Kauai News

Bodyboarders Aarya Tabalno, Dave Hubbard make history with World Title wins in Kaua‘i

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Aarya Tabalno and Dave Hubbard. Photo Courtesy: Aaron Mizushima

Bodyboarders Aarya Tabalno and Dave Hubbard were surrounded by family and friends to celebrate their historical World Titles at Po’ipū Beach Park on Sept. 17.

Tabalno has been crowned as the 2023 International Bodyboarding Corporation Pro Junior Women’s World Champion. She is the first female from Hawai’i to claim this title. Hubbard brought home his tenth world title, specifically in the Drop Knee Division. He now holds the most World Titles in bodyboarding.

The accomplishments of these athletes brought Jeff Hubbard – owner of Hubboards, sponsor of Tabalno and Dave’s brother – to tears. Jeff Hubbard commended Tabalno for her competitive journey that first began at the annual Garden Island Boogie Board Classic in 2019, a competition that brings together competitors from around the State of Hawai’i, U.S. Mainland, Japan and South America.

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Tabalno’s road to the title began in Espirit de Santo, Brazil at the Wahine Pro. She shocked the
world as she was unknown outside of Hawai’i and steamrolled her way to the final and won
over the reigning champion in the division, Luna Hardman. The momentum didn’t let up in
Antofagasta, Chile where Tabalno again displayed several powerful performances en route to another victory.

But even with the points earned from these wins, the title would be decided in La Salie, France. Tabalno had become the odds-on favorite and had won hearts the world over. With Hawai’i behind her and her family by her side, Tabalno battled through the pressure, conditions, and opponents to win her third straight event of the year and was crowned the World Champion for 2023.

Hubbard had a few similarities in his journey, as he also won three events on his way to this year’s world title. The main difference, Hubbard is a seasoned pro with nine previous titles and a couple decades of international competitive experience.

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The paths of Hubbard and Tabalno were intertwined as Hubbard was coaching Tabalno throughout the year. The two both competed in the Drop Knee division in Antofagasta, Chile, where Tabalno again astounded onlookers who had not seen a female compete in the division in over a decade.

Tabalno also competed in the Drop Knee division in the Garden Island Boogie Board Classic in July and these points helped her to finish the year in 11th place overall in Drop Knee. Hubbard’s three wins came in Chile, the Maldives and Portugal. Upon coronation as the 2023 Drop Knee World Champion, he broke the standing record for the most world titles originally held by MIke Stewart.

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