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Quicksilver leg rope

Date: 1990s
Overall: 70 x 2500 mm, 5 mm, 0.22 kg
Medium: Plastic, brass, velcro, cloth
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Quicksilver International
Object Name: Leg rope
Object No: 00033070
Place Manufactured:Australia

User Terms

    Produced in Australia by Quicksilver in the late 1990s, this plastic leg rope attaches to the surfer's ankle with velcro lined in wetsuit material. The other end of the cord attaches to the tail of the surfboard, with both ends featuring a 'Q stix' logo.
    SignificanceThis Quicksilver leg rope is a representative example from the late 1990s. It retains its original packaging including manufacturing and warranty information.
    HistoryA surfboard leg rope, strap or leash is a cord that attaches a surfboard to the surfer. It prevents the surfboard from being swept away by waves and stops runaway surfboards from hitting other surfers and swimmers. Modern leashes are generally made from urethane cord, with velcro used to secure the tail of the board to the surfer's ankle.

    Before the introduction of leg ropes in 1971, surfers who lost their boards in the surf had to swim to retrieve them, with runaway boards representing a danger to other surfers.

    The leg rope was invented in California by Pat O'Neill, son of surfer Jack O'Neill who developed the O'Neill Wetsuit. His initial designs consisted of surgical cord attached to a board with a suction cup, and he offered these ropes to competitors at the 1971 Malibu international surfing competition. Pat was disqualified from this event for using the rope, however, a year later the ropes became standard surfing kit.

    Jack O'Neill lost his left eye during initial tests for the leg rope as the surgical tubing used in the early designs allowed the leash to overstretch, causing the surfboard to fly back towards the surfer. Subsequent cords were made with less elastic materials.
    Additional Titles

    Primary title: QUIKSILVER LEG ROPE

    Web title: Quicksilver leg rope

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