Nat's Nat and the Cat in the Hat

I first learnt to surf at Collaroy on Sydney's northern beaches in the mid 70's where Robert "Nat" Young was King. He went on to write a book, Nat Young's History of Surfing where he himself pretty much declared himself the King of all the surfing universe. I spent my teenage years reading that book cover to cover dozens of times, so my heart skipped a beat when I found this board in the back yard of a junk shop for $15 a few years ago. To be fair, Nat did win the World Surfboard Championship in San Diego in 1966, the first person to win the title who was not a resident of the host country. He went on to become one of the most influential players of the modern era.
According to Surf Research This board was probably shaped by Paul Holmes. The design was heavily influenced by Joey Cabell of Hawaii. This design features a compressed pintail gun template, 2nd phase concave bottom, soft box rails with a hard edge, large nose lift and, its most beautiful feature, a small Greenough single fin made from a combination wood and fibreglass laminates.
The board looks grey green on the bottom, but is in fact bright blue, the gloss coat having browned with age.
Of course I just LOVE the nude lady in the ferns rice paper transfer. The epitome of 70's cool.

Photo : Bruce Channon

Photo : Albert Falzon


  1. Damo...

    Prime cut!

    That NY looks pristine!

    My Mum's place was just up the road from Nat Young's Fall Line surf centre at Mona Vale, home of the original wave mural on the northern beaches.

    The shaping bay was in a garage out the back and we were always wishing we'd run into Nat.

    I spent endless hours down there combing through the board racks looking at the revolutionary tails, rails, butterfly fins, and stabiliser skegs.

    One thing that really set a Nat Young board apart was the super hard glass jobs. The boards were relatively heavier than anything else on the market.

    Hence the lasting quality of the glass job you have in your hands in the picture.

    Other local companies nearby included Lee Purcell and KC Surfboards (in it's second era under Greg Trotter).

    Morning Star had a strong following amongst the Mona Vale grommets, and there were a few San Juans about too.

    Everybody saved up for custom boards in those days.



  2. Interesting stuff many thanks. Interestingly I surfed with the Collaroy guys for a year or so in the early –mid 60’s. Hung out with Nat, Twiggy, Henry, Kenno, the Dawsons, Trapper, Marty Vagg etc etc before moving on to join the North Narrabeen Boardriders.
    Great group of guys and had a lot of fun with them.
    Now in my 60s (like Nat) and living on Victoria, it’s nice to revive old memories.
    I still surf a little on my McGrigor twinnie shaped by Barry King as a well as a similar thruster by Barry as well as a Simon Anderson thruster, but the awer is so cold down here it’s mostly when I get to travel north acoiple of times each year.
    (former nick name Yogi)

    PS Reference to influence – perhaps you are referring to Joey Cabell (not Campbell)??

  3. Nice! I own a very similar board. It's a 6'8" blue with red flashes across it. From memory Steve Zoeller shaped it in the late '70's. I had it made for me for surfing Ulu when I was a kid. It is still in excellent condition and gets ridden from time to time. Goes great!!


  4. I fixed dings out back for Nat at monavale while Phil Murry shaped his Fallines.One afternoon his Lordship rolled in with a crappy folder that was featured in the classic Rabbit n Kong flic,Nats History of Surfing!It was pretty cool and we was impressed,but the worst thing about my little fincut of historia was my mum bought the book full retail,for my 18th birthday and Nat signed it "Stay Tubed"






  5. Hi. My name is Ben and my dad is the original shaper of McGrigor surfboards. Hes in his 60s now as well but the amazing thing is he still shapes and surfs. You're a legend Dad.

  6. aw man...... mid-late 70s I had a beautiful 7' NY pintail, clear glass job n early days rocker vicious upturned nose....those things were born for long north coast walls or some of the steep greens down mum also bought me nat's surfing history book from the mona vale shop signed by the big man, "Wazz, keep on surfin'" one chrissie...still got the book, damned if I can remember what happened to the board but!! Downstairs I have a cool greg Clough pinnie, a dennis pang thruster 7'2" n a very nice bill cilia 6'9"...too many accidents have done my knees and back in though n I can't surf no more, but had a good 3 decades in the nsw surf.