David Nuuhiwa "2001 Local Hero & 2005 Surf Champion"
Dynamic noserider and 1960s subculture icon
PHOTO: Courtesy of Dan Merkel
PHOTOS: Courtesy David Nuuhiwa
PHOTO: 1964 Lower Trestles 1964 David Nuuhiwa on an inside left at Lower Trestles on an uncrowded afternoon. Courtesy Leo Hetzel.
David Nuuhiwa was born in Honolulu, Hawaii in 1948. But it wasn’t until he relocated to Southern California, that he quickly rose to prominence as a teenager under the guidance of Donald Takayama.
Considered by many to be the greatest surfer of his era, Nuuhiwa was a cultural linchpin who spearheaded the noseriding era during the late-‘60s. As a gifted and dynamic surfer who cultivated a rock star persona — complete with beautiful girlfriends, expensive cars and groupies — his legendary status was a polarizing force in surfing as the sport teetered on the cusp of the shortboard revolution.
His classic duels with Corky Carroll in the U.S. Championships at the Huntington Beach Pier exemplify one of the best rivalries in the history of American competitive surfing. Although best remembered for his noseriding prowess, his transition to shortboarding is often overlooked despite his progressive experimentation with "fish" designs on the North Shore.
David made the crossover into the mainstream when his surfing was featured in the psychedelic rockumentary about Jimi Hendrix's time on Maui, Rainbow Bridge in 1971. After placing second at the 1972 World Championships and appearing in starring role in Five Summer Stories (1972), he disappeared from the scene for nearly a decade. Nuuhiwa returned in the early-‘80s to his rightful place on the noseriding throne amidst the nostalgia-laced longboard resurgence of the ‘80s and ‘90s.