DIY Surfboard Leash Cord Mod

The surfboard leash, in my opinion, is a good thing.

Have them pull a sled next time

Talk to some “old school” surfers, and they’ll call it a Kook Cord, meaning that only newer, clumsier surfers require being attached to their surf craft. I say leashes are litigation deterrents- a little insurance in a crowded lineup of surfers and swimmers. If I’m alone and the surf’s small, okay, I’ll skip da leash. Otherwise, better to be safe all around.

My issue has been finding a decent lightweight leash that’s 9′ long to use with my longboards. The Comp weight doesn’t seem to tangle as much as the thicker cord types, but the 9’+ length can be tricky to find. I’m never going to surf Pipeline, so I don’t need the reinforced titanium nitro supa thick variety. Also, for longboarding, I like to use a Knee Leash as opposed to an Ankle Leash to help keep it from being tangled around my feet. Hopefully.

I ended up buying an XM 9′ Comp leash I found and just wrapping the ankle strap around my knee instead.

Freakin’ hurts

Ow. The exposed edges of the Velcro raked the heck out of the back of my knee after a few weeks of use. Since open wounds and ocean water make for a doctor’s visit, I decided to make the strap a bit more comfy.

First, I took off the side of the strap with a seam ripper.

It came apart pretty easily

I saved the pull tab to reattach it later

Using some scrap neoprene taken from the chest panel of an old wetsuit, I made an extender strip as wide as the original leash strap.

I used the chest panel since it’s got a rubber layer over the neoprene

Once I had my new longer neoprene strip ready, I glued it back into place using E6000 industrial glue. I had some nylon thread as a backup, but I didn’t need it! Woo Hoo!

I sandwiched one end with glue on both sides

I used quilting clips to hold everything in place while it dried

Next, I took a bit of the loopy side of some 2″ Industrial Velcro and used glue with the adhesive on the back of the strip, similar to what I did on the Board Bag mod.

I used a lot of glue

Clamped and drying

I gave the leash about 48 hours inside to fully cure, since the weather’s been so hot.

Much better!!!!

After surfing with it

It feels MUCH better on my leg now, with no more burn. Hey- if I’m going to get rug burn from Velcro, I’m going full YOLO….

Aim high kids

Surf Kit on a Rope

I’m always into anything that can avoid a ruined surf session. And honestly, most surfy accessories and gear can be DIY’d. Always a good thing, right Martha?

So here’s an easy, cheap DIY in case those Carbon/Kevlar/Titanium/Plutonium fins get busted out by your shred style, brah.

So, you’ll need:

  • Sculpey III, or Premo! Modeling Clay (the clay needs to be a bit on the soft side, unlike a FIMO type clay)
  • A blade to cut the clay
  • Thin Paracord
  • Toothpicks or a heavy duty needle
  • Fin screws
  • Fin Key

Most of these items can be picked up at a craft store, with the exception of the Fin Screws and Key, of course.

I cut off a bit of clay from the block and rolled it into a thick tube. My polymer clay modeling skills are terrible these days, but I’m going for function, not style, like these guys:

I cut off the ends, then screwed one of the fin screws into each end of the approximately 1.5 inch long cylinder using the fin key. I did this when the clay was soft and left them in, even while baking. To screw these in soft clay, go slowly, and apply light pressure. Don’t screw past the top of the cylinder! This is why I hate hard, crumbly clay for this project.

Don’t worry. The screws won’t come out after baking unless you unscrew them using a Fin Key.

In the center, I used my needle to make 2 toggle holes for the Paracord to go through later:

I placed the clay on a silicone sheet and put it in my home oven at 230 degrees F for 80 minutes to ensure it baked throughout the clay.

After it was cooled completely, I didn’t need to do anything to the piece. Since it’s a type of plastic, there’s no need for sealants, and it’s waterproof. You can sand the piece, but I’m still going for function.

I threaded the Paracord through the holes, made a Lark’s Head Knot over the fin key, knotted the ends together, and now I’ve got three handy item types in one:

  • Fin Key
  • Fin Screws
  • Leash Loop (or multiple, depending on how much Paracord you use)

Yes, it screws another one right back in, so you can put replacements on since the threads on one company’s fin system generally stays the same, which in most of my boards is FCS.

You can take this with you anywhere, just be careful making it a necklace to wear while you surf. If it’s too long, it can come up and smack you in da face.

Could happen. To me.

DIY Upcycled Neoprene Pouch Keychain

This week has been cray cray. The stress of the holidays is approaching, and you can see it around Cocoa Beach with the influx of angry out of towners. And here I thought the ocean was supposed to be soothing.

Instead of getting out in the crazy shopping melee tomorrow, MAKE something useful out of your old wetsuit, since you’re probably getting a new one anyways. Even if you’ve been naughty and stealing my waves, you wanker.

I used a scrap of Neoprene from a machine washed wetsuit sleeve for the main part of this pouch. Machine washing is OK and DESIRED if it is to be used for crafting! The Velcro and nylon webbing piece came from another old surfing vest zip back. I cut the piece of Velcro in half so it would span the top flap and keep it closed.

I also used a keychain ring with a clip from the hardware store, and some heavy duty nylon thread in purple and black to sew everything. You can use Neoprene repair glue if you want to glue the pieces instead, but I hand sewed everything on.

I cut the sleeve just a few inches above the wrist, then cut away a little on the inside, leaving a top flap to put the Velcro on:

I sewed the clip and strap onto the back of the pouch also:

Done- and useful for putting all sorts of surfy stuff in, like surf wax, fin screws, leash loops, etc. Schweet.

Now, wasn’t that more fun than dealing with the holiday chaos?

DIY Save-A-Surf Kit

I’ll admit it- I’m always a fool for lovely new surfing accessories and innovations. Other “hard core” surfers won’t readily admit being dazzled by the next new thing, but I love looking at the advancements and creativity in the field of surfing. I just think it’s fun, and it makes it more fun for everyone, hopefully.

Ventana Surf Box

Recently, I saw this really nice, fancy pants Save a Surf Box from Ventana Surfboards recently. It’s super classy, unlike me. I thought it had a lot of smart features in it I could emulate in a DIY version. Hey, mine’s not made from the finest Vineyard Caskets in Napa Valley, but it just MIGHT get stolen from the CB Pier Drunk, so there’s that.

I wanted to make one even smaller, with the contained items more suited to me. Here’s the parts:

Leash Loop

Make a paracord leash loop using the tutorial here.

Leash loop from 550 paracord

The Container 

I used a fairly small prescription bottle for the container, with a locking lid. Drill or punch a hole in the top of the plastic lid to accommodate the leash loop through the top, without allowing the double knot to pass through the top.

Standard Rx bottle with a safety latch

You can either cover the bottle by using stickers, or paint the bottle with paint pens. You don’t have to do this if your bottle is tinted, though. Just remember that you’ll have money, wax and duct tape in this, so you may want to keep direct sun and prying eyes off of it (plus, it just looks less script bottle, kinda). If you paint the plastic, give it a light sanding before painting to help it stick better. Use a sealant coat over your paint job when you finish.

Sanding off the logo and the surface a bit with some 320 grit

I did put a sticker on the outside of the bottle, but I still wanted to cover it better. Here’s my crocheted cover, artfully crafted while slurping Diet Coke on the patio. It’s made from the finest procured nylon cording Hobby Lobby had on sale….whatevah.

It’s like a tiny “Le Sac”. Remember those?!?

Screws

I didn’t want to just dump screws in here without encasing them in something, so I used a bit of clear packing tape and cut a notch to make an easy tear of each pouch. I put 3 FCS, and 1 single fin screw (thumbscrew head,no screwdriver needed).

Lay the screws on the sticky side of the tape, then fold over onto it’s self

Cut notches in the tape to allow the pouches to be torn open easily



Allen Wrench or Fin Key

Self explanatory. You can also use a fin key if it fits.

Wax

I took a small piece of my hardest Tropical wax and wrapped it in a hint of cling wrap. The reason I use the hardest wax is that for modern formulations, I’ve read that harder wax covers more temperature ranges. So, I guess I don’t need to worry about changing it out in the Emergency Kit as often then. We’ll see.

I only could fit a small nugget of wax in the kit, so I warmed it up a bit with my hands to make a small cylinder, like with modeling clay.

Wrapping the wax just in case the car gets too hot!



Duct Tape

The duct tape I have comes in a little different form. Some smaller hardware stores sell it this way, larger craft stores sell it like this. It’s a “sticker sheet” of duct tape. Quite handy.

You can get this in many prints now.


Using these sheets, I cut a small rectangle in case I get a ding on the surfboard and need to seal it in a pinch. Nice bright color too, it’ll remind me to take care of the boo-boo.

Alcohol Wipes

If I do get that aforementioned surfboard ding, I’ll need to clean off the board before putting duct tape on it. Alcohol wipes are really handy for that.

Always handy to have


They’re also handy if you need to clean a ding on YOUR body. Which brings us to…

Band-Aid

Just one, like in the movie Endless Summer.


Cash for a Big Gulp

I know the classy Save a Surf Box has a beer bottle opener, but if I am without my 64 ounces of heavenly diet soda fountain refreshment at all times, things can get ugly. This is for the safety of the beachgoing public.

I put $1.25 inside, enough for a Diet Coke mug refill, and if I need it, I can use the quarter as a screwdriver for my Beater Board to remove the twin fins if I want.

The quarter is folded inside the dollar- kinda Origami

Done!

That’s a lot of stuff!


So this Save a Surf Kit contains:

  • Leash loop
  • Allen wrench 
  • FCS screws
  • Single fin screw and nut
  • Piece of duct tape for dings
  • 2 Alcohol swabs
  • Cash/Quarter coin (Softboard fin screw remover)
  • Band Aid
  • Wax Nug

Tryin’ to go for the nautical look


Here ya go, ready to stash in da car or da bike. Its a little Martha Stewart, with a little West Coast Rollin’ baby….

Stewart’s ridin’ dirty

DIY Leash Loops

Leash loops are the forgotten little part of the surf equipment ensemble that can screw your day royally.

They are the most likely to break, get lost, almost be worn through, and then they are never available when you need them. And that is when you’re getting ready to go paddle out. Right. Now.

I’ve actually hand-braided cord on a disk in the past to make mine, but, here’s a cheaper, faster way of making a crazy amount of them in no time. Keep a few for yourself in the car, put some in with wax and a wax comb as surfer’s stocking stuffers, or give them out in the lineup after you burn fellow surfers on waves. Always a nice gesture, Kelly Slater would say “it’s a good thing”. 

Anyway, I picked up some 550 Paracord at the craft store. Michaels, Hobby Lobby, even Wal-Mart has this stuff since doing the paracord survival bracelets are so popular. I picked up 25 feet of green for $2.99 with a 40% coupon (almost EVERY craft store has one of these, USE it!), so, with tax, it was a little under two bucks.

25 feet of fun!


For each leash loop, I measured out around 18 inches, give or take.

Getting ready to cut 18″ long lengths.


I wanted to ensure I would have enough to fold the 18″ length in half, then make a DOUBLE overhand knot on each one, leaving about a 1″ tail of the two bitter ends. Bitter end is a nautical term. Seriously, look it up, nautical stuff’s pretty cool! 

A double overhand knot for this loop is much more secure- it can’t wiggle and back out like a simple overhand knot could.

Folding the length in half to 9″.

Double overhand knot Part I.

Double overhand knot tightened up, Part II.


It’s better to have the leash loop too long than too short, for those who might complain about  it smacking the rail- it can be tied lower AND….

It needs to be singed (burnt) on the ends with a lighter or the ends will fray. Some leash loops will singe the ends together and squish the melted nylon into the knot to secure it. This is fine if you know the length you want. Otherwise, singe the ends separately (OUTSIDE or in a well-ventilated area, preferably with a mask!) to finish the loop.

I made 16 loops, so much Aloha to share for only two bucks. That translates to 16 waves I get to snake….hmmm…

That’s a lot of leash loops. In green.