After a close race with Felipe and Seabass, Nat’s supernatural consistency stole the show.
A couple of months ago, the three ASP rookies on tour were having a certified cage match. Each had their specific fighting style, and while all three couldn’t have been any more different, all of them also couldn’t have been bigger threats to the veterans already on tour.
Brazilian goofy foot and rumored werewolf Felipe Toledo’s go-for-broke alley-oop to frontside reverse combos were commonplace in his repertoire on Tour. Kauai’s Sebastian Zietz had tube sense like an Irons brother and a frontside attack like Mick Fanning.
And then there was Nat.
Santa Cruzes goofy-footer Nat Young never really wowed you with progressive razz-ma-tazz and flipty-doos. No one ever said to themselves, “I can’t wait for the next Nat Young clip to drop,” because Nat Young don’t drop clips. He’s too busy advancing heats and taking out most of the Top 34 surfers in the world.
By the end of Portugal, heading into the last event at Pipe, Nat Young had locked the Rookie of the Year win with his near-unstoppable and shocking consistency, plus put fear into the hearts of most ‘CT competitors. A very rare move, indeed, for a first-year grinder.
In short, it became apparent that anyone could get smoked by the 22-year-old rookie. Nat ended up wrapping his year with not only a Top 10 finish, but a No. 8 in the world, a runner-up at both Bells and Peniche, a 3rd at Bali and more than a few quarter final finishes, including his last at macking Pipeline.
“It feels awesome,” said Nat. “It was a goal of mine since the start of the year. It’s what I worked all year for and it feels amazing when you achieve a goal you’ve been focused on. All my career so far has been small stepping stones so hopefully I can continue building and next year or the year after put myself up there in the Top 5.”
Top 5, eh? Well, if in the next year or two he brings the same exact approach he did to his first one against rookies Felipe and Seabass, then I don’t see why Nat.