Originally from Florida, Damien Hobgood now calls San Diego County his home. Photo: Jackson Van Kirk

For some people, the perfect camping spot is right in their own backyard. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you’d have to live in the middle of the woods or out in the desert to feel like you’re actually “getting away” and connecting yourself with nature, though.

When you live in your own idea of paradise, you have the privilege of hopping outside any time you like and taking in a deep breath of the beautiful world that you call home.

For professional surfer Damien Hobgood, San Diego County, California is his paradise at home. Originally from Florida, Hobgood now enjoys the consistent surf and countless outdoor and ocean endeavors that Southern California has to offer. And that includes camping in front of his backyard surf breaks.

While everybody’s definition of camping is different, it all boils down to the simple act of getting outside and enjoying the beauty of nature. In this installment of Around the Campfire, we got a chance to sit down with Hobgood and find out just what camping means to him.

The southern California lifestyle at its finest. Photo: Jackson Van Kirk

What’s your earliest camping memory?

Camping on an island in Florida on the Banana River, and absolutely getting eaten by so many mosquitoes. It was hell. We were around twelve years old. And it was just our friends … We didn’t even have tents. We were just like, ‘Ah, we’re just gonna paddle over and camp.’ We’d just stay the night and just fish. But it was hell. It was hot and it was so gnarly [laughs].

Damien Hobgood at home in his element. Photo: Jackson Van Kirk

What’s the best camping trip you’ve ever been on?

I’d say the best camping trips [for me] are camping trips right down the road here at home. Carlsbad Campground and San Elijo Campground. But I don’t even know if you’d call it camping. It’s like fake camping. It’s right on the beach, but you have all these restaurants right across the street.

Damien in the comforts of his favorite area to camp. Photo: Jackson Van Kirk

What is one place that you’ve never camped that you’d love to?

I’d love to camp in Yellowstone with my family. I’ve just heard how beautiful it is.

What’s your favorite camping food?

Lobster. You can catch ’em right out here in Encinitas. This year was amazing. You just put ’em on a grill – right over a fire.

Damien in his element. Photo: Jackson Van Kirk

In a survival situation you can bring one thing: firestarter or a machete. Which do you choose?


A large animal is lurking outside your tent in the middle of the night. What do you do?

Just … stay in your tent [laughs]. Stay quiet and just stay in your tent.

More Around the Campfire interviews from ASN

Around the Campfire: 9 camping questions for pro surfer Ian Walsh

Around the Campfire: 9 camping questions for pro snowboarder Travis Rice

Around the Campfire: 8 Camping Questions with Pro Snowboarder Pat Moore