My uncle Mike and the invention of the

My uncle Mike and the invention of the "leg rope"

Apparently Mike was one of the first surfers to surf with a leash


  • My uncle Mike wrote this to me in response to an email I sent him about the board I just completed. Enjoy!

    Making boards is fun. 

    In the late 60's my friend, George Ravenscroft, and I used to make boards for ourselves and our friends. He shaped and I glassed. I rode those boards exclusively in 1969, 70 and early 71. Then in the summer of 71, I rode a shape made by another friend, Dennis Dobransky from Coronado. I liked it and I asked Dennis to shape me one. He did and then I rode that one until I left in September, 1971, to go to graduate school in New England. Earlier that month, I went for the last time on a camping trip down to cuatro casas, which was a place we frequented in the late 60's. 

    Here is a little bit of surf history from the beginning of the shortboard era.

    In that summer of 71 we had started hearing stories of guys up in Santa Cruz who were using a kind of leash where they attached a big 3 inch suction cup to the nose of their boards with a few feet of surgical tubing and then the other end of the tubing was tied around their wrist. Weird, but they said it worked. Anyway, we tried it and realized there was a better way! We came up with the idea of attaching the surgical tubing to the tailblock and attaching it to your ankle rather than your wrist. George developed a way to make a little loop of fiberglass on the tail block that did not protrude much so you would not cut your foot on it, but you could put the surgical tubing through it and tie a knot. Then we tied 5 feet of surgical tubing to that loop on the tail block, and the other end around your ankle. This scheme is pretty much like what the leash became eventually, and I have no doubt that many surfers around the world came up with similar schemes around that time. But as far as I was concerned, George Ravenscroft came up with the idea! The attached photo was taken in early September 1971. It is me at cuatro casas on the Dennis Dobransky 5'10" single fin with the surgical tubing leash visible around my ankle and attached to the tailblock if you look closely. Use a magnifier if you don't see it! I have searched a bit over the years, but as of yet I have never seen a picture of a prototype modern leash in use that was dated before September 1971. Let me know if you know of any such photo!


  • Category
    Everything else
  • Created
    Thursday, 02 December 2021
  • Page admin

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