By Mark Anders
Okay, I have to admit when I first heard about this new tangle-free leash my internal gimmick B.S. alert went off--big time. But then I got my hands on the leash, and I started to see how it might really work
Every surfer I know has been hog-tied by his leash more times than he can count. This can range from the mild annoyance of getting tangled up, standing on the leash, or a missed wave to a pretty darn painful leash between-the-toes experience. All of which gets exponentially worse in large surf.
At first glance, everything about this leash is the same as any other quality legrope you'd see hanging on the wall down at the surf shop. Same comfortable cuff. Sturdy Velcro. Double-swivel. Comes in comp weight or standard. But this one also has a little yellow, circular weight (slightly larger than a Lifesaver candy) which slides freely up and down the length of the cord. As you paddle, the weight causes the leash to trail your board in a gentle arc. As you sit in the lineup waiting for a wave, the weight sinks the leash so that it's not conspiring to coil up around your ankles and toes during a takeoff.
The slider weighs just a half-ounce and though it may well cause some additional underwater drag, I couldn't feel the weight and didn't experience any drag. I was never even aware it was there. And, most importantly, I never once came even close to being hog-tied by the XM. Is it possible to get tangled up in this leash? Sure. But based on our testing I can say you'll have way less chance of hog-tying incidents with the XM Tangle Free.
In the end, my skepticism turned to why-hasn't-anyone-thought-of-this-before? Bottom line: It works. And I'm going to buy another when this one wears out.
ABOUT SURFLINE'S NEW GEAR REVIEWS
Ever see a new piece of gear in the surf shop or on the Web and wonder if it really works or not? It's no fun to be the guinea pig who drops his hard-earned cash on something, only to find out it actually sucks. That's why we're bringing you the Surfline Equipment + Gear Reviews. Twice a month, I'll pick a new product and put it through its paces. We'll test all the new stuff first, so you know what works and what doesn't.
And this isn't some pay-for-play advertising deal. I'm a freelance writer. I don't know any of Surfline's ad guys and they never tell me what I can or can't review.
Who am I to say what's good and what's not? First off, I'm a surfer, just like you. I surf damn near every day, but I'm also a professional field tester. For the past decade, I've reviewed gear for magazines like Men's Journal, Popular Science, Outside, and The Surfer's Path. I can geek-out on gear with the best of them, but at the end of the day I'm just a surfer and if I wouldn't buy the product myself, you won't see it on these pages. --Mark Anders
If you have questions, ideas, concerns, or just a product you'd like us to review, drop us a line at: firstname.lastname@example.org.