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the inertia
(Thursday) 6.18.15

CJ Hobgood Announces Retirement After 17 Years on Tour

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After seventeen years on the world tour, CJ Hobgood announced yesterday that this will be his final year of competitive surfing.

From his first year on tour, Hobgood cemented himself as one of the best goofyfoots ever. His exploits in waves of consequence made him into one of the most feared competitors, especially on his backhand. In 2001, he won a world title, which for him, never felt right.

“I’ve thought for a long period of time that that title was a curse,” he remembered. “It was 2001, and the year got cut short. You know, there was constantly an asterisks next to my name. Honestly, just being here for a long period of time means more to me than anything, man. I want people to know me as someone who loved their competitors and enjoyed them and competed against them at the highest level… and then as someone that loves Jesus.”

In round one at the Fiji Pro, he paddled out to his heat wearing Kelly Slater’s jersey. Afterwards, he explained why. “I mean, obviously anyone who has ever touched a surfboard or fallen in love with surfing owes Kelly a lot,” he said. “He’s inspired me as much as he’s inspired anyone else. At Bells, he was joking around on Instagram and had said he was retiring, and I saw him there and I told him, ‘Hey, I really am retiring this year Kelly, and I’d be stoked to wear your jersey.’ He said it’d be rad, so I told him I wanted to wear it in Fiji.”

For a long time now, Hobgood has been toying with the idea of retirement, but wasn’t an easy decision to make. “I talked to my wife about all this for sometime, and now’s the time. It is tough, because you’re trying to find this perfect exit plan,” he said. “A lot of the time a perfect exit plan would be like, ‘Ok, I just want to win a contest and walk away on top.’ Hopefully I can turn around and put some entertaining heats together. I don’t care if I win or lose, but I do want to surf my best and I do want to push the best guys in the world to their limits.”

The tour will be a different place without CJ Hobgood. As one of the friendliest, most entertaining guys to watch in the water, he’s become something of a staple. So what’s next for him? “I have no idea,” he laughed. There are some things, there are a lot of things that I have in mind, but until I’m there and living in that… until the contests go and I’m not in them… I’m not in the next chapter. I don’t want to be that guy that hopes I get a wild card. I don’t ever want to put on a jersey again. I don’t want to rob someone of an opportunity that could change their life, because I’ve already lived my dream.”

Watch our Headspace interview with CJ:

This article is published on solspot.com via our partner: The Inertia

View the original article on The Inertia

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