When Nathan Hedge burst onto the pro surfing scene over a decade ago he was considered the latest in a long line of talented Aussie threats. “Hedgy” was instantly identified as one of the last of a dying breed. His preference for using the full length of his rail ran counter to his generation, which was disengaging the rail in favor of wafting the tail. Hedgy was a throwback of sorts: a young Tom Carroll, with some Occy and Egan thrown in for good measure. Back then that was considered a massive compliment.
But it was Hedgy’s home-spun Australian pride and patriotism that really resonated with his mates on tour. His fierce favoring of Aussie accomplishment harkened back to the height of the cold war between them and those “American wankers.” Whenever an Aussie won an event, the first man to greet him at the water’s edge was Hedgy, who reveled in draping the Aussie flag around his mate before chairing him up the beach.
Of course, in true Aussie fashion, he was also the first to buy that guy a beer. First to fund another round. And the first to lose his voice as the evening’s festivities progressed. For all these reasons, and others, he was considered a treasure on tour. And for all those same reasons Hedgy ended up with some residual issues when his competitive results started to fade.
After some soul cleansing years, Hedgy is finally revealing just how dark things got for the man who loved nothing more than to shine a light on others. In part of Surfer magazine’s series on comeback stories, Hedge talks about how his journey led to a self-imposed exile on the Sunshine Coast, where he completed a rehab program. You can watch the Surfer magazine video by clicking here, or on his mug shot above.