Santa Cruz's surfing sensation, Nat Young, faces a disheartening outcome in Portugal.

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Santa Cruz’s surfing sensation, Nat Young, faces a disheartening outcome in Portugal.

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Santa Cruz’s Nat Young showcased his talent by delivering the second-highest scoring wave during his Round of 64 heat at the EDP Vissla Ericeira Pro, an event on the Challenger Series, hosted in Portugal this past Wednesday.

However, Young faced a significant challenge—he failed to secure a backup score. His impressive score of 6.77 was achieved on a single wave in the 30-minute heat, which featured waves ranging from 4 to 6 feet in height.

Young seized his opportunity midway through the heat, briefly elevating him to second place. In a last-ditch effort within the final 30 seconds of the heat, Young attempted to secure another ride, but Jabe Swierkocki, the heat winner with a score of 13.50 from Ventura, utilized his priority to take precedence over Young.

Unfortunately, Swierkocki’s final wave contribution, which scored a mere 1.93, did not significantly impact the outcome. Reflecting on the conditions, Swierkocki shared his insights during a post-heat interview with the WSL, stating, “Watching all the heats this morning, it has been pretty slow. Whoever has kinda had a quick start but made sure they got a good wave seemed to be making the heat, so that was the plan. I got a quick start and kinda waited and made sure if another good wave came, I was on it.”

Both Young and McGillivray were subsequently eliminated from the competition. Young finished tied for 33rd place, accumulating 700 points, while McGillivray tied for 49th place, earning 600 points.

This season has proven to be a disappointment for Young, who commenced the year on the Championship Tour but could not maintain his position past the midseason cut. He entered the Portugal event ranked at No. 31 on the Challenger Series with 6,200 points.

The top 10 surfers in the Challenger Series at the conclusion of the six-event season will secure advancement to the Championship Tour. Notably, American Cole Houshmand, with 24,020 points, and Australian Jacob Willcox, with 20,610 points, have already secured their spots on the Championship Tour for the upcoming 2024 season.

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