Q: What about bodyboarding as a sport itself? As a non-professional boarder all the videos, photos and that stuff suggest that it is pure fun. Travelling around the world, hanging' out with some friends, experiencing different cultures, people and so on. But, you know, when I first read your article or diary in Riptide where you described your way to the 2006 world title I realized that this is really hard work and more like a professional sportsman in general. You gotta train hard, because it's your job and of course you have to sacrifice yourself in a few things, like you wrote, alcohol, nutrition and so on! How do you experience all that?
Jeff: Yeah, it is so much fun and the best job on earth to be a professional bodyboarder. But if you want to be the best you have to take it serious. I don't get to do as many fun photo or video trips, mainly contest since I only have so much money to spend on travel. Also you have to train a lot in all conditions and give up certain things in order to be the best. This is a job and how I earn my living I want to be successful at that and make sure I can have this job for a long time to come.
Q: So, for how long do you want to compete on the tour? Is there kind of a plan or just as long as you can? How do other boarders get the money to do all the trips videos and photo-shoots!? It's not just sponsoring isn't it? What about the life after being a pro? Any plans?
Jeff: I want to compete on tour as long as possible. It is a great life. Other boarders mainly work and then go on trips or the best ones get money from sponsors to go on trips. Life after a pro for me would be like working in the industry in some capacity consulting for companies.
Q: Are you still going the way you have chosen in 2006 and train that hard? I mean, you have got a family as well (or at least a wife, don't know if you already a farther) and that doesn't cope with training 24/7? How do you get along with al these things? You also made a college degree while training and competing on the tour. Allover, that must have been really exhausting, wasn't it?
Jeff: Yes, in both 2006 and 2009 it was exhausting by the end of it. I was mentally exhausted in 2009 while in 2006 more so physically and emotionally exhausted. I had more fun on tour in 2009, it only really started being stressful towards the end. I am very lucky my wife is so supportive. Many people don't have that level of support so they can't do these amazing things I can. My wife and family are so awesome and loving and would definitely not have had two world titles without them.
Q: You mentioned your family! How does it feel to hold two world titles in the Hubbard family? Your brother is DK-champ for the forth time now, is there kind of a competition between you and him who collects the most titles?!?! By the way, ever tried a DK-rollo;-)?
Jeff: Yes, I have tried a DK rollo, did not make it :0. My brother is my biggest competition I would say, because he is so talented, unpredictable and so competitive. So, we are competitive, but it is very positive for both of us.
Q: Additionally, you put yourself in life threatening situations again and again and to be honest, injuries are a common thing in every sport. What does your family and your friends think about it and what role does fear play in those situations? Or if it's not fear anymore, at least respect?!
Jeff: Yes, it is my job to be out here in these life threatening situations, but I am happy to do it since I love my job. I believe in god and know he has an agenda so to speak for me so I train hard and keep my body in the best shape and take calculated risks but at the end of the day living and dying is out of my hands. I think some people appreciate what I go through and some people have an idea. I am In the water all day with sharks, I am driving and flying all over the world in remote places to find and surf crazy waves. I'm in the sun all day so skin cancer and premature ageing become an issue and of course then you have the waves and reefs and people to deal with in the water on a daily basis. As well as the idea that you are going out there and doing some crazy stuff like flying upside down 10-15 feet in the air and landing on nothing but a hard piece of foam.
Q: How important are near-death experiences?! Do you then need a couple of days surfing to forget or how is it?!
Jeff: They are very humbling and important to have to realize how great life is. You need to get back out there soon so it does not effect you long term.
Q: Of course as a German Bodyboarder you have to travel a lot to get some "really" good waves, since that doesn't happen too often at the German shores. At the most shores there are no problems if you respect the people and follow some basic rules, but at some it doesn't work out. As Pipe is some of the most frequented spots of the world, localism is for sure an every day experience for you I could imagine. Not that you're involved but probably see it everyday? How is that and what do you think about all these stand-up vs. bodyboard-stuff?!
Jeff: It is not stand-up vs. bodyboarder, it is just man vs. man, local versus non local, pro vs. kook I think.
Q: What do you think about the whole bodyboard-scene? It is really small compared to the stand-up-surfing scene and people seem to be more down-to-earth, at least in average. It lost some strength compared to the 90's, though!
Jeff: The sport is an underground sport nowadays with little recognition. But it is hardcore this way and it stays true to its roots of helping people and have fun riding waves, while surfing seems to be more image based these days. I think for it to regain its strength it just needs to find its niches and strengths and really focus on those aspects. I feel I can help bring some recognition to the sport and help people take notice of how exciting it is to watch and fun it is to be a part of this tight community.
Thank you very much for your time and good luck on the 2010 IBA tour!
Interview durchgeführt von Lars Paeger, Köllefornia.
Bilder sind freundliche Leihgabe von Jeff Hubbard.