FCS Freedom vs FCS Essential Comp
The best leash from FCS this summer is not the Freedom leash. If you do decide to leash up in sloppy summer surf the FCS Comp Essential leash is exactly what it says it is. All in a tight minimal package, it's what you would expect from a leg rope. It isn't "freedom" or the feel like you're not wearing a leash, because you are, but it certainly does it's job with no hassle compared to it's double priced ($45 vs. $24) cousin, the FCS Freedom Leash.
With the hype building before it's release we were wondering if the Freedom leash would even be a rope attached to our back foot. The teaser videos, the super tech CAD graphics, everything was pointing to a paradigm shift in keeping your stick on you while you go push the limits of progressive surfing. Let's not forget this leash isn't intended for once in a decade Cloud Break either, this is a comp style daily driver leash for your average chest high onshore wiggle-sesh. It's just a leash, or it should have been.
Freedom Leash is different. The “over braided nylon cord” is a woven cover over the familiar extruded TPU cord (same polymer for most all leashes). The braided nylon helps counter wrap the cord to leave you untangled, while it also prevents the TPU cord from being stretched. However, nylon is not a completely hydrophobic fiber. The weave will eventually absorb water making heavier. Nice, we don't get it, but nice.
The most confusing feature of the Freedom leash has to be the swivel terminals at the end of each portion of the leash. It looks like those original Motorola Cellphone Antennas, but that product innovation sent your voice through space and time. This thing is the reason why we don't like this leash very much. The ultra-stiff plastic terminal digs into your ankle when you wipeout and creates too much tension on the precision engineered cuff.
The FCS Essential comp leash employs thin layer of seat belt webbing alongside a perforated (draining) neoprene and Hypalon (think Zodiac Inflatable boat) that stays thin and doesn't give or stretch around your ankle. All this ends in a standard swivel which is then glued to a TPU leash cord. Simple Stupid.
We don't want to be too hard on FCS but the Freedom leash just didn't do it for us. What it did do for us was bring us the FCS Comp Essential. Upon the Freedom release, we visited our local fin dealership multiple times to grab one of these coveted Freedom leashes. Sold out, we eventually needed a leash when the waves called for it and ended up with a Essential Comp. We see what you did there FCS, whether intentional or not, it worked.