21 Apr 19
Santa Cruz Sentinel
The Golden Boy is back to his old ways. Santa Cruz’s Nat Young won the World Surf League’s Caparica Surf Fest Pro, Men’s QS 3,000 event in Praia de Caparica, Lisbon, Portugal, on Saturday.
Young, who turns 28 on June 17, beat France’s Jorgann Couzinet 16.13 to 13.33 in the final.
It was Young’s first QS win since taking the Vans Pier Classic in 2012. A year later, Young competed on the Championship Tour and was named the ASP Rookie Of The Year.
“It feels amazing for sure, it’s been a long road to get back here,” Young told.wsl.com. “It just felt great to put a heat together and then a few in a row, make the final day and then fight back when Jorgann got that really good start.”
Young won heats in Rounds 4 and 5 before finishing second in Round 6. From the quarterfinals on, he was unmatched.
In the final, Couzinet started early on a left and strung together beautiful turns to post the first excellent score, an 8.50, to kick things off. Young answered with a slightly softer approach for a 6.33 to stay in fighting distance. Both surfers defended their main score quickly and the battle was on.
Around the 10-minute mark and as the ocean seemed quiet, arguably the best set of the day rolled through. Young was sitting without priority but Couzinet was nowhere in position for it and the goofy-foot proceeded to destroy the lengthy right. The Santa Cruzan went vertical a number of times and posted a near-perfect 9.80 to turn the situation and push Couzinet against the ropes.
With only minutes on the clock, and no more waves on tap, Young walked away with the win, his first event victory in seven years.
“To be able to come back was great,” Young said. “I was so lucky to get that perfect wave, it just stood up perfectly and I had a good rhythm on it so I knew it was a good score. Portugal has always been a place I love to come to, waves are awesome and I love the people so it’s been a great week.”
Young surfed five straight seasons on the Championship Tour between 2013 and 2017. Dropping off at the end of 2017, Young will now take 3,000 ranking points home and take a boost up the qualifying series rankings in his effort to get back with the world’s Top 34.
Couzinet on the other hand is still chasing his first Top 10 finish on the QS, synonym of accession to the CT. The French power surfer from Reunion Island finished in the Top 20 the past two seasons and is due a big break on the international scene. His performances in Caparica and Santa Cruz last week mean 2019 could be the year.
“You can’t give guys like Nat any sort of shot or they’ll take it,” Couzinet said. “I had the priority and I should have been near him at all times, if he didn’t surf this one wave that trophy would be mine so I’m disappointed of course but I’ll learn from that for sure. Hats off to Nat, he’s an incredible surfer and he seized that opportunity and killed it on that wave. I’m patient, I haven’t won this one but it’ll come my way at some point, and I’ll be ready for it.”
Couzinet had previously eliminated Krystian Kymerson in the opening Semifinal and Young came back from behind in the last five minutes of the second to defeat Charly Martin.
The Young File
WSL Qualifying Series, 2019
Event, Place, Points
Oi Hang Loose Pro Contest, 25th, 700
Burton Automotive Pro, 37th, 650
Vissla Sydney Surf Pro, 25th, 700
Pro Santa Cruz, 17th, 600
Caparica Surf Fest Pro, 1st, 3,000