HUNTINGTON BEACH, California/USA (Tuesday, December 11, 2012) - Nat Young (USA), 21, has climbed through the ASP ranks without a stumble. A winner of the O’Neill Coldwater Classic at just 17, Young proved his potential was limitless, and the Santa Cruz talent remained consistent at a time when many up and coming surfers struggle to transition from their Pro Junior careers to the men’s Tour. Young followed suit in the years ahead, winning the ASP North America Pro Junior Series, simultaneously establishing himself as a threat on the global scene. Just a few years later, Nat has earned the right to take on surfing’s elite names as Mainland America’s only ASP WCT rookie for 2013.
Young’s passion and dedication has been groomed by one of California’s true hardcore surf towns. Hailing from Santa Cruz, the Nor-Cal native found plenty of inspiration to draw from and attributes a great deal of his success to the place he calls home.
“Santa Cruz definitely has a hardcore surf scene,” Young said. “The whole Westside, Eastside rivalry, I would say has something to do with it, but it’s a good thing though, it pushes people. My biggest inspirations when I was growing up were guys like Adam Repogle and Kieran Horn, not just in the water, but also how they conducted themselves on land. Flea and Ratboy were also big inspirations of mine.”
Young’s qualification for the 2013 ASP WCT proves he is one of the most versatile surfers on the planet, but the goofy-footer is especially known for his deadly backhand attack. Entering a tour with plenty of high-performance righthanders, Nat feels comfortable looking at the upcoming schedule.
“All the different types of rights in Santa Cruz have definitely helped develop my backhand. There are quite a variety whether it’s barrels, wedgy air sections, or long open faces. I feel comfortable and confident on my backhand and I’m excited to surf some of the right points on Tour.”
Young put in a solid campaign in 2012, starting with a victory at the ASP 4-Star Vans Pier Classic. Following a series of consistent results in major ASP 6-Star and Prime rated events over the year, Young found himself at No. 29 on the ASP World Ranking, leaving his qualification hopes resting on the performances of ASP Top 34 surfers on the bubble entering the final event on the WCT.
“The anticipation in Hawaii this year was definitely killing me. I didn’t have my best season in Hawaii. It would have been nice to finish off the year with some solid results. Watching the pipe masters was a little nerve wracking but it was out of my hands. Thankfully it all went my way.”
Entering the upcoming season, Young has already gained invaluable experience after competing as a wildcard at the O’Neill Coldwater Classic, this year’s ninth stop on the ASP WCT. The local put in a valiant effort, taking out his Round 1 heat over Kelly Slater (USA), 40, and fell to Joel Parkinson (AUS), 31, in Round 3.
“I feel like getting the chance to compete in the Coldwater was a great learning experience. I didn’t get to surf too many heats, but I definitely did learn a little. I surfed against Slater and Parko in my first CT, who are currently rated 1 and 2.”
Now that his qualification campaign is wrapped up, Nat is excitedly awaiting the season opening Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast, an event he’s been waiting to surf in since his childhood.
“I am really looking forward to Snapper. The first CT I ever got to watch in real life was snapper when I was 14 or 15, and to now be competing in it is a dream come true. Really, I’m just looking forward to all of the events. I’m living my dreams.”