The waist belt leash is the most recent development in leash options for paddle boarders. Rather than the leash attaching from the board to the ankle, knee or thigh - the leash attaches the board to a belt you are wearing around your waist.
What Exactly Is A Waist Belt?
The waist belt will utilise your standard coiled leash which attaches to a loop on the belt itself and attaches to the board via the standard D-ring. The leash will sit high out of the water and minimise the chances of the paddler standing on the leash whilst paddling.
The quick release mechanism is an attached toggle that can be easily grabbed and pulled open in hazardous circumstances, freeing the paddler from their board and leash. This toggle is basically a brightly coloured yellow ball of plastic that can be grabbed more easily than a Velcro lock. Once you pull on the toggle the belt will release.
Most leashes will have two quick-release points – a Velcro one at the back or side to release just the leash from the belt, and the toggle one at the front to release the entire belt from the paddler.
The belts come in a variety of sizes suitable for any body shape. The build quality varies from brand to brand, but a quality belt will be manufactured to withstand the typical duress put upon it by paddling. Our ASI approved Panda Waist Belt, for example, features a hard-wearing quick release clip and is stitched with saltwater resistant 40 industrial nylon.
Can It Be Worn With A Buoyancy Aid?
Most belts will fit nicely around the additional area when using a buoyancy aid. Using the two together does not generally affect a paddler’s ability to climb back onto their board. Check out these ASI demonstration videos for clarity.
Why Opt For A Waist Belt Leash?
Wearing a QR belt is not a guarantee of safety and nor should it be taken as a reason to go out in dangerous conditions. This rule should be applied to any bit of kit. It about minimising risk.
The main function of these belts for the paddler is to offer the option to release the belt quicky with a toggle system that is easy to reach. Should the Velcro on the leash hold fast, or should it be out of reach for the paddler needing to remove themselves from a dangerous situation, the toggle option is there.
There are many other factors the paddler must consider before taking to the water, and everyone should dynamically assess the risks of elements such as weather and the water as a given. The ASI is working with Panda Board Sports in that every belt sold will have a QR code on it directing the buyer to the ASI schools website.