Comeback 'kid' Nathan Hedge makes plan for return to tour
FORMER world No.7 Nathan Hedge is "super excited" about his 2012 comeback season and remains intent on returning to the world tour.
After a two-year break, the man affectionately known as The Hog resumed his career this year and finished it with a world ranking of 78.
That means he has qualified for every Prime event for at least the first six months of 2013.
Armed with that advantage, Hedge is confident he can force his way back on to the elite tour for the 2014 season.
He turns 35 in May of that year, but it appears his time away from the sport has revitalised him, and the power surfing goofy-footer believes his vast experience will give him an advantage over most of his rivals.
"The fact that I've been there and done it before is encouraging for me," he said.
"I know what it takes. I'm not wondering.
"What I've been through in and out of the water puts me in the best position of my whole career … I'd rather do my talking in the water, but I'm pretty confident of making an impact."
Hedge finished seventh on the world tour in 2004 and eighth the following year during a six-season stint in the elite series.
A form slump in 2006 led to him losing his world tour spot and he would later admit to being burnt out.
After winning his first event since 2007 - Coolum's Chiko Sunshine Coast Pro in April, the second event of his comeback - he confessed that he had lost his way the year before and felt a huge amount of pressure to keep producing.
He said he needed "a bit more Nathan time" so he could rediscover what was important to him.
As a result, he learned he was more than just a surfer.
"I had some time off competing … so it's really refreshing to be back on my board," he said at the time.
"I've taken some time off for myself. I've sort of rejuvenated to the point where me, myself, I'm much more comfortable.
"It (the Chiko result) is a reflection of how things are going for me. I'm feeling much more comfortable on my board."
Hedge, who used to surf with newly crowned world champion Joel Parkinson on the Sunshine Coast as a boy, relocated from North Narrabeen, Sydney, to Buderim last year.
He said it was part of his attempt to rediscover himself.
He now divides his time between the Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast as he prepares for one of the most important seasons of his career.
"I'm super excited. I've got myself into a good position for next year with my seeding," he said.
"So, you know, time goes pretty quick and the new year starts.
"There's a few events pretty early in the calendar. There's not really much downtime for the surfing tour."
Nickname: The Hog
Lives: Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast
Stance: Goofy foot
Best season on ASP World Tour: Seventh (2004)