Things you didn't know about Mike Stewart
He is the greatest bodyboarder of all time. Here's everything you need to know about the legendary Mike Stewart.
Michael Alexander Stewart was born on May 17, 1963, in Hawaii. Mister Pipeline won nine world bodyboarding titles and countless bodysurfing events.
Ben Severson, Guilherme Tamega, JP Patterson and Pat Caldwell were some of his most famous nemesis in the 1980s and 1990s.
The tube riding expert invented new maneuvers and inspired surfers to push the limits beyond their age. Today, Stewart is widely recognized as the father and godfather of modern competitive bodyboarding.
Interestingly, the Hawaiian entered a bodysurfing competition before becoming a competitive bodyboarder. And he rarely stays out of the water for a long time.
So, is it fair to say that you start feeling uncomfortable when you don't surf for a few days, Mike? "Absolutely."
And does the nine-time world bodyboarding champion follow a rigorous health diet? "While I have any control over it, yes; when traveling, it can be challenging, but I still do my best."
Mike Stewart likes watching many sports. He's even an accomplished table tennis player. But, is the Hawaiian a fan and avid supporter of football, soccer, basketball or other mainstream sports?
"I met a Brazilian who has a large tattoo in the middle of his back with the logo of his soccer team. While I admire the passion, I would be on the opposite side of the spectrum from this," Stewart tells SurferToday.
"I like to watch all sports when given the opportunity, especially high-level games, but I am impartial for the most part to teams or individuals playing."
Interesting, but now we want more. Let's duck dive into the blue water world of Mike Stewart:
1. Mike Stewart started riding waves in Diamond Head, Oahu, using chunks of styrofoam when he was only five years old;
2. He got his first Morey Boogie bodyboard at 10 - it lasted three years until it was completely waterlogged;
3. Stewart didn't like surfboards because he was surfing shallow, hollow waves;
4. He met Tom Morey when his family moved to the Big Island - he started working for the inventor of the bodyboard before becoming a sponsored athlete;
5. Mike Stewart started practicing new maneuvers in Kailua-Kona;
6. His first ever wave riding session at Pipeline took place when he was 16 - the waves were breaking in the 8-to-10-foot range, Hawaiian scale;
7. Stewart missed the first professional bodyboarding contest at Pipeline - the Coca-Cola Sure Craft Bodyboarding Championships - because he was never told the event was taking place.
8. In 1982, Mike missed his high school graduation to enter the first bodyboarding contest at Sandy Beach - he finished third;
9. In the early 1980s, Mike Stewart didn't like 360-degree spins - he thought they looked "weak and lame";
10. In the inaugural 1982 International Morey Boogie Bodyboard Pro Championships, Stewart finished third behind Jack Lindholm and Daniel Kaimi;
11. Mike was the first bodyboarder to ever land an air forward at Sunset Beach;
12. Mike Stewart met Lisa Miller, his future wife, during the 1983 Bodyboard Pro Championships - she was the only female competitor in the event;
13. Mike Stewart, Ben Severson, and Chris Tennberg were the first to explore, ride and unveil the potential of Tahiti's Teahupoo in 1986;
14. He was one of the first bodyboarders to get into the big wave surfing scene - he surfed Jaws, the outer reefs of the North Shore, and even Nazaré's Praia do Norte when the spot was still a bodyboarders-only break;
15. Mike Stewart designed the Gyroll leash in 1992 - it was made of 14 different components;
16. In July 1996, Mike Stewart followed and surfed a giant 8,000-mile swell from Tahiti (Teahupoo) to Hawaii (Maalaea), and then California (Newport Beach) and Alaska (Yakutat);
17. Mike Stewart founded Science Bodyboards in 1998;
18. In 1999, the first-ever bodyboarding game Mike Stewart's Pro Bodyboarding was released for Windows;
19. Mike Stewart has two children - Kaimana and Anela;
20. Throughout his pro bodyboarding career, Mike Stewart was sponsored by dozens of brands, including Morey Boogie, Scott Hawaii, Pacific Vibrations Surf Shop, Town & Country, O'Neill, Gotcha, Turbo, and many others;
21. Mike Stewart says his favorite wave is Pipeline, "just because of its diversity";
22. The Hawaiian bodyboarder believes he has already visited 20 countries;
23. Stewart enjoys going to bed early at 10:30 pm;
24. Mister Pipeline says his favorite world bodyboarding title is "the next one! Actually, they were all amazing for different reasons; I can't pick one";
25. Mike's favorite color is cobalt blue;
26. Stewart's favorite book is Herman Hesse's "Siddhartha";
27. Mike Stewart says he is "not a religious person, but certainly a spiritual one";
28. Mike Stewart is not superstitious, but he believes in miracles;
29. Mike Stewart drives "a lot";
30. What does bodysurfing have that bodyboarding doesn't? "A closer connection with the wave," Mike Stewart says;
31. At Stewart's wedding, when the priest asked the people involved in his upbringing to get up. Two people got up - Tom's father... and Tom Morey;
Read more about Mike Stewart in "Born To Boogie: Legends of Bodyboarding."