David Kealohalani Nuuhiwa III b.1948 (more commonly known as David Nuuhiwa) is a Hawaiian-born surfer. Nuuhiwa competed in contests when he was as young as six, and originally became interested in Paipo boarding but soon transitioned to larger boards. He moved to California in 1961.
It was along the various breaks of California that David Nuuhiwa perfected the art of noseriding, often perched at the tip of his board for 10 seconds or more. Nuuhiwa’s smooth and fluid style established him as the prime choice for the 1966 World Title in San Diego.
However, it was a shocking defeat when Nuuhiwa bowed out of the 6-man semifinal heat. At the time, Nuuhiwa was weakened by a bad case of stomach flu, contributing to or causing his defeat. Nuuhiwa watched from the beach as Nat Young rode “Magic Sam”, popularly referenced as the single board that ushered in the shortboard revolution. There are a few versions of these events, including some pointing at a standing-grudge between Hawaiians and Australians well before what blewup in the following decades.
Nevertheless, the man won a couple of international, and five U.S. surf championships. And he is and was a stylist of note. Some excerpts of recent interviews, pics and vids for your delectation, if you leap over.
What advice would you like to pass on to today’s surfers?
My advice to new surfers is not to take it so seriously, have fun! Respect longboarders as well as short and become one with it, instead of splitting it up! It makes me sad when Hawaiians or Polynesians started surfing, and then to hear some young guy yell “longboarder!” we are all on the same team and someday they will enjoy the art of longboarding. If you are a contestant, not to make a big scene if a judge has a poor ruling, our children are watching. And, oh, I wish I would have practised what I preach!
“One of a handful of Classic Longboarders from the 60’s who justifies a ten minute tribute. Such a unique style and gifted athlete…”
Your surfing has covered several decades of our sports history. What do you feel was the best decade to be a surfer? Why?
Best decade to be a surfer was the 60s-70s, Soulful!
Who do you feel is the most influential surfer out there today?
Most influential surfer is probably Joel Tudor and Kelly Slater, oh and Donald Takayama, he helps promote so many guys. He’s too cool!
Where would you like to see surfing a few years from now?
A much different level. I want to see surfing respected #1! I want to see the contests giving money to charities and not think of themselves so much. I would like to see the competitors getting higher purses and us “old dudes” put on a tour like the golfers. For surfers to remember God made all this water, and us!
You are known to have had noserides up to 10 seconds or more at a time. What’s your secret?
Back then, the waves were so small there was nothing else to do but ride the nose. Every contest I was in, the waves were at the biggest… maybe shoulder high. Noseriding was simply the way to win. The boards were becoming lighter because they were made of foam and so you could move the board around better. But there was really no secret to it at all. I would just get out there and do it. I just lucked out and happened to be the guy.