Hubbard won The Foam Company Drop Knee Pipeline Pro contest yesterday at the Banzai Pipeline.
The one-day event was run in clean wave-face heights that ranged from 6 to 12 feet.
“Today was perfect conditions for drop knee,” said Hubbard, 27. “And the level of competition is really high, so you had to be at your best in every heat.”
When it comes to drop-knee bodyboarding — which requires the competitors to ride bodyboards with a one-knee stance —Hubbard showed why he is regarded as the best in the world.
He is the three-time defending world champion of the drop knee world tour. Last year, he won all three contests on the tour.
Yesterday’s contest was the first stop on the 2010 world tour.
“I definitely feel like I have pressure on me,” Hubbard said. “I always feel like I have to make the finals at every contest.”
His abilities were pushed to the limit yesterday.
He trailed for most of the 25-minute heat, then took the lead with around five minutes remaining with a score of 8.1 (out of 10) for a nice barrel ride. Hubbard finished with a two-wave score of 15.2, which was enough to edge Australia’s Kim Feast.
“He’s such a good contest rider,” Feast said of Hubbard. “Maybe it’s the Hawaiian genetics. He’s got these waves to hone his skills on and today it was perfect.”
Ricky Alvarez of the Big Island held the lead early in the heat, and ultimately finished in third place.
Bud Miyamoto of Kaua’i was fourth, Sacha Specker of South Africa was fifth, and Jacob Pembrook of Kaua’i was sixth.
Hubbard received $1,500, which was fitting since he paid the $5,000 deposit fee out of his own account to secure the contest. Last year, there was no drop knee contest at Pipeline due to a lack of sponsorship money.
“I just wanted to make sure we got a chance to surf Pipe,” Hubbard said.
Hubbard and his older brother, Jeff, are still in contention in the Turbo Bodyboards Pipeline Pro, which needs one more day of competition.
Stewart captures bodysurfing again
Mike Stewart of the Big Island won the Pipeline Bodysurfing Classic for a record 12th time yesterday.
The final was also staged at the Banzai Pipeline.
Stewart last won the event in 2008. It was not held last year due to a permit issue.
Chris Kalima was second, Mark Cunningham third, Frederic David fourth, Craig Watson fifth and Steve Kapela sixth.