Professional Surfer CJ Hobgood Interview
CJ Hobgood World Surf League professional surfer for 17 amazing years on tour, retired in 2015 to concentrate more on his family life. CJ is a twin brother to Damien Hobgood, who always do,Peter at the highest levels in surfing and now is on the big wave tour.
We had the privilege to talk to the 2001 world champion at the Florida Pro In Sebastian Florida. CJ Hobgood is a very humble person and seems like he is still a grom when surfing with his friends. He sat down with him and asked him a couple of questions to let you guys know what CJ thinks of the tour and life after the tour.
Lucas: What’s up guys, Lucas Morley here with Surf Training Factory and today we are at the Florida Pro with the WSL and today we have CJ Hobgood taking some time away before he paddles out to rip some waves. Thank you for being here.
First question; what was it like being in the championship tour?
CJ Hobgood: Thank you for having me, yeah we’re here at Sebastian inlet for the Florida Pro watching all the groms get after it so yeah there’s a certain point where you have to paddle out cause these groms keep inspiring us.
I was on the CT tour for 17 years and there is a lot that happens in any sort of relationship in what relates with the sport and things like that. So I sort of went through everything, you’re the kid, you’re the grom. Then there’s the romance stage where everything great, everything is fun. For me it was coming at me pretty fast where I was achieving things that maybe were outside of my goals.
I qualified for the tour my first year, I thought I was going to take me two years. Then I got rookie of the year, most improved, then a world title in 2001. It was like a world win you know. Then the momentum starts coming out of it a couple times, and then you have to reinvent yourself and find new ways. Because you are changing as a person so you sort of have to find different ways to fall in love with what you continue to do.
For me towards the end it was just I wanted to be with my kids. I have 3 girls and yeah my heart was kind of broken. On of the best days was retiring and getting off tour. For me at that point I felt like the expiration date had expired for me and what I was supposed to be doing and using my gifts still on the championship tour was expired.
Lucas: Got it. Where you traveling with your kids at all at some point or no you were mainly on your own?
CJ: No, I traveled with them a lot, there was that stage where you would travel with them while you could. And then when they start school then you sort of had to let go and go on your own. As school was a priority for them.
Lucas: So it took you a little bit of time away from them from being that they were in school and you had to travel for the events.
CJ: Yeah and they started getting older and I was still doing the same thing. I just wasn’t spending as much time with them and I was bound to do that to be a father figure.
Lucas: Yeah makes sense, I have a 10 year old and I try to do everything with him and spend as much time as possible with him. Going back to that, it’s got to have to be like a mental game when you wanted to be with the family. What was some things that you used to do to prepare yourself mentally for the heats and staying in the game? Is a mental a big part of it?
CJ: Oh yeah! It’s always between the ears man. There’s so much you can achieve and do if you can get out of your head really. It was different, there’s no secret sauce as far as ‘that worked that time, it’s going to work again’. So as a kid it was just like you’ll never get this opportunity again, this is your whole chance.
But how you self motivate not only does it change but because you change as a person there’s a different self motivating practices you have to use. I even went to at s point in my career, I brought up a coach for the year with me.
Lucas: Mental coach? Strength and conditioning?
CJ: Everything! The physical and the mental and the boards. Cause at the end of the day if you’re this athlete at his this level, you only really need to make every sort of factor kind of better. We would also say, if you could make this area 0.01 better and you do that over 5 different areas, well that’s huge. We’re talking about a game of inches between 30th on the tour to 3rd, that’s the reality of what needs to happen. So it’s just identifying these areas that you can make 0.01 better and doing that. That’s the mental, the physical, it keeps going on and on and on to travel and to whatever it is that is involved that day.
Lucas: Guys you can see there’s a lot that goes behind this, it’s not just grabbing your board and paddle out and surf. A lot of it goes like CJ said in between the ears. Awesome, now strength and conditioning, is it important as well? Other that just surf, I mean that’s great when there’s waves but there’s not waves all the time in Florida. Is there a specific strength and conditioning routine that you did or any conditioning that you did out of the water to keep progressing?
CJ: Yeah, but it’s going be different for everybody. Like I said you need to try to find your weaknesses. There’s going to be areas where you have gifts in and then there’s going to be areas that you don’t have gifts in. For me, I was built for a little more power so I needed fast twitch, I needed quickness.
Somebody like Mick Fanning who is really quick, he is going to go on the straight side. So you are just identifying some of your weaknesses. What’s the area that you need to test to find weaknesses to see what you need to do.
I think we were talking about this earlier, now that I’m done surfing I told you I was dabbling with some triathlons and I realized that I was really bad at running. So I was like ‘ okay, I know how to fix that, I’m just going to go running for a marathon’. So it’s that sort of mentality that I learnt from surfing that I’m translating to life after surfing. But it’s still parallel, it’s still what are you bad at, make it better.
Lucas: Yep, you got to focus on that one specific place where you are not as good as best as the other things that you are good at.
CJ: Totally, and once you make that better and something else goes. That’s just that process with life that is fun and it’s challenging. Once you sort of find the fun in that and getting better and see what’s available to you. Because a lot of times you don’t know what’s available to work on it to get better. If you’ve only done ‘well that’s what I’m good at, it’s my identity, I guess that’s what I’m going to do for the rest of my life and people know me for that’. It’s just like, time out dude. There is so much available to you, let’s just start with that. And then once you start that process then you’re just going ‘oh my god there’s this whole new world out there available to you’. You sort of start to exercise that in a lot of different ways and life.
Lucas: Yeah. So you’re now transitioning to the triathlons and the marathons. Is that something new?
CJ Hobgood: I wouldn’t say naturally but I would say in a thing where I’m like ‘look, all you got to do is show up and just give it your best’. You can only eat an elephant one bite at a time, and they’re huge. If you think about the whole thing you’re done. But all you got to do is go one mile at a time, and fight these certain mental battles and get over them.
The cool thing about the other side of the wall, the other side of the fight of flight, is a drug. And it’s an addictive sort of thing that you see a lot of people chasing but it’s a very cool thing. It happens in diving when you dive, and you get passed the fight or flight where your body is freaking out for air, the other side of that is super cool and it happens with anything.
Lucas: Do you feel that in the triathlon and in the marathons you did. Cause the last thing yo did was a marathon correct?
Lucas: You said that at the end it was all in your head, and you were talking to yourself.
CJ: Oh yeah. There was 30 different times that happened within that race. It’s so much fun that you can acquaint to life that can happen. That’s the cool part, that’s the part you want to tell people about, that’s why you want to get better, that’s why you want to get better in that little area. Because that’s going to open your mind to all these other areas that you can be better at. You just keep on that track.
It’s funny because people used to always be like ‘you’re killing it, you’re so successful and this and that’ I want to tell them I bet you I failed 30,000 more times than you that’s why you think I’m successful. It kind of takes the wind out of the sails that’s why I don’t do that. But that’s the only difference between you and I. I just happened to fail more times that you.
Lucas: Yes exactly. And it seems like everybody is successful. Like the guys that invented the telephone, the guy that invented the light, they failed so many more times until they finally made it. As you said now, you are proof, you were on tour, you failed so many times before you made it and failed with some other parts too.
CJ: Think about it, I was on tour for 17 years and only won 4 times on the CT. That would break a lot of people right?! Those percentages are really really small. But in your mind before I said it you are thinking ‘CJ is a very successful surfer’ right?
CJ: The reality, if I were to chew on that or fail in that. In my mind I would feel like a huge failure. That’s just the truth, I’ve just failed so many more times that I succeeded.
Lucas: Right. Now that you are transitioning from that you failed so many times and that’s why you are a successful surfer. Now that you are out of the surfing, not out of surfing you are still in the surfing community but you are into something else, something new that has to do with the promoting your brand. Talk to us about it.
CJ Hobgood: Yeah so, Jarred and Hayden Lane started this brand called Salty Crew in January 2014. They called me up and asked if I wanted to take this ride and it was like February so it was nothing. It has been a real ride. Salty is standing for Salvaging A Lifestyle for Tomorrows Youth, let’s give back. This is an opportunity for me to give back from what was given to me. That’s why I jumped on it. I was passionate about it and I’ve learned a lot about business and it’s been a dream ride. Yeah we don’t know what happens tomorrow but it’s definitely been a dream.
Lucas: Taking massive action, and if you fail you get back up. You know exactly what’s it like that you need to do to get back into that level. Last question, are you doing or did you do any coaching for any groms or for somebody that is looking to progress in surfing? Or is that something that you don’t care too much for.
CJ Hobgood: When I got off tour I ended up coaching Carissa Moore for a year and it was great, it was a great experience, it was very challenging to do. But, I quickly realized that I was doing the wrong thing, because I had waited for so long to get off tour to be with my wife and family. Then I took this job and it kept me away from the family. I did the wrong thing, I made a mistake.
Not a mistake as far as I’ve learned a lot from that. It was just that I didn’t get off the tour and retire to go coaching. So it’s something that I shouldn’t have done. I had to ask for forgiveness for that to my wife and kids and they gave it to me. So yeah I did do some coaching.
Lucas: Great! Do you recommended coaching for people to get better and improve in certain areas you did coaching with Carissa Moore.
CJ: Yeah, I mean I had a coach too when I was on tour. Look I mean, you don’t know until you have it. You try to identify areas that you can get better, but look when you are your own human sometimes it’s hard. I was fortunate enough to have a twin brother so I could kind of see that. But when you are by yourself sometimes it’s hard. You need that other person to kind of identify your weaknesses for you.
Lucas: Somebody on the outside
CJ: Absolutely. There’ll be a point where that needs to happen. Some people need it their entire life and some people only need it for a short period of time. But they are great. That’s my own experience.
Lucas: There you have it guys. A lot of knowledge here. Make sure to check out Salty Crew. And have fun out there, maybe we’ll get some picture of you too.
CJ: Ohhh Yeah no. Say hi to the grom too!
Lucas: okay never mind. Haha
There you have it guys! A lot of knowledge and things to get out of the CJ Hobgood- this professional athlete that is a twin and was a professional surfer on the Championship Tour for 17 years.
If you haven’t done so already check out Damien and CJ’s new movie called “An Two If By Sea”. Am amazing movie and documentary about both of their lives and what it takes to be not only a twin but also a professional athlete. Very inspiring and a lot to learn from. It is not yet available to the the public as they are still touring for premieres all over the US, but when it comes out check it out HERE.