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Turns Out Carissa Moore Has A Real Handle On The Nose Pick Reverse

Two days ago, I wrote a competition report from Keramas titled, "Carissa Moore Must Learn To Pick Her Nose."

A bit cheeky, sure, but with only three heats surfed throughout the day and all of them in mediocre conditions, I wanted to provide an interesting talking point in the article. I thought I'd found that in Carissa's forehand reverse. 

Here's an excerpt (the context is that Carissa was losing to Brisa Hennessy and needed an 8.5 to advance):

Being the champion that she is, Carissa swung into her next section with a tidy forehand reverse, followed by several connecting maneuvers through the inside. Judges called it right at an 8.6.

See: 5:36.

This was an objectively stellar ride—one any of us peanut munchers would be proud to call our own. With that said, would you allow me to lob a small critique of our 3x World Champion’s frontside spin?

The reverse Carissa pulled today was reminiscent of the 90s or early-2000s – a time when longer boards and smaller stances marked the pinnacle of performance surfing. This is a time when speed-dealer shades were unironically cool and board grip consisted of a traction pad supplemented by one-square-foot of wax below the craft's wide-point (which measured 17.63). 

While that was a wonderful time in surfing's history, the sport has clearly elevated since, as has the wax job crept slowly and surely up our boards.

That’s due, in large part, to the ‘nose-pick’ reverse – a specialty maneuver of all our favorite surfers, from Dane to John John to Filipe Toleeds. 

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The nose pick works like this: 

  • Surfer approaches the lip at a near-vertical angle (Carissa nailed this part)

  • Surfer pushes the board past its midpoint when riding over the lip, as to release the fins on the direction change (she nailed this too)

  • Surfer slides front foot up the board while simultaneously rotating the shoulders and hips toward shore (this is where Carissa missed the foot slide)

  • Surfer shifts all the weight to their front foot while continuing to whip the tail around, using the front foot as a friction-free pivot point to complete their spin.

Now, the argument could be made that Carissa has a handle on the elder generation of the forehand reverse, so why change?

My response: the nose-pick is a more dynamic (and higher scoring) rendition of the flat, tail-based reverse. It’s also a more functional maneuver, as the widened stance and increased pivot point makes the surfer both more stable and able to spin more quickly. It’s something that Carissa, and many of the women on Tour, could benefit from learning.

And it really shouldn’t be that difficult for surfers of their caliber. Give the gals a week at Waco and they’ll be spinning like dreidels.

(Turns out she already did)

So that's what I wrote. 

Carissa responded in our DMs: 

I never reply to these kinds of things. I hardly read articles online anymore. It’s not worth my time or energy. Pretty bummed on the article to be honest. I am the only woman who did anything different and outside the box yesterday and instead of celebrating it you decided to tear me down. A lot of people read your magazine and follow your account on social. You have the opportunity to say something important and make a difference.

She then sent two clips of herself sticking textbook nose-pick reverses to back up her argument.  

I read this message once, then I read it again, and it made me sad. 

Rarely if ever are my intentions to "tear someone one down"—I reserve that privilege almost exclusively for Robbie Maddison. But Carissa has been a favorite surfer of mine (and any person with eyes) for the past 10 years, so to hear how negatively my critique impacted her was a real bummer.

Carissa also made some great points in her rebuke and showed me what the fuck was up with her twin spins. 

So to Carissa Moore, I offer this public apology:

Hey, Riss. Mike here (your least favorite Stab writer).

First off I wanted to apologize. The intention of the article was certainly not to "tear you down". If that's how you interpreted my story, I must not have done a very good job writing it. 

And you're absolutely correct—as the only woman to attempt a progressive maneuver yesterday, it does seem cruel to criticize you over any other competitor. I just want you to know that it came from a place of reverence, not malice. We know how talented you are, so we hold you to a different standard than your peers. Perhaps unfairly. 

But clearly it wasn't taken that way, so again, I apologize.

Also, those videos you sent make me look like a real dumbass. Turns out you're quite familiar with the old nose-pick. So I'll just walk away with my tail between my legs and hope you can forgive.  


Michael Ciaramella

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