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Country Soul

Nat Young, Byron Bay. Photo: Alby Falzon
Nat Young, Byron Bay. Photo: Rusty Miller
Lennox, early '70s. Photo: Rusty Miller
Robert Connelleey, Angourie. Photo: John Witzig

Australia suffered from none of the angst and stagnation that marked the California surf scene during the first half of the 1970s. Just the opposite, in fact. Aussie surfers had already left the rest of the world behind in the small- and medium-sized waves that were the focus of the shortboard revolution. Now the nation was looking to put an even broader imprimatur on the sport. “Soul surfing” was the sport’s hip new wave-riding ideal, and for awhile the Australians—some of them, anyway—out-s...

Energized by his rebirth as a bare-handed agrarian surfer, Nat Young chopped wood for the stove, cleared brush, built a solar-heated shower, grew a magnificent beard, and decorated the inside of his minibus with a poster of Meher Baba, his favorite Indian mystic.