Bodyboarding world tour starts at Pipeline Heaven can wait
Kaua'i's Jeff Hubbard will begin defense of his bodyboarding world championship at the Turbo Bodyboards Pipeline Pro this weekend.
The Pipeline Pro is the opening event of the International Bodyboarding Association's 2010 world tour. It will run on the three days when conditions are best between today and Feb. 26.
More than 130 of the top-ranked men's bodyboarders from around the world are scheduled to compete in the three-day contest.
Hubbard won the 2009 world championship, and is the top seed for the Pipeline Pro.
As one of the top 16 seeds, Hubbard will receive a bye until the final day of competition. Two other Hawai'i surfers are ranked in the top 16 — Mike Stewart of the Big Island is No. 5, and David Hubbard (Jeff's younger brother) is No. 14.
The Pipeline Pro is the only Hawai'i contest on the 2010 world tour. Other stops include Brazil, Chile, Peru, Portugal and the Canary Islands.
The event will also feature a dropknee division (in which the bodyboarders must ride waves with a one-knee stance).
David Hubbard is the three-time defending world champion of dropknee bodyboarding.
He wanted so much to have a dropknee division at Pipeline that he contributed prize money out of his own pocket. Hubbard said he paid the $5,000 deposit for the prize money, but is hoping that sponsors step in to pay him back.
"There's some sponsors that already came in, like The Foam Company on Maui," he said. "I'm just happy we get a chance to surf at Pipe, but we would appreciate any support we can get."
The Pipeline Bodysurfing Classic will also be staged at the Banzai Pipeline sometime between today and Feb. 26.
Most of the state's top bodysurfers are expected to compete in the one-day event.
Mike Stewart is expected to compete in both the bodysurfing and bodyboarding contests. He won the Pipeline Bodysurfing Classic in 2008. It was not held last year due to a permitting issue.
BUFFALO'S FINAL HEATS
The 34th annual Buffalo's Big Board Surfing Classic is scheduled to run final heats in various divisions tomorrow at Mākaha Beach.
Opening rounds of the event started last weekend with more than 200 competitors from around the world.
The contest is renowned for its unique forms of wave-riding, including canoe-surfing, tandem surfing, traditional alaia boarding, bully boarding, paipo boarding, stand-up paddle surfing and team bodyboarding.