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Nose protection for windsurfers    

or "you got to have padding!"

With boards ever lighter, and thusly in some ways more prone to damage, early nose protection strategies involved attempts to deflect injurious mast and boom slams from the nose. Not only does this approach do nothing for wide noses, it also offers up the structurally significant middle of the board to damage.

Occasionally, I would see “Jeez Knobs”, odd looking devices that would crumple, as well as deflect – a vast improvement, but often not sufficient protection, either.

Then NorthShoreInc – bless their hearts – brought fourth dual-density foam padz, particularly for the ever-mauled early Techno noses. They worked! What had been a flood of nose repairs, slowed to a trickle.

From being somewhat insipid black-and-dark-grey things, these padz evolved to handsome grey and white marvels, available to look dashing on most beginner and intermediate noses. At about $32.- a piece, a most excellent investment, indeed!

But what is this??? beautifully molded, snug-fitting fiberglass nose bras – that cannot possibly work!

Back in Physics 101, we all learned that energy does not disappear. It may get converted from a destructive type to another, non-destructive one, but it will not just quietly go away. In our daily lives, impact energy most often is defused by converting it to deformation energy – as witness crumple zones in cars, egg crates, and foam padding in helmets, for example.

So whatever are they thinking, offering rigid nose bras to protect rigid board noses???

The mast slam impact will deflect the nose bra until it fully contacts the nose, and continue on downwards, mauling, delaminating, shearing things in its path, until all energy has been used up.

And so it is that I find serious nose damage under 90% of all rigid nose bras that come to me. Usually, this damage is totally hidden from sight, and the owner unaware, until rusty stains appear, indicating long-term water absorption (don’t get me started on the metal staples!).

At $90.-, these bras are expensive duds! If you have one already, do take it off and remount it with foam padding between bra and nose (bits of EVA sleeping pads work well) – but if you are prone to wiping out, YOU GOT TO HAVE PADDING!!


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