mcnutly and young : world contest, 1966
courtesy of the Graham Sorensen Collection.
"How's it feel to be World Champ a spectator asked as Robert "Nat" Young stood on the winner's platform, squinting into a battery of television cameras.
"Great! I feel jazzed," grinned the curly-haired Aussie, holding his shiny first-place trophy.
the scene amid the tumut and the shouting on San Diego Ocean
Beach as the third World Surfing Championships faded into
the record book.
No one could derail the "Nat Young express" and Young, 18, who had won the Australian title at Coolangatta last June, had ripped apart the California surf during the week long competition, leaving no doubt among the 53 men contestants, 15 women, officials and beach rail-birds that he was number one in the world.
knew I was going to take it (the title) if I got a
chance at a good right," Young said.
"I got it at Ocean Beach and took the title.
I knew could win if I had the waves."
confident, but not boastful Australian champion had to come
from behind, however, to beat the tough international field
and especially the chief west coast threat, Hawaiian-born
Young was beaten by Corky Carroll of the West Coast team in semi-final of the first day's competition.
But with champion determination Nat battled back through the semi-main and finished second in the first-day finals behind Nuuhiwa.
DAVID'S 10 SECOND NOSERIDE
unquestionably the outstanding surfer of the opening day's
Still competing this year as a junior, he breezed into the finals by knocking off John Peck on of the west coast in the semIs.
The fifteen-minute heat featured what was probably the outstanding slide of the contest, a nose ride across a five-foot swell at North Jetty.
David dropped in and went quickly to the nose, shooting across just in front of the folding section for an incredible 10.1 seconds, as the crowd on the beach hooted and hollered.
Later on the beach, Peck shook his at head and said:
when you go into the men' he division, I'm going to become a
You're just too tough to beat."
first day's competition Young was far from discouraged.
Before loading his board into the van, he told a news reporter:
uuhiwa) is a goofy-foot and really went after those long
But just give me a shot at a good right and I'll be back on top."
opening competition of the third World Championships set the
stage for what SURFER Maganzine had predicted last issue as
"a classic battle shaping up between David Nuuhiwa and Nat
Picking Nuuhiwa and Young as the top surfers of the competition, the article asked 'Who's going to prevent Robert Nat Young from taking the World Championships home to Australia?"
The article forecast that Nuuhiwa was the leading contender to block Young's bid for the title and added "so this will be the duel in the surfing sun that many surfing experts will be looking for: a head-on clash between the two master surfers trying the impossible, getting the maximum out of themselves and the wave."
But as with many long-range forecasts, there was a flaw: Nuuhiwa it didn't follow the script.
YOUNG COMES FROM BEHIND
The next day as the contest moved across the jetty to Ocean Beach, Young took it all, while Nuuhiwa had an almost incredibly bad heat and, was knocked out of any title contention.
paddled out the favorite in the heat to whip Butch Van
Artsdalen of Hawaii, Tommy McRoberts of the East Coast and
Peru's Caesar Bouroncle.
But even great athlete's sometimes have trouble, and this was Nuuhiwa's day.
He sat most of the heat on his board watching good sets roll by unmolested, and when the air horn signaled the end, he had caught only four waves.
This almost automatically eliminated him because of surfers were judged on the best five scores during the fifteen-minute heat. When the judges' cards were totaled, McRoberts was the winner, Van Artsdalen, second, and Nuuhiwa a heart-broken third.
"I guess I
just went to sleep out there- I feel I let the contest
down," said Nuuhiwa as he walked away unconsolable after his
And so the second day ended with Young putting the contest completely to ice with a victory in the finals over (in this order) Dru Harrison and Rusty Miller of the West Coast, Rodney Sumpter of England and Steve Bigler and Mike Doyle of the West Coast.
The victory gave Young a total (continued on page 46)
One of the
greatest moments in competition surfing history was captured
by Ron Stoner in this incredible 10.1 second nose ride of
David Nuuhiwa in first day competition of the World Surfing
David turned in the longest nose ride in competition history.
The previous top times were last year at the Tom Morey Noseriding Invitational by Mickey Munoz, Mike Hynson and Corky Carroll in 9.9, 9.8, and 9.6 respectively.
However, they were clocked riding anywhere on the front quarter of their boards, while Nuuhiwa was hanging five during most of
his wild ride.
Stoner caught the action with his motor driven Nikon F with a 385mm lens.
Later the camera was clocked by a stopwatch, and it took 10.1 seconds for the 18 pictures to click off.
An amazing ride and an amazing photo sequence.
Photograph: Corky Carroll drives left during the Sunday finals.
points for the first two days of competition and made it
mathematically impossible for him to lose in the Sunday
Even if he finished last in the finals, Young was the winner.
officials were dismayed when they realized the lanky
Australian had wrapped up the contest with still two days of
men's competition left.
There was no question that Young had won fairly and squarely under the rules set up by the World Championships Competition Committee.
And yet, as Australian team official John Witzig put it:
definitely a flaw in any contest set up so that a champion
can be decided at the half-way point of competition.
It's not his (Nat's) fault that he scored enough points to win it early.
But the contest officials should have considered the mathematical possibility that a red hot surfer like Nat could do the job in just two days."
NAT OFFERS TO RISK TITLE
Then at a
meeting called by contest officials to discuss the early
victory, champion Young made a probably unprecedented
proposal: He said he was willing to go back in the contest
and risk his points in another day of open heat competition.
This was tantamount to a heavyweight champion defending his title a few minutes after winning it, or a golfer again playing the field after a tournament victory.
"If it will give more suspense to the finals on Sunday, I don't mind risking the title, and besides, I think I'll win it anyway," Young said.
Young's magnanimous offer was scotched by a hastily called
meeting of the International Surfing Federation.
The officials from all the countries represented voted that Young indeed had won the title with his impressive showing, and changing rules in mid-contest would be unfair
both to Nat
and the concept of the World Championships.
Therefore, the contest continued the next day with another full round of competition, but without champion Young and the
three other surfers who had been seeded into the finals: Jock Sutherland in number two position with 144 points; Steve Bigler, with 137 and Corky Carroll with 130.
Bright and early next morning the contest resumed at Ocean Beach with a glassy swell in the three to six-foot category rolling under the pier pilings.
Again there was great surfing, as the remainder of the field battled to determine which two surfers would survive and join Young, Sutherland, Bigler and Carroll in the Sunday finals.
The warfare was heated, and the list of casualties in the semi-finals was impressive with names that in other contests frequently end up on the winner's stand: Among them, Dru Harrison, Kiki Spangler, 1965 USSA champion Rusty Miller, Paul Strauch, Jr., David Nuuhiwa, Mike Doyle.
FLETCHER HOT - TOO LATE
for the third day of men's competition was fluid-riding
Herbie Fletcher of the West Coast team.
But Herbie had to do it the hard way.
He was beaten in his semi-final heat by Australia's Midget Farrelly and found himself in the semi-main with a tough group of competitors, Gary Propper of the East Coast, Leroy Ah Choy of Hawaii, and West Coast stars John Peck and Skip Frye.
Herbie turned in a fine performance in the wind-blown sets and advanced to the third-day finals.
John Peck was second in the semi-main, followed by Ah Choy, Frye and Propper, in that order.
A few moments later Herbie paddled out into the finals for the third-day competition- and was just as hot.
There was a great lineup in the water, and all the contestants were really scrambling.
When the air horn sound-
ed the end of the 20-minute heat, Fletcher was the winner, followed in order by Peter Drouyn, the Australian junior champion; Hawaii's Jeff Hakman; Rodney Sumpter of England; Midget Farrelly, the first world champion from Australia; and Jackie Ebberly of Hawaii.
However, when total points were tallied for the first three days of competition, the high point men were Farrelly and Sumpter, and they advanced into the Sunday finals to join Young, Sutherland, Bigler and Carroll.
JOYCE CONSISTENT - WINS
The next day the women took the spotlight early for the Sunday finals, and defending champion Joyce Hoffman of Capistrano Beach, California, demonstrated that there is no substitute during a rough week-long contest for consistent performances.
Joyce, who had breezed through
Photograph: San Diego's Skip Frye on one of the great rides at the Mission Bay jetty.
first-place victories in the first two days of women's
competition, found the going a little rougher in the hour
long, six-girl final. But she finished high-second to Joey
Hamasaki, her old rival on the United States Surfing
Thus, although Joey took the finals, Joyce won the world title by her accumulated point total for the three days of competition.
By the time
the six-man men's finals were ready to take to the water,
the beach crowd was growing and people spilled about the
sand and lined the long concrete pier three deep.
San Diego official, Robert Gilham, estimated that the peak crowd for the day was 80,000 spectators, and they had plenty to cheer about during the hour-long finals.
NAT POWERS ON SUNDAY
gave swift notice that he was not there to rest on his
laurels or his two-day point score.
He power attacked the morning swells unruffled by wind and waves running up to five feet.
Nat was given a stiff battle by the other finalists, but left no doubt that he had come to win- and win he did.
handle any kind of surf- big or small," said Dick Catri,
manager of the surprisingly strong East Coast team.
Catri pointed out that Young had barely been edged out for the title in Peru in surf in the 10 to 15-foot category at Punta Rocas.
was Duke Kahanamoku, the Honorary Chairman of the
Championships, who commented:
"That boy is really a keen surfer. .. he has a championship look about him ...I think he's going to be around surfing a long time. .."
biggest challenge in the finals was by Corky Carroll and
Jock Sutherland, who finished Sunday's finals in that order.
However, Sutherland moved into second place behind Young in
the overall standings because of his point scores for the
first two days.
Carroll was third, Bigler fourth, Sumpter fifth and Farrelly sixth.
plenty of frosting on the championship cake.
The unofficial events included tandem, paddling, dory racing and-for the first time- explosively exciting catamaran surfing.
EDWARDS' "CAT" WIPE OUT
were judged in a surfing contest, the first of any known
record, and what a crowd pleaser!
On the very first takeoff, Phil Edwards dropped his 19-foot "cat" into a steep five-foot wall, and under full sail, breezed along for several hundred yards until a crashing section flipped the boat and smashed the mast.
There were several other wipeouts in the cat contest that was won by a boat skippered by Mickey Munoz, Tom Carlyn and Rusty Miller.
crowd pleasing event was the team relay paddle race.
The West Coast team wrapped up the victory with a strong team of Mike Doyle, Rusty Miller, Corky Carroll and Steve Bigler. Demonstrating how an expert water man operates, Miller assured the victory by catching a wave several hundred yards from the beach and proning out all the way in to the shallow water.
NEXT "WORLD" IN HAWAII
competition went into its final moments, there was talk
about the next World Contest.
Where will it be?
At least we hope so," said veteran big-wave rider Wally Froiseth, a judge on the Hawaiian team.
Wally explained that the International Surfing Federation has given Hawaii a five-month option on the next World Contest, and if sponsors in the Islands can be found, that is where it will be.
"Probably where the best surf is, maybe even Waimea Bay," said Wally, a twinkle in his eye as if watching some hot dog-oriented surfer going over the falls on a 20-foot wave.
World Contest should be no problem to promote after the
success and world-wide interest of the third competition.
Everyone was stoked.
Said silver-haired Duke Kahanamoku, 76, who has practically invented the modern version of surfing:
"Gee, these kids are really some- thing. ..these suders have really developed a great sport that ranks with any in the world."
Nat Young had some personal views on the World Contest after all the competition had ended and the excitement had died away. Here, in his own words, are some of Nat's views and reflections...
Photograph: [Nat Young and trophy.]
HOW l WON IT
By Nat Young
I am now
World Champion, and I suppose to the normal public, I've
achieved my goal.
Well, I guess I have as far as contests go, but I feel sure there are many more directions in surfing not yet looked into.
For me, the challenge is just beginning.
World Contest looked exactly like those in Peru and
Australia except for two things: the competing surfers were
not bound by a busy schedule of "commercial" obligations.
I'm sure this pleased all the contestants, because it gave them most of the day to become acquainted with the surf in the San Diego area.
But even more important than this, we had time in the water to surf and prove our ability by dividing the contest into three equal parts, instead of a win-or-lose-all battle.
Contest naturally was started to find the world's best
In Australia we found the best in smaller waves.
Last year we had the best surfer in big waves-and so this year the idea was to have three separate contests and find the world's best under all conditions.
However, something went wrong- the surf didn't cooperate- and we ended up with two contrasting beach breaks.
first day's surfing at La Jolla Shores, I went well, won my
heat and everything was fine until Hoppy Swarts decided to
move the contest to some jetty about four miles away.
When we arrived at this new site, my heart really fell as I looked across the beach and saw a set of lefts.
I rode them, but so many guys did better.
I wanted a good right-hander so I could get my power attack going.
The second day Hoppy, after some time, moved the contest to Ocean Beach, and at this time, the smaller right was exactly what I needed after coming in second to Nuuhiwa on Thursday.
I charged, and with a first and second in the first two days, I felt pretty confident- I was starting to adjust to world competition.
following day, since I was seeded into the finals, I felt
miserable because I didn't get to surf.
The challenge of having to fight with Nuuhiwa had disappeared, and this hurt because I really would have liked to know the outcome of what could have been a classic battle.
But under the rules of the contest, I went forward into the finals while David- who had done poorly the second day- went into another open heat competition and was eventually eliminated.
I wanted to have another go at him, but we never faced each other in the water again.
On Sunday when Hoppy said, "Hit the water," I had several tlioughts going around in my head, and I should have had only one: surfing that contest.
through the break, I began to think about the different
attitudes all these so-called best surfers in the world had
towards surfing, and I was wishing I could read their
answers on the questionnaire that all contestants had to
fill out as they registered for the contest.
I wonder what answers these people put to the question "What does surfing mean to you?"
How many were there because they really loved the ocean and the surf?
My next immediate thought was what do all these surfers try to achieve in the water.
Or did they have a plan?
I wrapped up the championship in two days because I did exactly what I set out to do- I defined good surfing and then followed my plan and definition to the best of my ability under the wave conditions.
I know I didn't win because I was lucky.
I put a lot of time into thinking exactly what I wanted to achieve out there, and I did it.
I remember discussing this with David Nuuhiwa.
He agreed, but contradicted himself by going out and attempting to do one thing perfectly: nose riding.
I consider nose riding very difficult, but it is merely a portion of modern surfing.
To me modern surfing involves a number of complex maneuvers expressed in an individual way, a creative and aggressive style that reflects your personality.
If you just stand on the nose from start to finish, you've defeated creativity and individualism- the very essence of surfing!
point I was interrupted by the penetrating blast of the air
horn, and the finals had begun.
I had ridden one non-thinking wave and now had to get some power and move.
Corky came screaming out of a wave and then Jock Sutherland unleashed a powerful turn, spraying water all over me.
Three or four little nothing lefts and then Jock slid into one beautiful right.
Over inside, Steve Bigler had one good wave, both feet wrapped around the end, screaming straight towards Rodney Sumpter who was out on the shoulder again.
Midget Farrelly surfed as usual- straight out of the book- taking time before making any move.
I remember looking along a nice topped wave and seeing Bigler and "Gopher" (Sumpter) fighting for the gate.
Bigler won this time, but what a mess.
Both at least 20 feet from the pocket.
White Stag Wetsuits, Portland Oregon.
The Color of the Contest
An combination of world contest crowd and fashion photos by Ron Stoner:
Avalon's Rod Sumpter, UK.
Robert 'Nat' Young and ?
Volume 7 Number 6
White Stag Wetsuits, Portland Oregon.