Nat Young, the pride of Santa Cruz, has certainly come into his own this year on his maiden voyage on the ’round the world circus that is the ASP World Tour. Despite being a rookie, there was nothing “rookie” in the way Mr. Young attacked his idols. How often does a rookie smoke Kelly Slater? How often do they make two, count ’em two, World Tour Final appearances? What ever Nat is doing, he’s doin it, ‘n doin it, ‘n doin it well. I tracked down the humble goofy footer in between heats at Pipe, and got the lowdown on his experience with the break, his expectations for the final day, and his chances for capping off a stellar year with a Pipe Masters title under his belt.
Q) How long have you been surfing Pipe? We know you got a 10 there last year in the Volcom Pipe pro, but was there a lot of dues paid before hand? Who (if anyone) took you under their wing to show you the ropes out there?
A)I’ve been surfing pipe since I first started coming to Hawaii at like 15. Yeah I feel like every session is like dues paid out there, I’ve surfed so many sessions out there where I hardly caught any waves, that’s how it goes with that crowd, but I also feel like the more time you spend out there, the more comfortable you become. No one took me under their wing out there.
Q) How is it being a freckled haole from Santa Cruz in Hawaii? Now that you’re on tour, have things changed? (respect wise, wave quota wise). You were able to sneak a mental tube on Black Friday. Was that gesture of acceptance by the boys or plain luck and positioning? AND….How did that tube feel? It gave me Goosebumps just watching!?
A) I’ve always had a lot of friends in Hawaii and all the locals have been super cool to me. I’ve always showed respect. Haha I don’t know if things have changed since I’ve qualified, but yeah that Black Friday wave was just positioning, and I was lucky no one else was nearby. The tube felt amazing I could see what was going on at first after I made the drop, then I was on the foam ball and it spit and I couldn’t see what was going on. I was leaning forward super hard I thought I was gonna fall forward. Then I came out and I was just like woah! Hah
Q) You’ve accomplished so much this year. What would a Pipe Masters win mean to you? Does it carry more weight than your other awards/wins so far? And if not yourself, who would you want to win the Pipe Masters?
A) Pipe Masters is like the Super Bowl of surfing. It’s the biggest event so a win would mean a lot! It’s always been an event I’ve wanted to win so I’m hoping at some point I can. I don’t know, a guy like C.J. would be rad he’s such a hard worker and amazing surfer. He’s one of the best guys out there too.