professional at the sport.
Surfing "is all about passion, desire and how much you want it," said
the mild-mannered Deffenbaugh, who graduated from Huntington Beach High
School in 1992. "I had a child in high school, and after that I had to
make a decision on the direction I was going with surfing."
And he hasn't had a single regret.
As a seasoned veteran on the World Qualifying Series tour, he has
experienced the perils and excitement associated with big-time surfing,
competing against the best wave riders on the planet. The job has taken
him to exotic places and some of the best waves in the world.
Now, Deffenbaugh said he is poised to win the U.S. Open of Surfing in
his hometown, with his family and friends watching. The ShockWave U.S.
Open of Surfing -- with 700 amateur and professional athletes -- is the
world's largest surfing contest. The event begins Tuesday and continues
through July 30.
"It feels great to surf at home," Deffenbaugh said. "I have had this
contest on my mind for the past couple of months. [The event] is the
biggest in the world for spectators, and it is special because it is my
Local surfers say Deffenbaugh will receive an avalanche of support
from Surf City residents because he is regarded as one of the best
surfers the city has ever produced. They also say Deffenbaugh is admired
for being a good father to his two children, 8-year-old Justin and
4-year-old Madison,, and a good role model for the many young kids who
look up to him.
His accomplishments include winning the National Scholastic Surfing
Assn. high school division title in 1991 and being named a two-time most
valuable surfer on Huntington Beach High's state championship team. His
best year as a pro surfer came in 1995, when he was ranked 34th on a list
of 44 of the world's best surfers.
"He is regarded as a hero simply based on his accomplishments and
talent levels," said surfer Jon Moyer, who works at Huntington Surf And
Sport, which has sponsored Deffenbaugh for nine years.
Friend and fellow professional surfer Wyatt Simmons said intense focus
and determination sets Deffenbaugh apart from other surfers.