Tethers add complexity and increase the risk of entanglement in a capsize. You should NEVER rely on a tether, but should learn to hang onto your boat and paddle. A spare paddled should be easily accessible from the cockpit, just in case. The deck rigging on your boat should allow you to quickly stow a paddle when performing rescues and other tasks.
It seems from my own experience that tethers and leashes are crutches that beginners often use (often based on unfounded concerns), but generally abandon as their skills improve. I started out with a paddle leash, but haven't used one in a LONG time.
YakCatcher Rod Holder
Paddler's Truck Rack
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