Youth – Nathan Spruce

Profiling the sport’s next gen – this week, the Spruce Moose!
All photos: Ben Bettridge.

Riptide aficionados will be familiar with the ‘Youth’ section in the mag. Basically it’s an opportunity for young bucks from Australia and abroad, aged under 21 (or 22, 23… depending on the issue) to get their first shots run in our pages. We figured it was about time to start getting to know these talented youngsters and rewarding them for their photogenic-ness and skills on the boog. We’ve ran the odd profile in recent times, but expect each Youth rider to get his or her 15 minutes on the site from now on. This week’s rider is Nathan “The Spruce Moose” Spruce (this nickname may or may not be real).

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RT: Basically – we’re hoping for the Youth section in the mag to become a bit more of a prestigious thing. It’s often in this section that young fellas nail their first shots in mags (e.g. Drew Innocend, Sebastian Perez, Charlie Holt, James Nymeyer, George Humphreys, Davis Blackwell, Jordan Putland and Tanner McDaniel etc. are all guys who have slotted in this section early in their careers). On that note, what’s it like to be in the company of some of those names?
NS: It’s a such a big privilege to be a part of the magazine and be alongside some big names. Growing up always reading the mag it was a dream to have a shot in its pages.

Is chasing the booging thing/following in these guys footsteps, even a goal of yours or are you just out there doing it for fun?
The fun factor of it is what has me hooked. A sponsorship or run in a mag is just a massive bonus alongside riding waves and having fun with your mates.

Where are you from and where will we find you surfing on any given day?
I’m from Batemans bay on the South Coast of NSW. I do most of my surfing in South Durras, which is a short drive from where i live, or if the waves are bad I’ll just head to a nearby beach which provides some quality slop to grovel in.

Have you ventured far from home at all?
I usually try to travel around as much as I can to experience new waves and new places. Whenever the winds are bad down here me and my mate will head either up or down the coast depending on how much money we have to fuel my little Mazda 121. The furthest we drive is three hours, but next year I’m hoping to go a lot further and explore plenty more of the Australian coastline.

How do you feel your surfing at the moment?
All my local waves are rights so lefts are a big weakness of mine. I try to get up the coast as much as I can to surf quality lefts but it’s always a struggle to have enough petrol to get up there. Pocket spins are my favorite thing to do on rights. Combining two of the funnest things, a barrel and a spin, is as good as it gets in my opinion.

Who are the guys you look up to, bodyboarding-wise?
Guys like Hardy, Kingy and of course Mike Stewart are guys I look up to the most. The way they ride waves is exactly how I want to surf and just watching clips of them gets me amped to go out and surf whatever.

What about locally? Who’s killing it the most and does it turn into a bit of a circus down there?
A local guy by the name of Sven who I always surf with is definitely someone I look up to. He’s probably the keenest bodyboarder I’ve met and you’re almost guaranteed to see him every morning, surfing in whatever he can and ripping on the knee. That’s exactly what I want to be doing when I’m his age, just grovelling in all conditions and still as keen on surfing as I was when I was a grom. Where I surf is pretty much right on the border of where the crowd stops. Head 15 minutes north and it starts becoming a bit too much.

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What are you doing for a crust at the moment? I notice your Facebook page says you work at Centrelink?
The Centrelink thing is all a myth. I work part time on the weekends at a restaurant just down the road. The money I get from that pretty much goes straight into petrol so U can keep chasing waves.

Finished school? What have you got planned next?
I ust finished my HSC exams a week ago and I went shockingly. Trying to study, knowing there’s waves around somewhere is impossible for me. Also skipping classes to go surfing didn’t help at all. I’ll probably regret it all later on, but at the moment the perfect barrel is all I think about. I have no idea what I want to do long-term yet, but in the meantime I just want to get a job that allows me to surf in the morning and also earn enough dough to travel and save up for a ski… getting a clip together too. I’d love to go to Ireland. There seems to be so many fun looking ledges and the scenery is crazy. The only thing that puts me off is the huge flight and the water temperature, but it definitely looks worth it. The bottom of Oz is definitely on the cards sooner or later.

Can we press you on anything controversial to spice this thing up? What’s grinding your gears at the moment?
The only thing that really annoys me is people turning up to surf spots with five-plus people. It just makes such a big difference to the crowd and makes getting waves a tad frustrating.

Chasing “it” – hypothetically, you get this clip together and a few more mag shots – are you keen to try see where you could take it?
Getting more coverage would definitely drive me to pursue it as a career a lot more. I think it’s the dream of every bodyboarder to be able to surf for a living and if that chance was there I’d chase it for sure. I want to start surfing bigger waves. In my opinion it’s a lot more entertaining watching people surf 10-foot plus waves then watching guys trying to get a perfect leg cross on one-foot waves. That being said, doing spins, rolls etc. is fun, but just watching it in a clip on small waves doesn’t really do it for me.

Lastly, how would you describe your hair colour?
[Laughs] I call it red, but most people correct me and say its “ranga” as if it’s some new colour. Having red hair and always being in the sun doesn’t help the sunburn factor at all. If i have no zinc pre-surf it’s almost not worth even going out.

Thanks, Spruce Moose.

See who else scored a Youth slot in Riptide #196, on sale now. Comes with a copy of Nomad Bodyboards’ brilliant 
ROAM Diaries. Get ’em while they’re hot.

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