Whoa: Kaua‘i Kneeboarder Earns 9th World Title
Nine is quite fine.
Kaua‘i kneeboarder Dave Hubbard made history when he become only the second bodyboarder to earn nine world titles, earning the prestigious designation Sept. 10 at the Sintra Portugal Pro competition.
Hubbard is now tied with legendary waterman Mike Stewart who also holds nine world titles. Hubbard holds each of his titles in the dropknee category, while Stewart holds his in the men’s category.
Many of Hubbard’s titles, like Stewart’s, were earned by winning a single championship event, but this year the International Bodyboarding Corporation, a non-profit organization that represents and promotes bodyboarding across the world at all levels, held a tour with four dropknee events in various locations to determine the world champion.
At the end of the worldwide tour – held taking in Maldives, Hawai‘i, Portugal and Chile, the born and raised Kaua‘i resident was crowned best of the class.
“This was the best tour we’ve ever had for the dropknee division,” said Hubbard, who has been competing on the World Tour since 2005.
Kicking off in Chile, the Antofagasta Bodyboard Festival hosted a tournament which spotlighted the dropknee category. Hubbard’s domination of the event produced two perfect 10’s on his way to victory, one of them being the very last wave of the final.
“It was really special,” Hubbard said of the experience. “I’ve never felt quite like that after a heat.”
The next event took place in Hawai`i, at the Garden Island Boogieboard Classic. Hubbard narrowly took the event win over Sammy Morretino, Kawika Kamai and Kaleo Huddy, which Hubbard called a special feeling.
“It was a big confidence boost for me to finally win here at home in the DK category.” he said.
The third event took place in the Maldives just days later, and the final event took place at the Sintra Portugal Pro, which has been the site of many DropKnee World Championship events. This year, the title was decided by counting the result from the Sintra event plus a rider’s best result in any of the other events. Because of Hubbard’s several wins in the other competitions, he was guaranteed to secure the title if a tie were to result, and he eventually took the crown.
Hubbard began surfing and bodyboarding at a young age. He became a state bodyboarding champion at age 12, a bodyboarding national champion at 16, Pipeline DK champion at 18, and DK World Champion at 23.
Hubbard still lives on Kaua`i and co-owns a bodyboard brand with his brother Jeff. He is also involved with several community initiatives focused on youth. He continues to hold the most world titles in the dropknee division. In Hubbard’s 16 years competing in the DK division of the World Tour he has never finished lower than third place overall. He turned 40 this year.
“I know some sports really treasure youth, but I feel great and bodyboarding is one of those sports that you can do well into those golden years.” Hubbard said.“I’m excited for what the future holds in competitive bodyboarding. God willing, I plan to show up and contend for future titles.”