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How to Hang Ten


How to Hang Ten

Hang Ten for real.

Hang ten. To the general public, “hang Ten” is a term that has become synonymous with old school surfing as both a fashion statement and iconic catch phrase, but to actual surfers, it’s a serious longboard maneuver that takes style, grace, and balance. In some ways, it’s magical.

Hanging ten (also called "Toes on the Nose")specifically falls into the category of “nose riding.” Nose riding is generally done on longboards (8 feet +) and it also includes hanging five, hanging heels, and some crazy one footed variations.

Here’s how you hang ten:

Once you have dropped into a wave and are angling down the face of said wave, you should have your front foot placed in or around the midpoint of the board with your back foot planted somewhere near the tail. This is the most solid place to be on a longboard in terms of maneuverability. Apply some force to your back foot and lighten up on the front in order to position your surfboard on the midline of the wave face where the surface is standing at its most vertical. This is the speed line.

At this point, your rail should be your primary link to the wave as the board’s natural tendency is to fall to the bottom or glide out the back. But you should be projecting a track parallel with the falling lip. Now, you are running at full speed with the length of the board’s bottom in the water. It’s time to move to the nose to hang ten.

More advanced surfers can go for the hang ten nose ride at this point. The more vertical the wall, the more challenging the nose ride because the board’s bottom and fins can dislodge from the water causing the tail to slide down the face.

More easily, wait until you are on the shoulder of the wave and begin to slow down. Then go for the nose as an accelerating maneuver.

When going for the nose, there are two approaches here. First, you can “scoot” or “shuffle” up to the nose; however, this approach is frowned upon by purists but it does the job properly. Instead, the “cross step” method is the more difficult yet more preferred method for most surfers.

Let’s go with the cross step. So begin with cross stepping foot over foot towards the nose. Keep your core weight centered over the stringer (center) of the surfboard as you step, but be mindful of keeping the tail in the water. Once you are at the nose, be careful not to over step off the nose of the board and slip into the water.

At this point, your speed and bottom friction will hold your board in the water while you step out onto the nose. Start with hanging the toes of your dominant foot over the nose (you are now hanging five). If the nose begins to slice under the water, quickly step back to the center until you regain your surfboard’s balance.

As you place both of your feet over the nose and hang your ten toes over, you will experience a moment when your surfboard is at maximum speed and yet you are at minimum weight. This is what Allan Weisbecker terms “the glide” in his wonderful surf memoir/novel In Search of Captain Zero where the surfer is weightless and mindless and the surfboard is just about to let loose but is still hanging tight. It’s an existential moment if ever there was one, like getting barreled, in which the forces of nature around you blur and the other surfers disappear. Don’t believe me? Try it and see.

You can’t hold this moment forever. 2-4 seconds is a feat; 8-10 seconds on the nose is glorious and longer is insanity. As the wave flattens, feel free to step back and forth at will as the nose dips under water and the tail slides a little.

What you Need to Know

1. This move is more about style and finesses than about sheer athleticism, so hanging ten is for all ages.

2. The longer the board, the better. Depending on your size, you will need a board anywhere from 8-10 feet long, around 2.5 inches thick with a rounded nose.

3. This move is great for small clean waves. Hanging ten in bigger surf takes considerable skill, so feel free to practice even when the surf is tiny.

If possible, go without a leash. A leash may hinder your stepping and sometimes restrict you from getting to the nose at all.

If you want to learn to hang ten, you need to try it on every wave for a while. It’s like learning how to punt airs. Just devote a couple sessions to it and you will get it.

Now, Go Rip

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