Through Barrels and Brokenness: CJ Hobgood’s Story

CJ Hobgood needs no introduction, having achieved practically everything in pro surfing, including the absolute summit of being crowned world champ in 2001.

In the eyes of many a grom and adult surfer alike, CJ had it all. But behind all the public success, a sense of deep unrest grew within him during his climb in the ranks. He was realising his potential and achieving his dream – but doing so had left him with a feeling of emptiness rather than the satisfaction he had expected.

“I realised that no matter what I did in this world, no matter what I tried to accomplish or tried to achieve or get, it wasn’t happiness,” CJ says.

He was looking for more meaning, more purpose. And, in the summer of 2000, he found it.

That was the day CJ became a Christian and committed his life to following Jesus.

“I think a lot of people find the Lord when they are either at their lowest point or their highest point,” CJ muses.

“I think I came to the Lord at the highest time… I was reaching my dream to make the world tour, and right when I reached that dream was when God was right there in my face.”

Ever since that day, in the highest highs and the lowest lows of surfing and life – through barrels and moments of brokenness – CJ has held on tight to his faith in Jesus. His faith keeps him grounded and grateful.

When his first marriage ended, he was devastated… but he realised that God was right there with him, in the darkest moments he had known.

“At that moment I was broken, and it was a low point… I was just glad that I had a God who loved me, and I love Jesus.”