Local hometown hero, Nat Young, has been hot on the press ever since he defeated Kelly Slater during Coldwater competition last year at his coveted break, Steamer Lane. The Santa Cruz native has officially made his way to the big leagues. Young has been dominating the scene, starting a phenomenal competitive season off with a first place win at the Vans Pier Classic in Huntington Beach, winning the wildcard entry into the 2012 O’Neill Coldwater Classic at his home break, and impressing the judges on the North Shore of Oahu with his powerful surfing throughout the Vans Triple Crown and Volcom Pipe Pro. The hard work has paid off, as the first ASP World Tour event kicks off in Australia in the upcoming weeks debuting Nat Young’s rookie season as a World Tour competitor.
Steamer Lane’s finest specimen is ready for global domination. With the 2013 WCT on his mind and an exciting career ahead of him with freshly pasted Hurley stickers on his boards, Young is training tirelessly to secure his spot on tour and battle for his first world title. Get to know the 21-year-old ripper with this exclusive Surf Channel interview.
The Surf Channel: Tell us about your local spot.
Nat Young: Ya, my hometown is Santa Cruz. There are all kinds of waves up there; it’s really good. It’s different than down here (in Southern California). There are lots of reef breaks and point breaks… My local spot is Steamer Lane.
Inspiration out of Santa Cruz:
Young: There are a bunch of really good surfers out of Santa Cruz, guys like Peter Mel, Ratboy… I looked up to those guys when I was younger and they all still surf and they rip, so it’s really cool to surf with them.
Vibe in the lineup:
Young: Between the surfers, it’s totally mellow. I mean, there is the “Westside” and the “Eastside,” but there is no conflict. Most of the people get along. I don’t think it is like it used to be. I mean, if you aren’t from Santa Cruz, I could see it being hard to get waves, but I have grown up there my whole life and I know everyone there… It’s cool, I can catch my waves.
Young: I am a big fan of rap. I usually listen to rap before my heats. I like Drake and Wiz Khalifa
Travel vs. staying local:
Young: I love my time at home, especially for a couple weeks, but once I am home for a while, I start to get antsy and want to get back on the road to surf different waves. I love both. It’s just like if you get too much of one, you want to do the other, so I love it.
Watch as Nat Young and John John Florence (HAW) score massive barrels during the 2013 Volcom Pipe Pro:
Young: I ride for Channel Islands Surfboards, so that’s what my quiver consists of. I kind of go between the Rookie which is like a normal shortboard for me, and the Fred Rebel which is a little smaller.
Ideal Day in Santa Cruz:
Young: I would probably surf like, three times on the best day. In between that, just hanging out with friends, Facebook, Instagram, maybe basketball. I love basketball. I play a lot at home, watch basketball… pretty much a typical day.
Water photographers ever an obstacle?
Young: It’s kind of a caution when you are trying to get barreled and there is a photographer there, pointing his camera at you. I’ve hit a water photographer before with my board and he wasn’t too happy with me, but I try to avoid them.
Thoughts on women’s surfing?
Young: Women’s surfing has progressed one hundred percent. Every girl on tour now is a really good surfer and it’s fun to watch now, because those girls are really good and they all take it really seriously. They are out there the earliest in the morning when its dark and stuff, so it’s pretty cool.
Young: I’ve seen a few sharks, one near my house, but it was really far away. It was like a triangle fin; it wasn’t like a dolphin that goes under and then comes back up, but it was just kind of hanging out on the top… but I still freaked out and came in. It was when I was really little. My mom was calling me…
The scariest moments in the water are those sessions when you paddle out and hear about sharks, and you are just thinking about it the whole time and you think you are seeing stuff to the sides or whatever. Even last week was one of the scariest sessions we have ever had. It was just me and all of my friends. They would catch waves and I would paddle in ’cause I didn’t want to be sitting out there by myself.
Young: I don’t really have that many, but before I started surfing, I used to be sponsored for boogie boarding. I guess that’s kind of funny (laughs). I guess I kind of climbed a ladder and started surfing.
Young: I’m not really the healthiest guy. I try to eat healthy, but I usually just eat what I like. Maybe before a heat I wouldn’t eat a huge burrito or something like that, but ya, I just kind of eat whatever I like. I’m sure sooner or later I’m going to have to start focusing on my diet.
Follow Nat Young through his rookie year on the World Championship Tour via his Facebook, Twitter @NatYoungNY and Instagram @Nat_Young.