Santa Cruz Native Looks Back On A Very Good Year

Nat Young had a serious year in 2008. From the start, Nat was ablaze, creating a fiery mess of contest victories and leaving a trail of plaques bearing his name. NSSA Open Men's champ? You can go ahead and place a check next to that one. Pro Junior victory? You can cross that one off, too. Coldwater Classic win? Just another notch in his belt. At a mere 17 years of age, the young alabaster-toned Santa Cruz prince has officially stamped his seal on the surf world.

So, not too bad of a run last year. I want to get your perspective though. Can you run me through '08 as you remember it?

Yeah, '08 was a pretty darn good year for me. Everything just seemed to fall in place. As far as contests go, I won the Open Men's Division in the NSSA Nationals and then I won the El Ponto Loco Pro Junior, and after that, I won the Coldwater Classic here in Santa Cruz. I don't know what I was doing right really. I was just surfing I guess and things worked out for me.

Did you feel like this was your year? You just seemed to really find a rhythm.

Yeah, for sure. I was just doing my best and surfing as much as I can. I don't really know how to describe it. 2008 just seemed to be really smooth to me. I'd surf, win a contest, go on a killer photo trip, and then just repeat that cycle…

Of all of the ups you had last year, was there one that stood out to you the most?

That's kind of a tough one, so many things ya know? I'd have to either go with the Nationals win or the Coldwater Classic win. I mean winning Open Men's in Nationals is pretty cool…so many amazing surfers have come out of that. But then winning the Coldwater Classic was pretty cool too. That win was a lot tougher for me for sure, but I'd have to say that they're pretty much up and up.

Going back to your win at the Coldwater Classic for a moment, it seemed like half of Santa Cruz was on the cliff cheering for you during the final.

Yeah, it seemed like that to me too. It was a little tough for me to stay focused when I would look up on the cliff and hear people screaming my name as loud as they can. There were people up there screaming my name and cheering for me that I swear I'd never even seen before. It was a little unnerving, but really cool at the same time. Somehow I was able to focus the nerves and get the job done.

With last year behind you, what's in store for '09?

Hopefully I can continue my stride in '09. I'm just gonna keep surfin' ya know? Just doing my absolute best. As far as contests go, I'm just gonna do some Pro Juniors and a few 'QS events here and there…

Click here to read an extended interview with Nat Young, and to see video of him in action on