DEEP SEA DIVER IN PUNA – BILL HUBBARD
In my quest to find healthy/fit individuals to feature in this column I stumbled upon a very unique person with an interesting history of conditioning.
Bill Hubbard is not a difficult person to stumble upon, standing six foot eight inches tall and weighing in at 238 pounds; he’d be hard to miss at a party.
This was the case when I first met Hubbard at Joe Wedemann’s birthday party in Keaau. Wedemann, who stands 6’4” and weighs just under 200 pounds, was dwarfed by Hubbard which made me feel like a smaller than average person.
And Hubbard has an unusual occupation as he repairs underwater pipelines. Traveling all over the world Hubbard has repaired pipelines in the North Sea, Central America, Mexico and California.
“The work involved using very large cranes mounted on construction barges to install and repair offshore oil platforms and pipelines,” he said.
“Often the job included welding to repair damage to pipelines caused by a ships anchor being dragged during one of the truly monstrous storms that rage in the North Sea.”
Diving bells are used as elevators to put divers at the work site and hot water is circulated inside the bell. The divers are provided with specially designed suits due to the severe cold.
“I have worked at jobs as deep as 800 feet,” Hubbard said. “The deepest company performed work was at 1200 feet, in the Norwegian trench, which set a world record for deepest underwater pipeline welding.”
To perform his duties Hubbard must keep himself in top physical condition to meet the demands made upon his body at extreme depths.
“I have always kept myself in top condition for diving work as it is critically important for me to reduce the chance of decompression sickness and ultimately to prevent injury,” he said.
Born in Missouri, Hubbard moved to West Kentucky when he was nine. “My father was a game warden and an expert hunter and fisherman,” he said. “My dad had a small boat and I learned to water ski at age six.”
At age 12 Hubbard attend an all sports camp at the University of Tennessee where he was mentored in the triple jump by legendary coach, Ralph Boston. Boston was the gold medalist in the long jump in the 1960 Olympics and went on to win a silver medal in 1964 and bronze medal in the 1968 Olympics.
During his youth Hubbard hauled hay and did heavy farm work to earn money and the rest of his time was spent playing football and basketball.
In high school he received all state honors as an offensive tackle in football and made all district as a center in basketball.
Hubbard was so good that he received a scholarship to play football for the Kentucky Wildcats and was on the punt team. “I really had to use speed and quickness just to stay in one piece at that level, so I left school to pursue a career as a professional deep sea diver,” he said.
On New Years Day, 1996, Hubbard moved to Hawaii to remodel hi mother-in-laws house. “That was it, I couldn’t go back,” he said.
“My wife, Lorraine, is from Hilo and after we married in 1992 it was an easy decision to move to paradise,” Hubbard said.
Hubbard went onto build his own home in 1997 which includes a custom wood shop which keeps him busy with a variety of projects.
This 52 year old continues to seek new adventures in his very accomplished life. Hubbard has already climbed Mount Lyell, 13,114 feet, in Yosemite National Park; he has climbed the Grand Teton in Wyoming, 13.770 feet, and has done numerous other hikes including the Grand Canyon.
“I have no excuse not to exercise,” he says. Today’s regimen includes calisthenics in the morning followed by either a five mile run or a 26 mile bike ride. Then he will swim for 30 to 60 minutes and in the evening he, his wife and two dogs will go for a 30 walk/jog.
Hubbard is also an avid skier, since age 23, and once or twice each year will go to Mount Bachelor in Oregon. “I am constantly thinking of deep powder and steep slopes and enjoy competing in Nastar giant slalom events,” he said.
Hubbard is a remarkable man who has kept himself in great shape with his love for the outdoors and in finding new adventures. “You can achieve anything you want in life if you have the desire to pursue and never give up, never surrender,” Hubbard said.
Coming up on Saturday, March 7 is the “Big Dog 5K” starting in the parking area of Moku Ola (Coconut Island) at 7:30 a.m. and hosted by Big Dog Productions.
The 3.1-mile run, walk or jog is free and open to the public regardless of ability level. Following the event there will be free refreshments and the awarding of the “Dog Perpetual Trophy.”
For more information call the Big Dog @ 969-7400.
“Happiness is not a matter of events, it depends upon the tides of the mind,” Alice Meynell.
And someday should you happen to see a smiling, happy runner/walker come passing along Bayfront remember to smile, say “woof” and never shy away from “Running with the Big Dog.”
Email the Big Dog at firstname.lastname@example.org.