible than ever to get involved with. There are many kiteboarding schools and certified instructors throughout almost every country in the world. If you are looking to start kite boarding, then you need to get kitesurfing lessons from a certified professional, not from you friend who has some gear, or purchasing your own Leading Edge Inflatable kiteboarding kites and learning on your own. Even thought the kite equipment and gear has become more safe in terms of depower capabilities and re-launch ability, kite surfing is still very dangerous, and weather can be very unpredictable. You may be able to learn parts of the sport on your own as you go, but there is a ton of information that can be delivered to you by professional that will save you countless hours of distress and pain.

   If you have never flown a two line or four line kite, then please don’t purchase a large kite surfing kite and try to teach yourself. These are expensive, dangerous, and large kites that take a lot of knowledge and practice to be able to safely maneuver and steer. Doing that is similar to having never driven a car before, and now you decide you are going to drive a semi-truck on the highway in heavy traffic. It is an ignorant notion to believe that you can do this without any proper guidance or previous practice in safer conditions.

   To be able to control the large inflatable kites in the sky, it is best to practice with smaller trainer versions of the kites used for kiteboarding. Kite flying safety is a necessity in the sport, and with out the proper hands on experience under controlled environments, then you will suffer severe consequences. The first thing you should do once you decide that you want to start kite boarding, is to purchase a kiteboard trainer kite. You can find these kites at most kite shops, and lesson centers. The trainer kites are small versions of the large inflatable kiteboarding kites. They are much safer because the kiteboard trainer kites are usually only 2-3 meters of canopy size, while the large actual kite surfing kites can range from 6 meters to 20 meters, which provide an intense more amount of pull and grunt. The kite boarding trainer kites will teach you how to properly steer and fly the kites without the consequences of being dragged along land or in the water while still in the learning process. These kites are integral to kiteboarding safety and kite surfing safety, and after much practice flying them, you will become more comfortable with the power and maneuvering of the kites, which directly relates to the movements/ muscle memory needed to deal with the large Leading Edge Inflatable kites.

   Once you have mastered the trainer kite, then you are ready to the lessons where you will learn about the kite flying safety and safety release mechanisms of the kite surfing kites. Being able to properly control and steer the small trainer kites, will give you a huge advantage in the learning process from that point on because you already know how to react to the kite without paying it too much attention, so when you are ready you will be able to more quickly get situated on the kite. Find a qualified PASA (professional air sports association) or IKO (international kiteboarding organization) school to teach you the next steps in the extreme sport of kitesurfing. It is important to find a qualified instructor and school, because they are responsible for your safety, and it is necessary that they know exactly what they are doing in their profession.