Church of the Open Sky by Nat Young

Church of the Open Sky by Nat Young

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252 pages.
Penguin Books Australia 2020. ISBN 978-0-14-379671-8

With a foreword by Pulitzer Prize winner William Finnegan.

Nat Young is legendary for his own achievements in the 60s and 70s; re-imagining what was possible on a surfboard, countless medals and star roles in many classic films. However his new book shifts focus away from his own journey and shares anecdotes on the many amazing characters, places and situations which have come in and out of his surf fuelled life.

Featuring tall stories and adventures with the likes of Miki Dora, Paul Witzig, Midget Farrely and Donald Takayama and written in Nat's charming easy style, Church of the Open Sky is a must for anyone with an interest in surf history and absolutely indispensable for those with a love for the early days of modern surfing.

In the progression of modern surfing Nat Young holds a crucial position. Surf history oracle Matt Warshaw (who's History of Surfing is available here) has even gone so far as to call Nat Young "the most influential surfer in the second half of the 20th century". Winning the World Surfing Championships in 1966, the then 19 year old Australian claimed his board "Magic Sam" as a secret weapon. Radically shorter and a darn sight more manoeuvrable than his competitor's boards, Sam allowed Nat to perform fast powerful slashs, the likes of which the San Diego crowd had never seen. Throughout the 60s and early 70s Nat's experiments with shaping his own boards kept him at the forefront as the focus shifted from long to short boards. As the free surfing and travel stoked 70s took hold, Nat was the star of many enduring films, most notably Crystal Voyager. Nat has mined his rich surfing life to write and collaborate on many books including his 1998 autobiography Nat's Nat, and That's That.

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