A leg rope or leash is a urethane cord attached to the deck of a surfboard, down near the tail. A leg rope plug enables the leg rope to be attached here using a leg rope string. The other end of the leg rope is secured tightly around the surfers ankle with a velcro fastening strap covered in neoprene to provide comfort for the user. The purpose of using a leg rope is to keep the surfboard attached to a surfers ankle at a safe distance. Should the surfer fall whilst riding a wave, the surfboard will not be swept away, thus allowing the surfer to quickly recover his surfboard and return to the take off zone. The leg rope was invented in the 70's amidst controversy that it was a dangerous accessory. Initially, a minority of people expressed concern that if a surfer fell whilst riding a wave and wearing a leg rope, the surfboard may bounce back and hit the surfer causing serious injury. Although this can happen, most surfers today choose to use a leg rope whilst surfing as it is believed that leg ropes prevent more accidents than they cause.
The first leg rope on the surfboard was created by Peter Wright, in Raglan, (Waikato) New Zealand. It was established in the very early 1970s It consisted of nylon. He is not credited for his efforts because he did not copyright the leg rope. However he was the very first person to invent the leg rope. The urethane design was patented by David Hattrick (Australian Patent 505,451 issued September 5, 1977). Later in the 70's, he established Pipe Lines surfing products and developed a design that could be patented. This design also won an Australian Design Award in 1979.