Monday, January 18, 2010

HOMETOWN HERO


CHIT CHAT W. NAT

natty - http://www.norcalsurfers.com/

It’s been quite awhile since Santa Cruz has had a hometown hero with the talent and drive needed to make it big on the world stage of professional surfing. The last Santa Cruz surfer to compete on the ASP’s World Championship was Adam Replogle back in ‘98, and since then, there has yet to be another local surfer with the chops to qualify for the elite tour. After a decade long drought, it seems now that we may finally a young surfer who’s got that special something. If you haven’t heard of Nat Young by now, it’s time to free yourself from the subterranean bomb shelter that you’ve been trapped in the past four years. Nat’s list of accomplishments includes: Coldwater Classic Pro Junior champ, Coldwater Classic Pro champ, NSSA National champ, North American Rip Curl Gromsearch champ, US Team member, etc. With strong support from his sponsors and family, along with solid backing from the Santa Cruz surfing community, Nat has taken his polished, lightening quick attack to the shores of Europe, Brazil, Indonesia, Australia, Mexico, and beyond. Earlier this year, Nat won the Arnette Pro Junior at Newport Beach, and just last week he placed 4th in Pro Junior division of the spectacle known as the Hurley US Open in Huntington Beach. Now Nat is hanging out at Playa Hermosa in Costa Rica, preparing for his round one heat in the Billabong ISA World Games, which brings the nations of the world together to compete against each other for the pride of their countries. Yesterday, I caught up with Nat to pick his brain on competing, traveling, and his plans for the future.



Congrats on placing in the final in the Pro Junior at Huntington. Describe how it felt to surf in such a huge contest, in front of so many fans and spectators? Does the crowd add to the nerves?
It's pretty weird surfing in front of so many people. It's even hard to run down to the water before your heat because there are people everywhere. I would say that when it is small you really feel the crowd more than when it is big, when it's small you're pretty much in an arena because there are people lining the pier and the beach. When it's big there’s just as many people, but you don’t feel it as much because your so far out and constantly moving, and you don’t hear them as much. And yes I definitely get a little nervous, but I try to block it out as much as possible.



It seems as though you've won everything. What's left for you to accomplish before you attack the big leagues head on? How do you envision yourself making the transition?
I definitely haven't won everything. I have this year and two more years in the junior and I want to win worlds in Narrabeen. Then, the next step is to start winning more QS events and qualify for the CT.



Your quite the busy man. Your passport has got to be maxed out by now. Does it ever feel like your living out of your suitcase? Do you miss home ever?
I just got a new passport so it's not quite maxed out yet. And yeah I do feel like I’m living out of my suitcase. I usually come back to California for a couple days before I go on my next trip. Not always to Santa Cruz, usually to LA. Sometimes I miss home. I always look forward to coming home. If there's no waves, then it gets boring sometimes. But it's good to come home and relax a little.



Throughout your travels and competitive career you've had the chance to hang out with, and make friends with some of the most progressive and high profile surfers in the world. Does this exposure to top notch talent help your own game? Who in particular do you like surfing with the most, and who pushes you the hardest?
Surfing with better surfers definitely brings out the best in me. I recently went on a trip with Owen Wright and he was amazing to watch and he's a super cool kid. I also like surfing with kids like Dillon Perillo, Kolohe Andino, Evan Geiselman, And Luke Davis. They all rip and it's cool to surf with them and see what they're doing.



Your in Costa Rica for the World Games. Tell me about the vibe down there. How is the surf? What's your game plan for the contest? The vibe in Costa Rica is very friendly. All the teams are super friendly, and everyone on our team is very cool as well. The surf has been fun but pretty crowded since everyone is here for the contest. My plan for this contest is like any other contest, I’m gonna try my hardest to win.



note-Nat and the US Team went on to win Gold at the World Games

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