HUNTINGTON BEACH, California (Sunday, February 8, 2008) The Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) North America Pro Junior Series may still be over a month away from kicking off its season, but Santa Cruz standout Nat Young, 17, has already warmed up his competitive chops by competing in a few events in Australia. The goofy-footer is hoping that the added international experience will give him an edge over the competition as he enters into the 2009 season.
Young, who finished second on the ASP North America Pro Junior Series last year, was one of six top junior performers to represent the U.S. in the Billabong ASP World Junior Championships in Narrabeen, Australia last month. The toe-headed ripper hung around to compete in the ASP Grade-4 Hurley Burleigh Pro Junior as well and feels that competing in the Australian events has boosted his confidence entering the 2009 ASP North America Pro Junior Series season.
"I think I have a little bit of an advantage going into this year," Young said. "I will have done a couple contests before the first North America contest, but the main advantage will be confidence. I have just surfed against the best juniors in the world from all different countries. I have also learned a bit more contest strategy so I will be confident going into the first contest."
Young feels that competing at the heightened level of competition has pushed him to step up his game, but he now has to adjust back from the man-on-man heat format adopted at the ASP World Junior Championships to the traditional four-man heats used in ASP North America Pro Junior Series competition.
"Competing in Australia has just made me surf the best that I can because I have been surfing against the world's best," Young said. "The format is different though, so I will have to get used to four man heats again."
Young's competitive prowess is not the only thing that has heightened since his stay in Australia. The up-and-coming talent has boosted his free-surfing skills as well.
"I feel like my free-surfing has progressed," Young said. "I have been surfing with guys like Kai Barger, Evan Geiselman, Dillon Perillo, Mitch Crews, and some other really good surfers and have just been taking notes from each of them."
Young's refined competitive skills coupled with his improved free-surfing will undoubtedly make him a serious title contender for this year's ASP North America Pro Junior Series Title.
"I want to try and win the season and world's," Young said. "That's the main goal."
Look for Nat Young to start his season off on the right foot with the first event of the ASP North America Pro Junior Series season, the Ezekiel Pro Junior presented by Jack's Surfboards, running from March 25-29, 2009.
To check out Nat Young's profile log on to www.aspnorthamerica.org
For additional info regarding international ASP Pro Junior competition log on to www.aspworldtour.com