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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, January 20, 2006

David Hubbard wins drop-knee world title

 •  Club members thrive in healthy competition

By Dayton Morinaga
Advertiser Staff Writer

Kaua'i's David Hubbard got down on bended knee to win a bodyboarding world championship last week.

Hubbard won the drop-knee division of the Rockstar Games Pipeline Pro last Thursday to clinch the 2005 drop-knee division of the world tour. He won three of the four events on the tour.

"It's a goal I've had for a while," said Hubbard, 23. "For maybe the last five years, I've been focusing primarily on drop-knee."

In the drop-knee division of bodyboarding, competitors must ride waves while in a one-knee stance. In open bodyboarding events, most competitors ride lying down on the board in a prone position.

"It's widely accepted in the sport that drop-knee is more difficult than prone," Hubbard said. "Mainly because it's more difficult to balance and control the board when you're (riding) drop-knee."

Hubbard is showing that he can complete difficult maneuvers whether he's riding drop-knee or prone.

During a practice session this week at a spot called "Off the Wall" on O'ahu's North Shore, Hubbard completed a drop-knee el rollo move. In essence, he landed an aerial barrel roll while in his drop-knee stance.

"I was so happy I pulled it off," he said. "I don't know if anybody's done that before."

In addition to winning the drop-knee division, Hubbard finished 2005 ranked No. 12 in the open men's division. He was the highest-ranked Hawai'i competitor on the pro tour.

When he enters the open division, Hubbard is adept at riding both prone and drop-knee.

"It depends on the waves," he said. "Some waves are better for drop-knee and some are better for prone. It's to my advantage, I think, that I can go to either one when I need a score."

His older brother Jeff finished 2005 ranked No. 15. They were the top Hawai'i competitors on the bodyboarding world tour, and will travel together this year.

"It should be fun," David said. "We grew up bodyboarding on Kaua'i and now we're both in the top 16, so we're happy with it."

Reach Dayton Morinaga at dmorinaga@honoluluadvertiser.com.