Jacob Romero, 20, from Waiehu, Maui, is unarguably one of the 808 state’s greatest prospects in bodyboarding today. Even though Jacob, as his friends would most definitely vouch, kills it, he hasn’t allowed it to get to his head. He has made a remarkable name for himself as an extremely talented free-surfer. His OTW and Pipe performances this past season on the North Shore were mind-boggling. Yet, over these past few years he has also proven to be a tremendous threat to competitors on the IBAHawai’i contest circuit (as well as in national competitions), consistently winning and placing in events against many of bodyboarding’s best at both professional and amateur levels. Now, with that much said, let’s sit down for a moment and see what this humble Hawaiian has to say…
T&C: So Jacob, enlighten us about your self? Who are you?
JR: My name is Jacob Romero, and I’m twenty years old. I’m from Waiehu, Maui, but now live on Oahu. I’m currently going to Honolulu Community College on Oahu. I have two brothers, Josh and Jonah, that bodyboard as well. I hate working. Right now I’m working at Alamo Car rentals to save up for my trips. It is the worst job I’ve ever had. Cheeeee! Nah, work is work. You know how that goes. I love Jesus Christ. Without him nothing would be possible. I go to church and Bible studies. Attending church and bible studies has taught me that being humble can lead to many good things. So yeah, everything I do is for Jesus. I also have a beautiful girlfriend named Tiani. Okay, Toyota Tacomas are the best trucks ever. Home cook meals are the best meals ever. I love pets. I currently have a gold fish. I think drugs are for losers. You can have fun without them. Shootz! I don’t know where I’m going with this, but I’m just super stoked on life right now. Life is great!
T&C: Sounds like everything is going good for you Jacob. So, let me ask you, how long have you been bodyboarding? Who got you into it?
JR: I’ve been bodyboarding for about 7 years now and competing for about 4. My older brother Joshua Romero and his friends really got me hooked on it. Back in the day, they took me bodyboarding at this one spot right by my house. It was pretty big at the time, but I was super stoked to get in the water. From that day on, I was on it whether it was 1 foot or 5 feet.
The first bodyboard I ever bought, on my own, was a Morey. You know, the ones they sell at Costco. It was one of the best days of my life. I was so stoked. From that day on, Bodyboarding has been my life.
T&C: So you’re going to be entering your second year of school at Honolulu Community College. How’s that going for you? And has the move from Maui to Oahu influenced your riding at all?
JR: Yeah, this fall will be my 2nd year of school. Actually, I’m pretty stoked on going to school. I hated high school. After graduation, I was always telling myself that I would never go to college. But after working at Aloha Airlines for about a year and a half, I suffered a back injury. Something needed to change. So I told myself that I didn’t want to do this my whole life and made the decision to go to school on Oahu. Going to school on Oahu has definitely had an enormous influence on my bodyboarding. You can, basically, surf everyday. Whether it’s Half Point (Sandy Beach) or the NS (North Shore), there is always something to be ridden. Not to mention, the waves on Oahu are heavier and far more consistent. So I guess you could say that living on Oahu has pushed my riding into bigger and heavier waves.
T&C: In your eyes, who are the guys that have pushed you to surf better over the years, as well as now?
JR: To be truthful, there are so many bodyboarders that have always pushed me, from contest surfing to free surfing. The guys who have always pushed me are Jimmy Hutaff, Leroy Kaiwi, my brothers Jonah and Josh, Kona Kuailani, Shea Sevilla, Travis Calvan, Wesley Calvan, Riley Dutro, Kyle Hayashi, Nick Heyd, and most everyone from Maui. My good friends from Kauai (Kainoa Lum, Tim Hamilton, David Phillips, Adam Bice, Pyper Lullen, and everyone from Boogie Nation), Oahu (too many to be named), and the Big Island (FDB and Nathan Rubio) have also pushed me to surf better over the years. Jeff Hubbard, Spencer Skipper, and Mitch Rawlins are my all time favorite bodyboarder- the big names I look up to.
T&C: What would your ideal session consist of?
JR: My ideal session would consist of my friends and I just having fun bodyboarding. It could be 1 foot and onshore or 7 feet with offshore winds. As long as we are out there having fun, it would make any surf session epic. Cheering on your friends from the shoulder to hit a heavy section or to pull into huge barrels are the best surf sessions ever. Sessions are really what you make of them. You can always have fun even when the waves are super crappy. You just need to have the right mind set. Bodyboarding should always fun.
T&C: Do you have any plans for travel this next year or in the immediate future?
JR: Definately, I’m planning a trip to Australia with my good buddy, Jason Bitzer, this July. I also just purchased a ticket to Mexico. A bunch of Hawaiians are planning to go as well, so it should be really fun. The USBA tour is coming up, too. I’m planning to compete in the contests being held in New York and New Jersey. It’ll be my first time bodyboarding on the east coast of the US. For the immediate future and next year, I’ve always wanted to go to Tahiti, Fiji, Philippines, Chile, Brazil, Europe, and Western Samoa. I don’t know really? We’ll see. Traveling is always fun. As long as I’m meeting new people, venturing to new spots, site seeing, and experiencing new things, those elements make a trip epic. To list a few of the places that I have traveled, I’ve been to: Rarotonga, Puerto Rico, California, the Hawaiian Islands, and Japan.
T&C: What has been your main focus, in terms of progressing your surfing, as of late?
JR: Having fun is the best way to progress my surfing. Yeah, I’ve also been running and doing push-ups and sit-ups like every other day. Keeping in shape and training are the basic keys. If there are waves, I’ll surf everyday. My main focuses are riding bigger, heavier waves and trying to hit any section. I guess you could say, just getting more confident in bigger waves.
T&C: What are some of your short-term and long-term goals in bodyboarding?
JR: First and foremost, having a good time. If you’re not having fun at what you do, then why do it? Winning the USBA tour would be awesome. Getting my name out there. More exposure would be epic. A signature board model would be sick. Getting more shots in the magazines and videos. Competing as much as I can. Hopefully one day I can qualify for the World Super Tour and compete against the world’s best.
T&C: In terms of progressive riding, where do you see bodyboarding heading in the next few years?
JR: I think bodyboarding is heading in a healthy direction right now. There are some new magazines coming out. Some new tours such as the USBA tour that will help the US riders make a name for themselves. There are more bodyboarding companies starting up, such as Boogie Nation. Bodyboarding is epic right now. As far as progressive riding is concerned, the fact that bodyboarders can function and ride thicker, heavier waves than surfers, will push the sport further. Which is happening. Bodyboarding will always be around.
T&C: Any words of counsel to those just getting into bodyboarding? Especially the groms.
JR: Ummmm…all I have to say is stay focused, stay positive, set goals, be humble, and stay out of the drug scene. Always have fun and enjoy the life that Jesus Christ has given to you. Having a bad attitude and thinking that you are the best will get you nowhere. There is always someone out there that is better than you. And just make sure, at all times, that you are having fun.
T&C: Any last words? (shout outs to sponsors, family, thanks, etc.)
JR: First and foremost, I would like to thank Jesus Christ because without him none of this would be possible. I would especially like to thank my mom and dad, my two brothers, and everyone who has helped me out over the years. My girlfriend Tiani. She has been really supportive and is always there for me. Danny Black (bodyboardershawaii.com), Ryan Beppu (beppuphoto.com), and all of the photographers that help and have helped out all of the Hawaiian bodyboarders. Lastly, I would like to thank my sponsors: Hi-Tech in Maui, T&C Bodyboards, Chris Willington, and KICKS fins,Thank you God!
Interview with Jacob Romero By Evan Fa, T&C Bodyboards Staff Writer. Posted via Fixins.Com by Markey Blanes, Fixins.Com contributing writer.