“The Prodigal Son” – Nate Yeomans Interview with Ghetto Juice and Solspot
Ghetto Juice: Hey Nate, what, no sponsors? I thought you were full ride rusty and body glove and all that jazz?
Nate Yeomans: I still ride for Oakley, Body Glove and Cobian. Just no main sponsor. Hopefully something will brew up…..
Ghetto Juice: Who is shaping your boards?
Nate Yeomans: Mayhems, things are going mad!!!!!!!
Ghetto Juice: Well that’s because you’ve got mad skillz …so it’s a perfect fit!
Nate Yeomans: Thanks, hommie.
Ghetto Juice: Sure. So knowing what you know, what’s your take on the state of the surf industry in 2012, and how has it changed since you were a grommet shredding creek in the pre internet days….?
Nate Yeomans: On the Pro surfing front, its really turned into a professional sport. The top kids have coaches, trainers, agents, and huge endorsment deals. Which I think is really cool. Its insane to see. If your in that elite crop your killng it. If your not, things can be tough. A s far as the industry goes, there are a lot of gnarly things going down. Not like it was 5 or 6 years ago. People everywhere are struggling. there are a lot of people out there without jobs. SO be thankful for what you got
Ghetto Juice: True that! Do you think all the coaches, trainers, agents have really helped though? Is there enough money in the sport to support paying these other folks? Seems back in the day guys just going surfing was enough….?
Nate Yeomans: I think it really helps. Sure its tough and cost money but its an investment into your career. I know for myself I really benefited from having a coach. I started meeeting up with Ian Cairns and he really opened up the science/statagy of heat surfing. That was really the first year I was in the mix for qualifying onto the WCT. I remember when I first started surfing pro comps. I was pretty much stoned at all of the events, I would show up, grab my jersey, paddle out and just try a bunch of airs and hoped i landed a couple. When I was 18 I definetily wasnt showing up to those events to win. I competed in them cause thats what you had to do to be a “Pro Surfer”.. These kids are light years past were I was when I started. There so focused, and have a team of guys around them helping eliminate all the varilbles in surfing heats. I believe everything happens for a reason, and I’m not saying smoking weed is good, but Its something I went through and that made me the person I am today.
Ghetto Juice: You were smart and quit the dope early on…
Nate Yeomans: Yeah in my early 20′s.
Ghetto Juice: Do you see any younger pros today doing what you did as a younger competitor, like getting stoned before their heats, or just paddling out without any strategy and hoping to land a few big tricks?
Nate Yeomans: Sure its around but it seems like the best guys are over it. Sure you can tell people drugs are bad but it really comes down to them. I don’t support it, but you have to know for yourself and where you stand with all that stuff.
Ghetto Juice: What advice do you have for them?
Nate Yeomans: As far as advice. I would say surround yourself with positive, motivating people that are going to push you. Enjoy yourself and the experiences. Learn from the bad and stay focused on the good. I know for myself I’ve learned a lot more from my failures than my success. So take something away to improve on and put it behind you and move forward.
Ghetto Juice: Just like they say on TV!
Nate Yeomans: Yeah it kinda sounds hokey, but it’s what worked for me…. God has also really blessed me and I’m thankful for Him.
Ghetto Juice: Talk about 2012… seems like a pivotal time for you… yu killed it at Pipe… how did losing your main apparel sponsor Rusty go down? Did you see it coming or what? And how has that effected your head, if at all? You still have such solid support with wetties and sunnies and your new sticks with Mayhem… maybe it’s exciting time to be a free agent?
Nate Yeomans: It’s been a crazy start to the year for me… First off, I made the final at the Volcom Pipe pro, which was such an insane start to the year. Each heat was another 30 minutes out at pipe with only 3 other guys out. Was soooo sick. During that time I got the news that Rusty was letting me go. It was really tough news and unexpected. That side of surfing can be tough. At the end of the day its a business and its hard not to take things like that personal, because your personally connected with the guys at the company…. It sucks, but at the same time they supported me for 6 great years and I came along way since I started riding for them. I also got to work with Rusty Presindorfer who is one of the Legends/Iconic Shapers in our industry and is such a rad guy. Its kinda trippy when stuff like that happens. Its makes you relook things over. I dont want to sound like some bitter salty dog. I’ve been so blessed in so many ways. If it ended today I would be proud of what I’ve accomplished, I’ve been able to live out my dreams. I still have awesome sponsors and I’m still improving and have good things yet to come.
Ghetto Juice: Deep. Real deep…and good.
Nate Yeomans: Well I’m a quote guy … see here’s a cool one: “Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change.” –Jim Rohn.
Ghetto Juice: Jimmy Boy Rohn, there he is! Speaking of change, since you’re still somewhat on the young side of the pro spectrum, do the new changes to the ASP world tour feeding system excite you? Os it it too little too late or are you over it? What is it that you want out of competitive surfing now?
Nate Yeomans: It’s seems like they are moving into a better system, but still only time will tell. The problem I had was it was too elitist of a tour… is that even a word? There are so many good surfers out there that to only have 32 guys on there and more so Kolohe and Melling were the only guys to make it on the last cut. I think its good that your now guranteed a year on the WT. The 6 month thing didnt give you enough time to adjust to that level of surfing. We totally got screwed the year we qualified. It was an untested formula and basically they decided that it wasnt working while guys careers were on the line.
Ghetto Juice: Not the best timing for those who were surfing at the peak at that time….
Nate Yeomans: Yeah, it happened, and it is what it is. I’ve moved on and being on the tour for 6 month was insane. I really enjoyed competiting at that level and really believe i can compete with the worlds best and I’m going to go hard to get back on there. The events, the waves, and the surfers are all the best the sport has ever had and I want to be apart of that
Ghetto Juice: Given the talent currently out there, do you think we’ll see more or less Americans qualifying for the WCT in the coming years? Do you see anyone joining Brett, Kolohe and Gudauskas?
Nate Yeomans: There is definitely the talent here in the states, its just how bad these guys want it!!!!! Freak, I competed for 6 years on the WQS to finally make the WT. That’s a long time and a bunch of ups and downs. You really have to learn how to handle losing, which I sucked at when I first started. Let’s be realistic, there are around 150 guys competiting and there is 1 winner at the end of an event. Being on the road and struggling can beat you down and for myself, I was debating quiting. I went to Europe one year and lost first round in all four events over there. I was baffled!!!! But I decided to try and learn from it and move on, Which was tough. It also made the wins and victories that much better and you really really enjoy them. My dad told me a quote, yes I said I was a quote guy, that really spoke to me. How a person deals with adversity shapes his or her life and …. “In the fiery furnace of adversity are forged the greatest of men and women.” I told that to Pat Gudauskas back in ‘08 when he missed qualifying onto the WCT by one spot—you could tell he was crushed. When he lost his heat at sunset, had he made that one heat, he would of qualified. Spending a whole year (time and money) trying to qualify and missing it by one spot. Crazy. But look where he is at now.
Ghetto Juice: Good point. He never gave up or got bitter or whined about the system….
Nate Yeomans: Yeah and he is really inspiring to me along with the rest of the G-boys. I was blessed with such a great group of travel partners that really pushed me. Austin Ware, Pat, Dane and Tanner G, and Dylan Graves all really played a huge role for me. I say all this to inspire the groms that its possible. Sure there are going to be dissapointments but I’m proof that its possible to make it.
Ghetto Juice: Yeah, it’s not like you were a hyped up grom who had a closet full of NSSA Trophies…
Nate Yeomans: Right. I was just an above average grom that worked hard and made it. I never made the Hot 100 in Surfer mag, radar, I never won an NSSA comp and yet here I am. SO HOPEFULLY that inspires the groms to go for it!!!!!!!!
Ghetto Juice: I clearly remember when you were a kid your dad telling me how much you loved to surf but I also remember you had no NSSA results to speak of… So when did you actually win your first surf contest?
Nate Yeomans: My first victory was the Del Taco 1 star at Huntington Beach. Hahahaha. It was right after I beat Andy Irons at the WCT in Mundaka. Billabong gave me the wildcard into that event and I beat Andy in Round One and at that event there was no losers round so he was out. He won the Quicky pro in France the day before. I didn’t think I was going to be home in time for the Del Taco contest so I didn’t enter the event. I beach entered and had to wait for someon to not show up. I got into a heat with Cordell Miller, who shaped my boards as a grom. He actually gave me a wave at the very end of the heat that put me through, if he wouldn’t have I would of lost first heat. It was classic!!!!!!! So Cordell I still owe you some tacos.
Ghetto Juice: Cordell is rad like that…. We heard a story that he hooked up Donavon Frankenreiter with Billabong back in the day, and we all know how that worked out for Dono… So good on Cordy! So how was Lowers today? Who was out there? Is that your normal routine when you’re home!
Nate Yeomans: Summer time lowers is on. love that wave. Today the swell was more north than yesterday so it didnt look that good. We went down to Oside and it was really fun. I went with Tanner G and Jeff Lukasic. Goofy power crew, we were working on airvolving down there.
Ghetto Juice:Air whatting?
Nate Yeomans: Airvolving. Something the Gudaukas boys started. Its sick. We all got out surfing and try new airs, work on them, and give each other input on what looks good or things to change. Also breaking down how some of the other guys do them and trying to apply that to our game. You watch Slater and his surfing is always evolving. For example that alley oop he does. He has learned how to do those and now he is winning events with that move. Its also a fun challenge and trying new stuff to keep it interesting.
Ghetto Juice: Cool. So what’s next after the air reverse? Or do you think it just needs to be done on bigger waves now?
Nate Yeomans: Ya everyone seems to be able to do an air reverse, But for myself I’m trying to do them more inverted. Its does get old watching guys pump down the line and trying an air reverses at the end section, time and time again. But if you can do a big turn or something into an air reverse, than i think that is sick. If your not falling though, than your not push yourself and airvolving. Hahaha
Ghetto Juice: Do you think power surfing’s come back full circle? Jordy kinda wrote off air reverses in an interview, saying everyone’s doing them, do you’ve got to throw power turns in too…
Nate Yeomans: Ya power surfing will never go out of style. Look at Taylor Knox! He doesn’t do airs and is still killing it. The guy’s 40 and still on the WCT and just as relevant as ever— how sick is that!!!!!!!! Such a stud! I love Captain America!!