The Hobgood Documentary

C.J. Hobgood discusses the crowdfunded film focusing on him and his brother

C.J. and Damien Hobgood are working on a new movie project, but rather than another brand-funded surf flick, the brothers are taking the reigns themselves. Through the site Indiegogo, the Hobgoods are offering perks to supporters based on contributions, ranging from stickers and clothing to C.J.'s 2001 ASP World Title Trophy (yes, you read that right). I caught up with C.J. recently to discuss the film project that he would literally trade a world title for.

What made you decide to make this movie now?

We've always wanted to tell our story, but weren't sure exactly when would be the right time to do it. So the idea was always in the back of our minds, and then we started talking about it more recently and becoming more proactive because we've reached this crossroads in our lives. Damo has to decide if he wants to get back on Tour, or get on the Big Wave World Tour, and I'm still competing on the Tour, but kind of in a transitional period. We think that now would be a good time to tell our story and to see how it all unfolds.

So the film will mostly focus on the present?

It's going to be a mix of past and present. We're going to be showing what it was like for my brother and me growing up, pushing each other, and getting to where we are now. But it's also going to be about what's happening in our lives right now. There are some issues that we want to address. Being identical twins, and surfing and competing together our whole lives, it's been like staring at a mirror, and I think that identity is something that everyone struggles with at some point in their lives. Being a twin makes that even more difficult, but without that struggle I don't think we would have accomplished what we have. Now we're on different paths for the first time in our lives and we're wondering if that mirror is broken. Honestly, we don't want this to be another surf movie. We want to tell a story, and we hope that people will be able to find parallels in their own lives.

Who is making this movie with you guys?

The director is Justin Purser, who is a good friend who did surf movies back in the day. We realize that there are so many great platforms for documentaries today with online streaming sites like Netflix, and I think something like that would be a good way to get out story out there. But we don't have the money to do this on our own, and we wanted to know if there would be enough interest to warrant making the movie, so we decided to find out by doing it as a crowd-funded project.

On your Indiegogo site, you have a lot of perks that people get for pledging money. Did you and Damien come up with all those?

Yeah, we sat down and wrote out every single one of those perks. When we looked at what we needed to do to get this thing going, we realized that it was going to be a ton of work, but we wanted to make it worthwhile for people to get involved. My brother and I are giving away a lot of cool stuff for the perks that I think people will be stoked on.

Speaking of which, the last perk on the list stands out—your 2001 World Title trophy. Is that for real?

Yeah, it is. I don't mean any disrespect by it, and I hope people don't see it like that, but I just want to show that I'm really committed to making this movie happen. That's the biggest gesture I could think of to show my commitment.

So if all goes according to plan, in 40 days you guys will be underway?

Yeah, we've got just under 40 days to try to raise the money, which will be enough to cover all the costs for things like equipment, travel, and production. We want to capture my year on the Tour, and Damien competing and surfing big waves, and all the other aspects of our lives. It will probably take a year, or maybe a year and a half to make. But with things like this, they kind of take on a life of their own. In a lot of documentaries, the filmmakers go into it with a preconceived notion of what the movie will be about, and a lot of the time the real story is something totally unexpected. That's really exciting to me, just to see what happens. I know we're putting ourselves out there, but we're fine with that. I want people to know that I appreciate their support, and that we feel accountable to all of them to make something great.