Surf Coach: By Ben Fortun
The noseride has been a prominent maneuver in surfing ever since fins were first placed on boards in the mid 1930’s. While the invention and creation of the maneuver is hard to pinpoint to a sole founder, hundreds of surfers have taken to riding waves on the front third of the board. Ask any longboarder to define a noseride, and they will all say “riding with at least one toe WRAPPED around the nose of the board”. While the noseride was first defined as riding the front third of a board, modern advancement of the “Sport within a sport” has defined noseriding to an elevated status only perfected by a small handful of surfers. In the mid 1960’s competitors such as: David Nuuhiwa, Corky Carrol, and Mike Purpus, would seperate themselves from other competitors by performing tricks on the nose. Hanging Heels, spinners, one foot noserides, and toe drags became potent weapons in earning a first place trophy.
Now that a little light has been shed on the subject, the maneuver itself will be explained.
1. There is no perfect board for noseridng. Everyone has a favorite board that they use and will be comfortable on. I suggest riding singlefin longboards in the range of 9′ and above. The wider and thicker the template, the easier it will be to noseride. In picture number one i am riding a 9’4″ Takayama In The Pink, a competition style noserider with three fins. In picture number two i am riding a 9’6″ joel tudor bat tail singlefin.
2. The setup for a noseride is something that is easier said than done. The board needs to be placed on a wave with a slight steepness and an open face. Picture number one has a good example of preferable wave to noseride. A surfer needs to set trim in the high point of the wave to stabilize the board for the walk to the nose. By keeping the rail of the board in congruence to the trim line of the wave, a surfboard will have maximum speed, thus having stability to walk to the nose. A famous quote in the surf world is that “a bottom turn is the most important maneuver in surfing”. This statement holds high validity, especially in the process of noseriding. By fading and turning a hard bottom turn into a wave, a surfboard will usually find its way into the trim line. Its difficult to explain in writing, but by practice, one will instinctively know when the board is stable enough to move around on. Try timing the placement of the board to be lined up as close to the curl as you can get, and in the middle trim line of the wave.
3. Once on the nose, you must overcome your body’s natural reaction to not lift your foot and maintain optimum balance. While stylists like Nuuhiwa would elegantly lift their foot off the board, i prefer “kicking” it through the lip of the wave. It may be a little harder since one is doing a full powered kick while trying to maintain balance, but i find that the drag created from the foot hitting the wave sets the speed slightly better for a longer trimmed noseride.
*note: Be careful to not stay on the nose too long, and step back once the speed is dying. Nothing looks less stylish than a one foot noseride wipeout