No Wall Hangers

Blowing the dust off of noseriders from the Summer of ’66.

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The Summer of ’66 Project got its start in the summer of 1965. That’s when Tom Morey announced his noseriding contest that would transpire over Fourth of July weekend the following year. Judging for the Tom Morey Invitational would consist solely of timed noserides on the front third of the board. The event would bring 25 of California’s best surfers to the Ventura Fairgrounds and offer $1,500 in prize money—unheard of at the time.

This criterion encouraged all the main manufacturers to come up with a noseriding-specific board. This being long before social media, it took manufacturers six months to build the boards, design ad campaigns, and publish them via Surfer magazine. Whatever shapers and surfers could think of was fair game. Some of the concepts became classics. Others were just plain dumb. For example, one design had two bricks fiberglassed onto the back of the board to hold the tail down. Another had a 3-foot stringer extension to increase the length of the board, making the eligible noseriding portion longer. Mickey Muñoz took the win in the regularfoot category. The winner in the goofyfoot division was Corky Carroll.

Rosie Jaffurs, en route to the tip of a Snub model by Morey-Pope. Photo by Christa Funk.

When we decided to revisit the era for the Summer of ’66 Project, we picked 10 board models from the Tom Morey Invitational era. We restored each board to as close to factory specs as possible. Then we picked a team of test pilots and cut them loose on a small day at Sunset Beach, Oahu. Our female riders were world champion longboarder Honolua Blomfield, Tessa Timmons, Journey Regelbrugge, Brittany Penaroza, Leah Dawson, and Rosie Jaffurs. On the men’s side we had Tosh Tudor, Willy Asprey, Link Earle, and Keoki Saguibo. The goal was to see if these 55-year-old noseriding characteristics were still relevant in today’s renaissance of modern logging.

Over a three-hour period, the test pilots traded off the different boards, and everyone got a chance to really put them through a rigorous testing campaign. The 10 models reflected the psychedelic leanings of the era, with a variety of wild designs and trippy model names. The women seemed to like the step decks, and the men favored the wide-nosed planing designs. All agreed that many of the design aspects from more than five and a half decades ago were still valid today. Each had their strengths and weaknesses, but when it was all said and done, the general consensus was that the Bing David Nuuhiwa Noseriding Model was the favorite.

[Feature Image: Randy Rarick, test pilots, and 1966 noseriders. Photo by Christa Funk]