Monday, September 28, 2020
Nat Young to Discuss ‘Church of the Open Sky’
Nat Young rides the surf break of Angourie near his home in Australia in July 2019.
Thursday, December 5, 2019


Surfing for Sun Valley part-timer Nat Young has never been about winning, even though he has a swag bag full of titles. Instead, it’s a calling, a philosophy, even a religion.

Hence, the title of his new book, “Church of the Open Sky,” which explores what it means to be a surfer.

“ ‘ Church of the Open Sky’ is what surfers refer to as the ocean. They liken surfing to religion: It requires daily practice, discipline and, in turn, your soul is salvaged through the water and the ability to ride the waves,” he said.

Young, a world champion surfer who was formerly known as “the Animal,” will discuss his book, which was published by Random House, during a free presentation at 6 p.m. tonight—Thursday, Dec. 5—at Ketchum’s Community Library.

There is an entire chapter devoted to Sun Valley, Michael Brunetto’s invention of the single ski, Scott’s former head designer Charley French and lots of other color from his 37 years of winters in Sun Valley.

Young, who grew up in the small coastal surburb of Collaroy, won three Australian surfing championships in 1966, 1967 and 1969. He was crowned world champion in 1966 and 1970. He also pioneered the shortboard revolution in surfing and has appeared in 75 surf movies, including the iconic “Endless Summer.”

He starred in one with the real Gidget. He also produced two documentaries of his own: “Fall Line” and “The History of Australian Surfing.”

His books include “Nat’s Nat and That’s That,” “The Complete History of Surfing,” “Surfing Fundamentals” and “Surf Rage.”

Young moved to Sun Valley in 1982.

“We made a movie in 1979 that left me with quite a bit of money so my wife and I set out to find the best ski resort there was,” he said. “Last year I skied 117 days.”

That movie was “Fall Line.”

“In a word, everything’s about the fall line—the similarity between skiing and surfing and even skateboarding is the fall line.”

Young, who spends time between the north coast of New South Wales and Sun Valley, seized the opportunity to write his latest book while lying in bed for eight weeks recuperating from a knee replacement.

“I just turned 70 and that got me to thinking about all the things I’ve done in my life, from being a board shaper to a producer, writer, conservationist.”

Books will be available for sale and signing, courtesy of Chapter One Bookstore.




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