Professional surfer, Damien Hobgood is best known for having once held the highest two-wave grand final score in pro surfing by scoring 19.9 out of 20. Hobgood is a part of the Surfrider Pro Team and has also acted and produced in Two If by Sea: The Hobgood Brothers, Walking on Water and The Arena: North Shore. We interviewed Hobgood in 2008 and talked with him about why he has chosen a different path as compared to many of his peers and how he responded when someone punched him.
Hobgood opens up about how the harder road is often the better road and how he has been dubbed the “sober stoner,” for being able to have a great time at a party without drinking.
“I think that’s why you see a lot of athletes turn to the Lord, especially extreme athletes. They realize how close they are to death a lot of times. It’s a short life and you’d better start searching for some answers. It’s not all about indulging yourself in what you want. It’s parallel to what God says. If you take the path of self-indulgence before you know it you’ll be done. God doesn’t give us his directions because he’s this bad guy who says you can’t do this, you can’t do that. He says those things cuz he loves us and wants the best for us…Sometimes I feel I might take too much liberty in that balance. Sometimes I blow it, I’ll go out and …I’ll have a beer at home once in a while, but I have a couple drinks in a scene where people are struggling with alcohol, it bums me out. It wasn’t the time or the place. I battle with a lot of things, but if I didn’t have God in my life, I wonder how much darker life would be.”
“Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires. So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls.” James 1:19-21
Hobgood reflects on a time where he was punched but was led to forgive the man.
“This guy was videoing, and I asked him not to. There were people in the room getting heated. I was thinking that someone could make a mistake and be bummed that it was on video, so I asked the guy not to video. I said the wrong thing at the wrong time. I’m a pretty small guy and I think he focused all his anger toward me. I went home that night and stayed up late, asking the Lord if I was in the wrong. The next morning I was watching TV and the Lord said, ‘The guy’s right outside, get off the couch and talk to him.’ Half of me was thinking, the guy’s probably not going to be there, but I walked out and he was standing on the path, looking straight at me. I smiled and thought, ‘OK Lord, what next?’ I walked up and he smacked me. Obviously the Lord was there, cuz it was kind of crazy how calm I was. He started explaining himself and we were able to talk and he told me what was really going on in his life, the things he was struggling with. I prayed with him and walked away. I haven’t seen him since, but I would love to see him again. I feel bad telling the story because he was really sorry and said he felt like an idiot. I told him, ‘I’m not even going to remember this.’ I had to forgive him. How many times has the Lord done that for me? He didn’t know, but I had the Lord on the other end.”
Stand out from the crowd. Whether it is our group of friends, a group at school or work, we are faced daily with the decision to make decisions that honor our relationship with Christ or just “go with the flow,” and do what everyone else is doing. It can be easy to gossip or make fun of someone when everyone else is or even stay quiet. Instead, take a stand for that person and share a positive quality of redirect the group’s conversation. If you are having trouble, ask God to give you strength. It might even mean stepping away from a group of friends or a friendship.
Be slow to anger. It could be a cutting remark from a co-worker, a heated debate with your spouse or friend, or a stranger doing something that upsets you. We are put into situations daily where it could be easy to get upset. Instead of allowing your anger to overcome the situation, ask God to help show you how He wants you to react. Sometimes, it means taking a step back from the situation and seeking to understand the other person’s actions. Listen to what they are saying.
Forgive others. Forgiving others can be a difficult thing to do. God wants us to forgive others as much as he forgives us. Ask God to search your heart if there is someone in your life that you need to forgive. And ask Him to help you forgive that person. Forgiving someone does not mean that we agree with what they did. It can be helpful to meet with a trusted friend, small group leader or pastor to help you process a situation. They might be able to give you insight on how to forgive the person and reconcile the situation.
To read our entire interview with Damien Hobgood, click here.