The Great Leash Conspiracy That May Just Save You An Extra $50
How did we not know about this until now…
Cloudy, foggy, light sideshore wind, swell big enough to ride a gun but certainly not big enough to need a gun.
There’s a big distinction there — however, that distinction is rarely realized at this particular wave. It’s a long paddle and has that deep water feel, but something just feels off about 10-foot boards on 8-foot waves.
I was sitting under the pack and was in a groove. I got back in the lineup after my third wave, sat on my board and thought about how good the session was going. My confidence, of course, was the ocean’s cue to throw a set at my head.
There was nobody behind me and the first wave wasn’t big enough to worry about. Deep breath, swim under, chill. Then came that familiar feeling.
Stretch. Stretch. Snap. In the moment, there’s something strangely satisfying about breaking a leash, feeling the release of all that tension.
Reactions beyond that are situational and they exist on a spectrum. On one end is pure frustration — maybe you hadn’t caught a wave yet and your new board is suddenly heading for rocks. On the other end is fear — like, uh, am I gonna be able to swim in?
Near the middle, just a touch on the fear side, is humor. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t smirking while taking the rest of the set on the head and swimming in.
I always hold onto broken leashes for a little while. Not sure why, they just feel like a weird thing to throw out. So I walked past a garbage can, broken leash in hand, and headed back to my car.
It was there, while investigating the damage, that I noticed something — screws on opposite ends of the leash that perfectly fit a fin key. Hmm. I grabbed another leash from the car, made by a different brand, and noticed the same thing.
I called a friend who designs leashes and breaks them frequently — the flaw, if you want to call it that, comes from his optimism in waves of consequence, not from his design. It turns out that leashes are built for second lives. Break one on the cuff side? Unscrew it and swap it with a cuff from another leash, perhaps one that broke on the other end.
In all my years of surfing, I never knew this. I’ve never seen it marketed or heard it talked about. But, apparently, sometime after removable fin systems came to be, the entire leash world got together and did this without saying a word about it.
The more you know.
Plus, we have a new commissioner. The governing body of professional surfing has spent the last few weeks sparring with the governing bodies of Australia in an attempt to secure the fate of the 2021 fever dream tour. We’re now looking at a four-event Oz leg led by somebody who, to the best of my knowledge, has not travelled extensively with Robert “Wingnut” Weaver. Details? You need ‘em, we got ‘em.
And the last article probably left you with some questions. Here, we address what I’d imagine to be the biggest one for most. WA correspondent and Balinese nightclub enthusiast Chris Binns will answer it for you.
A fun fact left untouched in this article: Rottnest Island is technically part of the city of Cockburn. Even though it is pronounced coh-burn, for whatever reason, I still suggest the commenters among you prepare for the event accordingly.
Droid has always surfed different. Years ago, when magazine covers were a thing and his image was printed on some of them, I feel like the tail-high era was at its zenith. Everyone was out there flicking their FCS Is at the moon — but not him. Droid always put his own spin on that turn, literally, and to this day nobody does them like him. This is a great film (by Dane Reynolds, by the way) and it’s awesome to see him back.
The best story of the week, in my opinion. Droid opened up about drug use, mental issues, breakdowns and coming clean. It’s so good to hear that he’s doing so good. Here’s to hoping to see more of him and his surfing in the future.
Imagine if, ten years ago, someone approached you and said that a bearded Dutchman would convince a considerable percentage of professional surfers to hyperventilate and bathe in ice water? This is in fact what has transpired, so we investigated it for you.
Real talk though, the Wim Hof method seems to help a lot of people. I’m not sold on the breathwork side of it (there are a lot of other breathing exercises one can do), but I see the value in the ice baths and structure of it all.
One last thing:
Is it kind of weird that O’Neill doesn’t make leashes?
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