Lambert Photography by ISLANDEYE Photography After months of surfing in Indonesia, South Florida’s pro Nathan Behl is finally home.
He brought back with him a barrage of publicity in the surf media, an inspiring perspective on the surf industry, and an ingrained work ethic that will pay for his next surf trip The wave was empty. Not even Nathan Behl, it seemed, who was sitting in a perfect take-off spot.
As the blue wave flawlessly peeled towards him, he didn’t move. Moments before the clean section clamped shut with whitewash though, Nathan swung around and gator crawled his way into the wave, standing up and free falling, but remaining centered on the board, like a crashing elevator somehow under control.
For a split second, his entire 5’10” figure stood below sea level. We’re standing in the Behl family garage in Tequesta, surrounded by a beautiful neighborhood.
Less than a second later, he pumped and pulled back into a blue Indonesian barrel that looked so big that you could drive a truck through it. But if you were thinking of literally attempting to fit a truck through an Indonesian barrel just to see if it would work – which it would, in terms of size – I wouldn’t recommend using Nathan’s truck. An hour and half past the time when we planned to meet at his family’s house, his white 2003 Toyota Tundra finally and surprisingly roars back from the dead. The air is damp from the night rain, and Nathan’s wearing black boardshorts and a gray and black long sleeve shirt.
His light hair is messy, and you can see in his eyes that he’s tired – a combination of work and car trouble, perhaps.
He looks up, and I do the same: there sits his quiver, lying in wood holsters, hanging from the ceiling.
He pulls out a 5’9” Webster shape, and the first thing I notice is the Billabong sponsor sticker on the board’s nose.
“This is one I rode in Indonesia,” he says, while examining it for any wear or tear. I snapped so many boards there.” This isn’t surprising, I think to myself, considering his elevator drop wave, seen on a released video entitled 2 Hours, which features his exploits.
The wave stacked well overhead, and broke over a reef of knives.
The drop, the stance, everything was second nature to Nathan.
The 20-year-old Floridian first surfed on the nose of his father’s surfboard as a child, and it’s been muscle memory ever since.