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Nat making an amazing bottom turn - image from Surfline

Nat Young

Throughout history surfing eras have been marked by mavericks... avatars of change. Joe Quigg, Phil Edwards, Gerry Lopez, and Tom Curren all worked to alter the way waves were ridden and how surfing was perceived. Yet the most dramatic upheaval of all was foisted upon an unsuspecting world in the late 1960s.

We now regard this epoch as the "Shortboard Revolution," and while it was launched by a group that included Bob McTavish and George Greenough, it was a lone gunman — the scenery-chewing, bigger-than-life Australian named Robert "Nat" Young — who straddled new and old, taking his act right to the peak — a World Championship. Nat didn’t stop there. Throughout a surfing career that is still in progress, he’s influenced the sport through sheer force of will, and even today, surfers everywhere are fascinated with his program.

From his beginnings as a hot rat in the suburban beach town of Collaroy, Nat was an alpha predator. Aggressive, opinionated, and raw, he became a master at identifying opportunity, seizing it, and bending it to his will. This M.O. — applied to waves, contests, and life itself — became his trademark, and earned him a nickname that lives and breathes thirty years later... The Animal.


- Scott Hulet extract from Surf History

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