Mike Stewart is one of the biggest names in bodyboarding. In terms of the impact he’s had on this sport, he is up there with Tom Morey, the inventor of the Boogie Board and the one responsible for bringing this water sport to the masses.
But who is Mike Stewart, and why is he so popular and highly regarded?
Who Is Mike Stewart?
Mike Stewart is a bodyboarding legend. He is one of the sport’s biggest pioneers and promoters, as well as one of its greatest athletes. He has been closely involved with the sport since its inception and has won a total of 9 World Championships.
How Old is Mike Stewart?
Mike Stewart was born on May 17, 1963, making him 58-years-old as of early 2022.
As with many other great surfers, he was catching waves when he was old enough to walk and swim, and there are stories of him surfing with chunks of Styrofoam when he was just 5 years old.
The Boogie Board was invented in 1971 when Mike Stewart was just 8. A couple of years later, aged 10, Stewart bought his first Boogie Board and kickstarted a habit that would define his life and establish his legacy.
Where Does Mike Stewart Live?
Stewart was born in Hawaii. When his family moved to the Big Island, he met with Tom Morey, the founder of Morey Boogie Boards and the inventor of the sport for which Stewart is famous.
Despite living close to some of Hawaii’s best beaches and surf breaks, Mike Stewart was never big on surfing. He preferred surfing shallow and hollow waves, and that’s why he took to boogie boarding so quickly.
What Titles Has Mike Stewart Won?
In 1982, Mike Stewart skipped his high school graduation to compete at the first-ever bodyboarding competition, held at Sandy Beach. It was worth it in the end, as he finished 3rd behind Jack Lindholm and Daniel Kaimi.
That performance started a trend that would eventually see Stewart become a 9-time bodyboarding World Champion. He also claimed victory in the Pipeline Bodysurfing Classic a total of 15 times and he was the only bodyboarder to surf in the Banzai Pipeline.
Mike Stewart’s proficiency on the waves earned him the title Mister Pipeline, becoming the only prone surfer to be given the honor.
Wave Riding with the Nine-Time World Champion
Although Mike Stewart is best known for being a nine-time World Champion, he was also a pioneer at Teahup’o. In combination with Ben Severson, Stewart became the first to surf the infamous location in the 1980s, helping to turn Teahup’o into a premier surfing destination that is now a key stop on the WSL circuit.
He is also a talented bodysurfer and has won the Bodysurfing Classic a total of 14 times.
As you would expect, Mike Stewart’s talents have been highly sought-after by manufacturers keen to use his name and expertise. He has helped to design a number of boards over the years, the best of which can be found under the banner of Science Bodyboards, a brand that was founded by Stewart.
Science Bodyboards produces some of the best bodyboards and even rivals the original Morey Boogie Boards in terms of quality and brand recognition.
Amazing Facts about Mike Stewart
Mike Stewart is one of the most accomplished athletes in the United States, a true king of the water that has mastered several disciplines. There’s a lot to learn about the father of bodyboarding, so we’ve crammed a few more facts into the following section:
- Mike is said to have hated 360-degree spins during the ’80s, deeming them to be “weak and lame”.
- He is married to Lisa Miller, who he met in 1983 when she was the only female surfer competing at the Bodyboard Pro Championships.
- Stewart designed an innovative surf leash in 1992 that he dubbed the “Gyroll”. The leash was made from over a dozen parts and “Gyroll” continues to produce other leashes and accessories.
- The Windows game, Mike Stewart’s Pro Bodyboarding, was released in 1999.
- His favorite wave is Pipeline due to its extreme diversity and unpredictability.
- He has been sponsored by numerous brands throughout his career, including Morey, O’Neil, and Turbo.
- Mike was the first bodyboarder ever to land an air forward at Sunset Beach.
- Stewart believes that bodyboarding is superior to other water sports because it provides the boarder with a closer connection to the wave.
- He appeared in the 2002 film, Blue Crush, which also featured a young Kate Bosworth.
- He was in the 1998 flick, In God’s Hands, which featured Bret Michaels (former frontman of Poison, and the co-founder of the film’s production company), and Shane Dorian, inventor of the inflatable surf vest.
Tom Morey and Mike Stewart
Mike Stewart and Tom Morey were very close. Not only were their lives intertwined throughout their respective careers, but they also became close friends after they met on the Big Island.
Apparently, when Stewart married, the priest asked people who were involved in his upbringing to stand up. Both Mike’s father and Tom Morey rose to their feet.
Following Morey’s death in October 2021, Stewart posted his late friend’s burial wishes on Facebook, prefacing them by saying:
“Tom Morey, father of the modern Bodyboard, made his wishes clear 6 years ago, when he wrote this missive about how he wanted his remains dealt with. We share this with you all to communicate the spirit in which Tom viewed the shedding of this life, the conventions that surround death and burial, and the humor and love that stood at the center of his being.”
The resulting document requested that there should be a burial and that his body should be treated in accordance with Baha’i Burial Laws.
In a more succinct post published before these requests, Stewart quoted his friend with the words, “Life is Bitchin!!” and the message “Tom Morey 1935 – 2021 surfing the brightest light.”