CATCH A FIRE

posted by / News / May 4, 2004

Few contest machines have fueled each other like {{{CJ}}} and Damien Hobgood. Throughout the 90s, these Satellite Beach Florida twins traded victories the way most brothers do toys, until the brothers exited the NSSA in 1997 with four National titles between them. Now, they’re looking to encourage America’s next generation of young amateurs by taking them along on a family vacay — and making them work for it.

“The whole point of Camp Hobgood isn’t just to take these kids on a fun little surf trip ,” says CJ. “We show them all the hard work that goes in to being a successful pro, from contest strategy to training to photo shoots.”

Last year, a SURFING giveaway helped selected eight young amateurs from across the country for the first Camp Hobgood in Costa Rica. This time, however, the Hobgoods teamed up with the NSSA to send only America’s top competitive prospects for a stint in the wave-rich land of Nicaragua. While the twins had fun pushing the last eager crew, they hope by picking the country’s very best surfers, they’ll be helping those with a real chance at being future WCT surfers themselves. And after combing through a slew of essays from every region, they recently announced the following standouts as the lucky winners:

Gavin Gillette of Kauai; Ola Eleogram of Maui; Tanner Gudauskas of California; Cory Arrambibe of California; Jeremy Johnston of Florida; Karina Petroni of Florida; {{{Sterling}}} Spencer of Florida; Jacob Kirschenbaum of Florida.

Add 2003 Open Men’s winner Pat Gudauskas and Open Women’s Erica Hosseini, and you’ve got a veritable who’s who of the NSSA heatsheet, all of whom will get a good start when coverage shows up in a future issue of SURFING. But they better be ready to power by the time Nationals finishes; with the camp running from June 28 to July 4, the kids will take flight right after the awards ceremony is even over. And while some competitors may even wish they were picking up a boarding pass instead of a trophy, don’t be too jealous. Camp Hobgood may be fun, but it won’t be easy. As Damien puts it: “We’re gonna work these kids’ butts off!” Matt Walker

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