Monotrichous bacteria on surfaces exhibit complex spinning movements. Such spinning motility is often a part of the surface detachment launch sequence of these cells. To understand the impact of spinning motility on bacterial surface interactions, we develop a hydrodynamic model of a surface-bound bacterium, which reproduces behaviours that we observe in Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Shewanella oneidensis and Vibrio cholerae, and provides a detailed dictionary for connecting observed spinning behaviour to bacteria-surface interactions. Our findings indicate that the fraction of the flagellar filament adhered to the surface, the rotation torque of this appendage, the flexibility of the flagellar hook and the shape of the bacterial cell dictate the likelihood that a microbe will detach and the optimum orientation that it should have during detachment. These findings are important for understanding species-specific reversible attachment, the key transition event between the planktonic and biofilm lifestyle for motile, rod-shaped organisms.