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After the wipeout and in between sets I hold the paddle at the handle and keep it clear of me when the next sets roll in. Years ago, I was in deep water with my paddle floating at chest level in front of me. The incoming wave slammed the shaft across my forehead - glad I had my Gath helmet on. Now I keep the paddle at my side holding onto the handle and let it and my board pass me while duck diving (providing there's no one behind) I do know a mav's sup'er who uses a waist leash. we use them for all other types of paddling as well, influenced by the benefits of it for rivers with a easier release vs reaching for the feet. good ideas on the leash pull tab. back in the day in kayaking, we would use a whiffle ball, carabiner or duct tape to enlarge the pull tabs for spray skirts.