Nine-time world champion bodyboarder Mike Stewart is hailed as one of the most recognized and decorated athletes in all of watersports. He has built an incredible career as an accomplished waterman here in Hawai‘i and around the world and is credited as an early pioneer of both bodyboarding and big-wave tow-in surfing.
Born on O’ahu, Stewart has ridden bodyboards since the inception of the sport, leaving a trail of wins in his wake, including capturing victory at the annual Banzai Pipeline event a record eleven times—nine of which earned him the world title of bodyboarding. He has also been crowned the Pipeline Bodysurfing Classic Champion an unprecedented fifteen times and is the only bodyboarder to have competed in the Banzai Pipeline event since its inception in 1982. Stewart received the title “Mister Pipeline” for being the best wave rider of any kind at the famed spot and remains the only non-stand-up surfer to ever achieve this accolade.
Stewart is also widely recognized along with fellow bodyboarders Ben Severson and Chris Tennberg, for being the first pioneers to explore, ride and unveil Tahiti’s Teahupo‘o, in 1986. This location has since gone on to become a premier global big-wave surfing destination on the World Surf League circuit.
Since 1998, Stewart has manufactured his own line of boards under the label Science Bodyboards, no doubt drawing from his close relationship with Tom Morey, the inventor of the modern bodyboard and years of design and manufacture experience garnered throughout his career.
Stewart has leveraged his connection and longevity in the sport of bodyboarding to sponsor and help run numerous contests for the local bodyboarding community. He also has supported the Makapu’u Bodyboard Club by providing boards, Viper fins and gear for the Club’s weekend activities and after-school programs. Several of the participants of the Makapu’u Bodyboard Club are at-risk youth from the Waimanalo area.
The godfather of bodyboarding’s film credits include Zalman King’s film, In God’s Hands (1998), and Blue Crush (2002), he also recently finished an Australian and American Tour premiering his new film, Fire, created and directed by filmmaker Scott Carter.