Surfing Montauk with Debra Rose


Debra Rose

The surf industry works hard to reinvent itself, from boards to tricks and gear. Sometimes inventions are novel and a game-changer, others are painfully obvious, leaving you to wonder why we did not have this breakthrough sooner. Enter the quick-release pin leash, a device that could have and will save lives, stress, and injury, and is an essential for every surfer.

Jack O’Neill’s son Pat invented what we know as the modern Velcro leash, and now we have the quick release pin with an easy to grab loop to disconnect from your board as fast as possible.

While we do not have classic reef on the east end, certain breaks specialize in rocks, jetties, and boulders, forcing surfers to practice falling flat, know where the rocks are and when to get out of a wave in time. Strengthening these abilities is excellent preparation for traveling abroad to breaks that are solely reef. Knowing how to navigate the dangers out east can help to mimic the conditions of surfing over an underwater cheese greater when the sea recedes are you are left surfing in one foot of water over sharp coral. Popular spots around the world like Hawaii, The Maldives, the Caribbean, and Tahiti offer substantial reef and require the skill set to manage it. Learning to surf spectacular waves over sharp reef is gratifying, getting caught in it can be terrifying.

When using a traditional leash in reef breaks, you must trust your skills to be able to un-Velcro yourself, underwater, perhaps while being held under, caught inside and panicking. Maybe you are traveling and are not as familiar with the break, or you have been fighting for a while to release yourself from the coral. A quick release pin leash keeps you connected to your board while you are surfing and makes it easy to release yourself in an emergency. Think of it as pulling a pin from a grenade, and you are free to speedily accelerate to the surface. We may forget that rocks or that vegetation in places like Malibu are also dangerous. Keeping and using the quick release pin leash is essential, like always having an escape plan. While we cannot anticipate every situation, we can equip ourselves with every tool possible when faced with danger. Plus the use of one is motivating when you are out east, preparing for that next journey to the Seychelles, Indonesia and beyond. Happy surfing!