di Erika Scafuro
Every era and every field have their legends. Surf has several and the one between 60s and 70s bears the name of Nat Young.
Australian Robert Harold “Nat” Young, was born in 1947 in Sidney. Probably, at some point, of his life he realized that it was becoming a legend, as Nat is known as one of the most great surfer in the surf history.
The reason is simple: in 1966 Nat gained, in San Diego California, the first title of World Surfing Champion, then in 1970 he was crowned Smirnoff World Pro Championships winner as four times champion of WSL Longboard Championship Tour, and the list of awards may still be very long.
For Nat Young surf has meant not only a passion, but a lifestyle that has occupied his whole existence: he is also remembered for his contribution to a new tecnique and style of riding, he has been nicknamed “The Animal” for his approach so energetic on the waves, and he has made possibile a devolopment about boards since the moment he designed and shaped “Magic Sam”, with which he won the title in 1966. Nat Young helped to introduce a new model of boards, more shorter than usual, to allow greater performance in terms of maneuverability and speed.
Since he retired as a professional surfer, Nat became an author and he wrote several surf books; in 2019 he realesed the last one titled “Church of the Open Sky”.
Nat story is full of anecdotos, one of which when, in 2000, he was victim of a surf rage episode at the Australian beach of Angourie, in the New South Wales: he suffered serious injuries so, during the time he needed to recovery, he wrote “Surf Rage” to remind how important are tolerance and respect in the surf community.
During ‘70s and ‘80 Nat directed surf documentaries and he has been part of the cast in famous surf movies, mention a few, “Crystal Voyager” and “Palm Beach”.
Father of four sons that Nat had from his wife Ti, surfing is a family affair for Young members who can boast more that one surfing star: Beau, born in 1974, obviously started surfing as a child and, followed father’s footsteps, he has been a pro surfer which has achieved extraordinary results. Beau won two times the title of World Surf League Longboard Champion in 2000 and 2003.
In spite of his natural skills, he did not follow surf career anymore. So he started a sort of creative life becoming a shaper, since he has always been fascinated with the design of the boards, and becoming a singer songwriter; in 2005 he debuted with the album “Waves of Change”.