Nat’s Nat & That’s That: A Surfing Legend

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“…both of history of surfing and an insight into…one of Australia’s best ever wave riders… A ‘must’ for every surfers book collection.” — Bank Wright, author

From the Back Cover

Robert “Nat” Young claims honestly not to remember the first time he rode a wave. He remembers the place- Sydney’s Collaroy Beach in the 1950s- and he remembers how it felt. The sensations of those early rides on an inflatable rubber surfmat, “kicking and paddling into it, rushing straight down the face of wave,” drove the course of Nat’s life from then on. Today, with numerous world titles spanning three decades, he is generally regarded as the greatest surfer of the modern era, and one of Australia’s finest ever athletes.
But surfers are not like other athletes, and this book shows us why. It began as a series of short stories, drawn from Nat’s dinner party tales; in the writing process it became something else entirely. What has emerged is not just yet another story of a sportsman’s relentless training, ups and downs, and eventual triumph over adversity. It’s a sociological journey. As Nat crashes around the world from adventure to adventure, winning, losing and everything in between, he experiences the big Western cultural shifts of the past forty years from ground level. Australia before Vietnam and during the draft; hippie 1970 Byron Bay; the good life in California with obscure surfing legend Mickey Dora; Kuta before the tourism boom; environmentalism; dope; international fame and its consequences; it’s all here. As Nat says: “It’s been a wonderful time to be alive and if I had it over I wouldn’t change a thing- and it ain’t over yet.”

About the Author

Nat Young is recognized as one of the great surfers in the history of the sport, having won the world championships in 1966. At that time his new power-oriented surfing style was based on surfing a shorter board than was traditionally used. He is credited with starting the style which was the basis for contemporary surfing. He was born in 1947, and grew up in Collaroy on Sydney, Australia’s, northern beaches, where he lives with his family


Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Along with my younger brothers and a few enthusiastic mates who loved to bodysurf, I would often frequent the breaks at North Narrabeen, one of Sydney’s premier surfing beaches through the seventies and eighties, and in the course of snatching the odd lefhander, especially when there was a sizable swell, enjoy a “dolphin’s eyeview” of the best surfers of the era.
Some were well known firgures, professionals, who often graced the pages of surfing magazines. Others were “locals”, part time surfers who knew their break and how to get the best out of it. But when Nat Young paddled onto a wave something quite special happened. For Nat’s surfing was a thing of beauty to watch and mostly everyone did watch, whether from water or land. Somehow he combined grace and power with an unerring ability to get the best out of a wave that markes out the artist from the pedestrian.
Nat Young it seems, was born to surf.
Peter Garrett
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