Full Nose Big Board to Pulled in Ripper: Making the Transition
By: Nate Burgoyne
Saturday, 22 December 2007
Aloha everyone. I have recently been transitioning from a full nose 10'0 swallow tail board to a 9'6 with a pulled in nose and diamond tail. It has been a fun experience. With the advancement of the sport and so many stand up paddlers now looking for more high performance equipment, I thought would share my experience here on the Editor's Blog for those who may also be considering making a similar transition.
First of all, I have to say that it took a little convincing to get me off my 10'0. I rode that particular board almost ever session for over a year. It is truly a one stick wonder...big surf, little surf, noseride, it was always there for me. I still think the board is magic. It has full nose. The tail is somewhere between and fish and a stinger.The rails are quite straight and it has minimal rocker. The new board has a pulled in pointy nose, a more curvy outline, more pronounced rocker and a diamond tail.
The first time I thought about trying a new shape was when I was during a session about a month and a half ago. I was riding some bigger lefts and while I was coming across the face of the wave, the curl caught up to me from behind and pitched me over. The only reason I could figure that happened was because I wasn't carrying enough down the line speed, and I was right in the pocket. So that one wave got me thinking about it. Then, about a week later, during another session on a smaller day of steep head-high waves, at low tide, I was having trouble dropping in and getting down the line without the nose getting caught up during the drop. The nose would dig in and the tail would get swung around tossing me over the falls before I could make the drop and get going down the line. It was a really pitchy wave, but many waves are like that around here. After trying new techniques and going over the falls repeatedly, it occurred to me that a pulled in nose and tail might be the solution.
However, it still wasn't in the forefront of my mind. Some of my greatest prone-paddle surf heroes are guys like Hawaiian who I've seen paddle out in 8-10'(Hawaiian scale) Haleiwa on a massive square tail, single fin surfboard, and make the wave. It's sort of a strange fascination I have with the old school of surfing I guess. Then, one day I was trading boards with this guy who had a short board and I found myself making the drop and getting down the line really quick. Of course that peaked my curiosity even more about a new shape. Finally, the nail in the coffin that had me decided to try out a new shape was when Blane told me, "I've been watching you surfing and you've been ripping on that board. You should try a new shape. That board you have is like a Cadillac and when you get on a more advanced shape, it's like getting in a Ferrari." So, I gave it a shot.
The new board is truly a lot of fun. In fact, after my third session out, I received some comments on the beach that I can really turn better on the new board. Hey, as a side note, don't hesitate to compliment surfers on their waves or session. It stokes out the surfer and feels good to give a compliment.
Anyway, here's my analysis of the switch:
9'6 Pulled-In Nose Pros
+ Late take-off? No problem.
+ Faster down the line.
+ More Responsive
+ No more diving for pearls.
+ Can take off on the wave at an angle.
+ Quicker and easier to turn the board around before catching a wave.
9'6 Pulled-In Nose Cons
- Slightly Less Glide
- Less favorable for noseriding.
- Need to re-learn how to turn it.
- Drifts more while paddling in flat water.
- Most contests and opens are limited to 10' boards.
In summary, the 9'6 rides like a shortboard and the 10'0 full-nose rides like a longboard. In one better than the other? That's your own personal preference. I like them both. The 9'6 turns like a shortboard, paddles like a shortboard with excellent glide, is quicker down the line, snappier off the top, and the nose doesn't get hung up on a steeper wave. However, unless you're of the ranks of Leleo Kinimaka or Ikaika Kalama, it'll probably take you a few sessions to get the fins just right and to figure out how the new board works. Making the switch is just like downsizing on a regular prone paddle surfboard. The take off spot is slightly different as are the techniques for riding the wave. I must say though, it really surprised me the other day on the pointy nose board when it allowed me to walk up and hang five. It literally threw me for a loop because soon after I locked it in, I slipped off because I never waxed the nose. I didn't figure I'd be spending any time up there. I was also stoked when I was on a wave looking down the line and a steep section I thought I wasn't going to make but went for it anyway, and zipped right through. Will I take out the 10'0 again? Absolutely. In fact I went out with one of my friends the other day and we were riding both. Going back to riding the 10' was like putting on a favorite t-shirt and relaxing in a comfy chair...comfortable and easy. It will always have a place in my quiver. However, for now, I'm having a blast on the new ripper.