The history of the surf leash

Brian Cregan reinvented the wheel as an innovator in the leash game. As a fledgling professional Cregan won an early version of the legrope, as Aussies still call them, in a surf contest. It promptly broke. So, being a trained carpenter, Cregan started designing his own. He saw a urethane cord for the first time in 1978 on Shaun Tomson’s board and knew that was the future. Not long after, Cregan started Ocean & Earth and remains the owner.

“Those lightbulb moments are fewer and farther between,” said Phil MacDonald, former World #4-now CEO of O&E. “Brian came up with the rail-saver, for example, in the 1970s, and about 30 years later, my brother Ant had the idea to add the sewn-in anchor cord.”

In 2010 O&E’s  production manager, Steve Raynor, who’s worked alongside Cregan since the 1970s, designed and patented the One-XT technology, which uses just one cord and one component from swivel to swivel. That eliminated the need for end joins, which are the weakest points in conventional leashes. The plug buddy, a small piece of plastic that helps feed the leash rope through the leash plug, is another O&E introduction that actually came from customer feedback. Their premium One-XT leash features all these innovations.

“In terms of where we are headed, I’d say most surfers are looking for three things in their leashes now,” said MacDonald. “They want them stronger, lighter and greener.”


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