Jeff Hubbard cemented himself as one of the bodyboarding's most influential and successful riders.
He is well known for his high-flying acrobatic moves and has been at the forefront of high-performance bodyboarding since the 1990s.
Jeffrey Dean Hubbard was born on October 21, 1975, in Kailua, Hawaii, to Mark and Barbara Hubbard.
He is the oldest of three brothers who grew up on the Lihue Plantation on the Island of Kauai.
"I grew up very close to the ocean," Jeff Hubbard once revealed.
"We were always in the water as a family, and eventually, I started trying to surf, and my other friends were bodyboarding."
"I tried that and had so much fun doing it that I grew to love it."
Jeff rode his first waves at Kalapaki Bay in Kauai aged 12 on a cat-scratched Morey Boogie 132.
"I remember getting insane stomach rash from it due to the claw scratches on the deck," Hubbard once recalled.
His father would take him, his brothers Mike and David, and friends down to surf around several waves available in the bay.
School, Waves, and Inspiration
Older wave riders like Kaipo Jaquias, Mike Stewart, Ross McBride, Spencer Skipper, Chris Burkhart, and Kyle Maligro inspired Jeff Hubbard to stick to bodyboarding and try and develop a sports career.
As a teenager, Hubbard quickly became a standout bodyboarder in Hawaii and developed a reputation for his incredible style and powerful aerial maneuvers.
Around 1989, Jeff went to Hawaii Preparatory Academy, the same boarding school his father had attended on the Island of Hawaii.
And so, for four years, he barely went bodyboarding. The exceptions were a few weekends here and there.
In the last school year, the young Hawaiian traveled to Tahiti and shared an overnight ferry ride with Mike Stewart and Michael "Eppo" Eppelstun.
"Eppo" had just been crowned world champion and featured on Chris Stroh's movie "Freakshow," where the Australian revealed his trademark air roll spins (ARS) and backflips.
"There were many things that 'Eppo' did that I really admired, and I tried to utilize them and get exposure for creating new maneuvers, just like him," recalled Jeff.
"I probably wouldn't have attempted new moves if it hadn't been for 'Eppo.'"
The chat both athletes had on that ride to Tahiti inspired Jeff to step up his game and revolutionize bodyboarding as an acrobatic water sport.
In the following decade, the talented Hawaiian would invent several aerial tricks, including the Hubb, invert to air reverse, air Hubb, rewind, and 720.
In his first year at the University of Hawaii, Jeff's career started taking shape. First, he signed a sponsorship deal with the iconic brand G & S.
Then, he also found a mentor who would help him meet many influential people - Chris Burkhart.
In the second year of college, Jeff started competing as an amateur and met Spencer Skipper, who would help him dedicate full-time to professional bodyboarding.
"I surfed Diamond Head with him one day, and he was just tearing up," Jeff said.
"I remember thinking, 'Wow! This guy is miles beyond my level - he's the real deal."
"No Friends" and Life as a Professional Bodyboarder
In 1995, Jeff Hubbard competed at an elite level for the first time in Japan and signed a contract with Toobs.
However, the more he surfed, the worse he performed at college. As a result, he was suspended and had to find ways to pay rent.
Eventually, the Hawaiian got some money from sponsors that helped him pay his rent and try to pursue a career as a professional bodyboarder.
Significant support was the $1,100-month deal with BZ.
In 1996, Jeff competed in a few GOB World Tour events, but the following year's lack of wave conditions made him quit the circuit.
And so in 1997, Jeff Hubbard, Ross McBride, Lanson Ronquilio, Paul Roach, and Spencer Skipper spent months surfing California, Hawaii, South Africa, Reunion Island, and Indonesia.
For the project, they hired Toob's videographer, Brian Stokes, to shoot their wave-riding adventure and release a VHS named "No Friends."
The movie was a global hit and changed the sport.
"Travel was my job, but one of the ways to stand out was to do something new and different," said Jeff.
"I realized that to be noticed, I had to focus on doing that to get exposure. So it was helpful to me."
"No Friends" was a laboratory of new tricks that would see the light of day after "No Friends II" in 1998.
Around late 2000, Jeff Hubbard wanted more, and the 720 looked like it could become bodyboarding's ultimate aerial trick.
"One sunny day in early 2001, he went for it in front of the snapping lenses of the world's waiting media," states Owen Pye in "Born to Boogie: Legends of Bodyboarding."
"Smacking a super think double-up section at Pipe, he boosted high and far, quickly winding off one air reverse and - much to the disbelief of everyone - attempting a second."
"He landed heavily just shy of the full second rotation and bounced off in the wash, but the bodyboard world went into meltdown."
"It was a ground-breaking move, resetting the benchmark of what was possible."
The first successful attempt recorded on video was released in "No Friends III."
Jeff Hubbard says that his parents' support throughout the process was critical.
"My parents have always been very supportive of my bodyboarding career," Hubbard once recalled.
"They would take us to national contests on the mainland, book my travels for me in my early years, and try and come and watch our contest whenever they could."
"You could always see one of them at the Pipe contest every year."
"They tried to help us kids as much as they could without getting in the way of our lives. I am really blessed to have such supportive parents."
Pipe and World Titles
His hard work and dedication to the sport paid off, and in 2006 he won his first professional event, the Pro Junior in Hawaii.
Since then, Hubbard has won numerous professional titles, including the prestigious Pipeline Pro and the IBA World Tour (2006, 2009, and 2012).
"Pipeline was the Mecca of bodyboarding for a long time. It never gets old," added the Hawaiian.
"I don't want to miss a session at Pipeline. I love going out there - there are rights and lefts, so it's really a good bodyboarding wave."
Hubbard's success has been helped by his dedication to the sport and his passion for pushing the boundaries.
His signature aerial maneuvers - including the 720 - have earned him the nicknames "Flying Squirrel" and "Human Missile."
"I think that being from Kauai, I was able to ride so many different types of waves - really shallow and hollow waves to soft, long waves - so I was able to learn how to surf in all types of conditions."
Jeff is widely regarded as one of the most innovative bodyboarders in the world, but he is also known for his smooth, stylish riding style and fearless approach to riding big waves.
"Flying up in the air and doing the biggest moves is more exciting than getting barreled."
"I love it. I search for waves that will launch me to the sky and do different things, and it's more technical."
But the price of getting airborne also comes with injuries.
"It's scary when you hit the reef and break a bone - that's not fun. I broke my foot in Australia, landing a big air on dry rock, broke my back, and I've broken some ribs."
"Bodyboarding is more prone to hitting yourself landing when you're doing those huge moves."
A Bodyboarding Ambassador
In addition to his success as a professional competitive bodyboarder, Hubbard has also inspired fans and aspiring riders through his work as an ambassador for the sport.
Jeff has worked with various organizations to promote bodyboarding, and his commitment to the sport has helped to raise awareness and inspire new generations of riders.
Away from the water, Hubbard regularly hosts and judges competitions and events.
Jeff organizes a contest for free at Keiki for disadvantaged youth on the east side of Oahu every summer called the Keiki Oceanfest.
In 2013, Jeff and Dave Hubbard founded their own business, Hubboards, which manufactures bodyboards and other bodyboarding-related gear and equipment.
Throughout his career, Hubbard has earned numerous accolades and awards, including five Pipeline Pro titles, multiple US bodyboarding titles, and over 40 event trophies.
"I think the first Pipeline contest I won was my most important."
"As soon as I did that, I realized I could achieve everything I aspired to. So, I thought I should try to be a world champ after this."
"After that, my goal switched to being a world champion. And then I won that, and I thought I was going to try it again."
"I am competitive, and I guess have always been."
"I think you must know how to use the competitive nature and when to turn it on so you can think clearly in the water without burning out."
"Just remembering what it felt like to win and visualizing the win really helps retain clarity when in the contest zone."
April 2, Jeff Hubbard Day
Jeff Hubbard is undoubtedly one of the most influential and successful bodyboarders in the world.
His passion for the sport and dedication to pushing the boundaries of what is possible are an inspiration to all.
"Jeff's vision of courage in hitting the heaviest of sections has clocked him more air time than any other rider and set the bar for what could be done off the lip," notes Owen Pye.
Jeff takes care of his body and mind. He is a fan of stretch and core routines in the morning and was once into yoga, Bikram yoga, and swimming.
The Hawaiian bodyboarding legend graduated from Hawaii Pacific University, where he obtained a Master of Business Administration in 2009.
His favorite bodyboarder is his brother, Dave Hubbard.
Jeff is married to Ingrid Cseh. The couple has a daughter called Jackie.
One of his favorite bodyboards of all time is the Hubboards Sci-Fi model.
In 2013, the Mayor of Kauai declared April 2 as Jeff Hubbard Day.