Monday, February 15, 2010

10 Questions In 10 Minutes with Nate Yeomans

I spent last Thursday morning down in San Clemente with Pro Surfer Nate Yeomans. Nate has just qualified for the WCT of surfing, which is the equal to the NBA, NFL and the NHL for pro athletes. He leaves this coming Tuesday to Australia for the first stop of the tour and his first taste of the big leagues.

1. JAC: Where were you born and raised?

Nate: I was born right down the street at San Clemente Hospital, born and raised here in San Clemente till I was 10, and then moved to San Juan Capistrano.

2. JAC: How did you get into surfing?

Nate: My dad surfed - basically how I got into surfing. He used to do a youth group. He was a pastor for a youth group and he would take the kids up to El Capitan campground every summer. I think I was 5 when I first surfed. My mom and dad would go to the beach every summer and I would boogie board a lot when I was little. I would get beat up in the waves and then around 9 or 10 is when I started to surf pretty much all the time.

3. JAC: Who are your influences in surfing?

Nate: I say now, just the guys I surf with. I really like the way (Mike) Losness surfs. Just kinda a different approach. I surf with the Gudauskas brothers a lot. But the guys I really liked when I was younger were Cory Lopez, Chris Ward, Ed Crombley, Andy Irons and when I was really young, Tom Curren.

4. JAC: What was your most memorable moment on the WQS last year?

Nate: For me, the most “good” memorable moment would have been the Santa Cruz event for sure. With all the events you do there’s a lot of memorable things, but competitively it was probably Santa Cruz. My parents were there - my wife was there. We rented a house. So it was kinda like a vacation/contest all in one. It was really cool.

5. JAC: How has the win at Santa Cruz changed your life?

Nate: It was the main reason why I got onto the WCT. That was a major change. To go from just a competitive surfer to one of the best surfers in the world and compete on that level. It’s basically where I’ve been trying to get to for like four years now. It was a big step that got me on. Throughout the year I had results, but that was the high point and most points that solidified me qualifying for the WCT.

6. JAC: What do you hope to accomplish on your first year on tour?

Nate: “Rookie of the Year” is definitely one of my top goals; and then my other goal is to make the top 15. To do that you just have to have a consistent good year and always be on your “A” game. Come in, surfing smart, and getting the right waves. Just at that level the guys are really good. Rookie of the year is my main goal and re-qualify through the ‘CT.

7. JAC: What do you look the most forward to on tour?

Nate: Win an event. I don’t know, there’s a bunch. It’s just an adventure competing. Now there are whole new venues that I haven’t been to. I really look forward to Tahiti. The first contest at Snapper - the prestige of Bells. I don’t think its one thing, the whole; it’s just “The Dream Tour.” I don’t think you can sum it up in one word.

8. JAC: What’s the best thing about being a Pro Surfer?

Nate: I get to surf for my job. I would do it anyway; to be able to do it as your job, your income, and do what you love. A lot of people don’t get to experience that. Yeah, I’m blessed. It’s pretty rad.

9. JAC: What is the worst thing about being a Pro Surfer?

Nate: I would say it’s kinda like a Catch 22 with me being gone so much. It could be tough. Like I’m getting ready right now to leave for 10 weeks straight. So it’s hard for people to relate, but being gone for 10 weeks is tough. Just being away from my wife, family, friends and still having to operate while on the road to cover your expenses. It could be tough, but I’ve been doing it for a while, so I’m used to it. But for the average person, and trying to do it, you could be overwhelmed. Ten weeks away is a long time.

10. JAC: Any advice for kids who want to make the WCT?

Nate: I would just say - set your goals and enjoy it. There’s a lot of disappoints. It’s an individual sport and there could be jealousy and all that kind of stuff, the judges or there’s a lot of things that can get in your way. Don’t sweat the small stuff and just enjoy it. Enjoy the process of getting to where you’re at. One of the things I was forgetting was the things I accomplished. In a contest, there’s 200 guys and there’s 1 winner. So, majority of the time you’re losing, and you kinda get down on yourself, but if it’s something you really want to do… Hopefully you’re making some money and getting paid to travel the world. So that in itself is a rad experience. Work hard, keep at it, don’t sweat the small stuff.

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