Mike Stewart is a legend beyond the body boarding realm. He's simply one of the Greats our sport of wave riding has ever known. In may Mike will turn 50 and still turns heads in the heavy water. Take a peak at Hawaii's very own...and Mahalo to ALOHA Film by Ryan Vandever.
When asked, Tom Curren himself thought Mike was the greatest surfer. His answer was quick and firm: “Mike Stewart surfing Pipeline. Surfing doesn’t get any better.” He was always thinking ahead, whether he was inventing new maneuvers or finding new wave frontiers to master. Stewart ruled both competition and free surfing of the era. He went on to win the bodyboarding world championship a record 9 times. He won in 1983, 1985, 1987 through 1992, and again in 1995. Before Kelly Slater, that seemed an insurmountable achievement. But his career dominated not just competition. Additionally, Stewart went on to pioneer some of stand up surfing’s most hallowed waves. Besides become the most legitimate Pipeline “master” by winning the Pipeline Classic 9 times, Stewart was the first to test heaving Teahupo in Tahiti (now surfing’s most feared wave) with fellow bodyboarder Ben Severson. He escaped the crowds on the North Shore by riding waves on the outer reefs a full decade before the average Joe surfer began jet skiing the area. In 1993, he was the first to bodyboard big Jaws on Maui and pushed surf travel to its logical extreme when he followed a massive south swell from Tahiti to Hawaii to California to Alaska in 1996, a feat copied years later by Taylor Steele and Dave Rastovich. Note: To date, most of the heaviest and most radical slabs and heaving-est reef setups were found first by bodyboarders. Stewart served on the International Bodyboarding Association chairman of riders board for 4 years, earned 8 national championships, was named “one of the top 8 wave riders” by Surfer Magazine in April of 2000, named “one of the top 50 most influential surfers of all time” by Surfer Magazine and was recipient of the Quicksilver Waterman of the Year award.
Oh we left out his ~13 Body Surfing Championships at Pipe. The 38th annual Pipeline Bodysurfing Classic presented by Patagonia, Viper Fins,Solar Services Hawaii and other contributing sponsors, completed on February 19th 2011 on the North Shore of Oahu. The Conditions were 3 to 4 feet Northwest swell with wave faces averaging 8 feet.
This year Mike Stewart was successful in defending his reign as the event champion, his 13th win at the annual event.