I don’t know CJ Hobgood very well. I’ve met him in passing a few times and emailed back and forth about this or that. But here’s the thing about CJ: Within ten seconds of meeting him, he’s your friend. There’s no arrogance, no expectation, just a solid handshake and man that looks you in the eye.
We sat down with him to film an interview a few years ago behind the melee that is that Trestles event in San Clemente. He’d just lost his heat, the sun was almost unbearably hot… and CJ seemed completely happy to bare his soul on camera. That’s one of the great things about him: he’s got a certain unfiltered vulnerability about him.
He’s retiring this year. After slugging it out with the best surfers in the world for nearly two decades and winning a world title, he’s decided to hang up the gloves. And professional surfing will be worse for it.