Traditional Noseriders vs. Involvement Logs
When most people think of traditional noseriders, the board that comes to mind is quite similar to the Bing Nuuhiwa Noserider—and rightly so. After all, that surfboard was considered to be one of the greatest noseriders of all time. Surfboards of this style are typically shaped sort of like a popsicle stick. They have a wide nose and relatively wide tail that is abruptly cut off in a square tail, with a pretty straight outline and a lot of width and volume. They often feature reverse rocker (with a lot of kick in the tail but not much curve in the nose) as well as soft, 50/50 or 60/40 rails throughout and concave under the nose. These surfboards are built to be stable, slow down in the pocket, and lift when being ridden from the front—pretty much exactly what you’d want from a noserider. For this reason, they have become the standard by which other noseriders are measured.
The various design elements that make these traditional noseriders so good for noseriding also come with a few sacrifices. They are typically slow and unwieldy, making them difficult to turn and position in the pocket. In other words, they are quite literally made for noseriding and nothing else. But what about those who want to noseride on a traditional log, but also want to do aggressive turns?
Fortunately for them, a second type of noserider was developed at around the same time as the standard Nuuhiwa-style log—one that was faster and more maneuverable, but that could also still noseride. These boards were called pigs, with a similar but slightly refined version that was popular in Australia in the 1960s referred to as an involvement log.
Pigs/involvement logs have a few design elements that differentiate them from
other traditional noseriders. For one thing, they have defined hips that are set well behind the mid-point of the board. In other words, instead of having a wide-point around mid-board (like most shortboards) or a straight-railed outline that is approximately the same width the entire length of the board (like many traditional noseriders), they have their wide point around 12 inches behind mid-board, and then taper all the way to the nose. The nose itself is also quite different than that of a traditional log, as it is quite a bit narrower and more pulled in (due to the aforementioned taper). Traditional pigs also had a rolled bottom contour, soft rails, and a D fin set near to the tail block.
Involvement logs refined this design a bit, with slightly more user-friendly rails and eventually a more high-performance, rake-style fin, but still featured the wide point back and narrow nose, which serves to make a longboard much faster and more maneuverable than the typical popsicle-stick noserider. Amazingly, the involvement logs (and their cousin the pig) could still noseride. The difference is that they must be noseridden deep in the pocket, as opposed to traditional logs, which can sort of be “cheated” and noseridden out onto the shoulder.
Involvement logs have been making a bit of a comeback lately. Harrison Roach has ridden a self-shaped involvement-style log all season on the longboard tour and finished a close second in the title race to logging legend Joel Tudor. The turns that Harrison was doing on his involvement log this year were widely considered to be the best on tour, but he was also noseriding as well as anyone—a testament to the versatility of the design.
Photo by: @shawnparkin
CJ Nelson has also recently come out with an involvement-style log called the Apex. Featuring the narrower nose and wide hips of traditional involvement logs, the Apex has slightly modernized rails and rocker to make it even more maneuverable while still maintaining that classic log feel.
For anyone who is looking to change up their traditional logging, add a bit of flair, and still be able to noseride, an involvement log is a great option. They aren’t for everyone, as many people get frustrated by the fact that they force you to surf honest, but for those who surf hollow waves and enjoy noseriding deep in the pocket, they provide a feel that is hard to find anywhere else.
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