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Homemade surf leash

Date: c 2000
Overall: 2055 x 8 x 6 x 85 mm, 0.04 kg
Medium: Leather, metal, rope
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Joe Sweeney
Object Name: Surfboard leg rope
Object No: 00030895
Place Manufactured:Victoria

User Terms

    The American surf leash, or leg rope, appeared in Australia in 1975. Early examples were made from cord with a handkerchief or dog collar ankle strap. The leash was attached to the board rider's ankle. Leashes stopped riderless boards from racing away or smashing into nearby rocks but could cause serious injury to the rider. This replica of a 1970s leash was made by Joe Sweeney.
    SignificanceThis homemade leg rope is representative of changes in the development of surfing equipment since the late 1950s.
    HistoryJoe Sweeney is a member of Torquay surf lifesaving club, champion surf swimmer, long and short board rider and one of the early surfers at Bells Beach. He also competed in the 1956 Olympics in Greco Roman wrestling. In 1960 Sweeney obtained permission from the Shire Engineer of Barrabool Shire to upgrade the old Cobb and Co road from Geelong to Anglesea and extend it further into the Bells area. The work cost Joe 32 pounds ($64) which he raised by charging 30 other enthusiasts an "exit" fee as they left the inaugural surf contest at Bells Beach in January 1961. This was the first surf board rally held in Victoria. Peter Troy and Vic Tantau were judges and Terry Wall won the inaugural event. The success of this contest soon spread and the next contest was held at Easter 1963 and has remained an annual event.

    In the 1950s and 60s before wetsuits were commonly worn surfers used jumpers and football jerseys to help combat the cold conditions on Victoria's surf coast. Early leg ropes or 'leashes' were homemade technology before the advent of commercially manufactured technology. By the mid 1970s commercial leg ropes were available in Australia. They were safer to use with a velcro fastening rather than buckle and more lightweight.
    Additional Titles

    Assigned title: Dog collar leg rope

    Web title: Homemade surf leash

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