Joel Tudor is an accomplished surfer with an extensive career in professional longboarding, a successful entrepreneur, and a jiu-jitsu black belt under Rodrigo Medeiros as well as a former representative of the Carlson Gracie Academy – BJJ Revolution Team. Tudor was particularly active in jiu-jitsu at a competitive level during the late 2000s and early 2010s decades, a time when he conquered important medals on the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (IBJJF) circuit such as the American National Championship, competing also in the ADCC World Championships.
Joel Tudor Jiu-Jitsu
Full Name: Joel Tudor
Main Achievements (Adult):
- 1st Place IBJJF American Nationals (2009)
- 3rd Place IBJJF American Nationals (2011)
Main Achievements (Masters):
- 1st Place IBJJF Pan American Championship (2011)
- 1st Place IBJJF World Championship NOGI (2009, 2015)
Main Achievements (Adult, Colored Belts):
- 1st Place IBJJF American Nationals (2008 brown)
- 2nd Place IBJJF World Championship NOGI (2008 brown)
Main Achievements (Masters, Colored Belts):
- 1st Place Pan American Championship (2006 purple, 2008 brown)
Favorite Position/Technique: Triangle
Weight Division: Peso Pena (70,00 kg / 154.5 lbs)
Team/Association: Surfight BJJ
Joel Tudor Biography
Joel Tudor was born on June 11, 1976, in San Diego, California, U.S.
Growing up in one of the biggest surfing spots in the world and being the son of an avid surfer, it didn’t come as a surprise when Tudor picked up a passion for wave riding during his early childhood, around the age of 7 according to Tudor’s website (joeltudor.com).
Competitive surfing and longboarding, in particular, became a big part of Joel’s life and his full-time profession early on, allowing Tudor to abandon the traditional scholastic system, during high school as a 15-year-old – the same year he won his first professional ASP competition, now named WSL (World Surf League).
Territorial disputes are common in surfing, many of which result in physical altercations, a dynamic Joel grew well accustomed to while traveling the world. During his many trips to Hawaii, Tudor learned about the reputation Brazilian surfers held in the region as tough guys, a status grounded on so many of these athletes having solid knowledge of jiu-jitsu. Interestingly, it was while staying in this American archipelago that Joel first felt the efficiency of grappling, when, playing with a friend who was well versed in the sport.
This original play-fighting with his jiu-jitsu friend in Hawaii showed Tudor how defenseless he was against a skilled grappler. A few months later, Joel bumped into an acquaintance who was a purple belt under Rodrigo Medeiros. The interaction with his friend led the famous surfer to Medeiros’ BJJ Revolution Academy, an affiliate of the Carlson Gracie Academy at the time.
Although already a big star in a different sport and in his mid-20s when he started practicing jiu-jitsu (2003), Tudor dove into grappling with all his energy and was able to climb the ranks of the sport quickly, earning his black belt 5 years later, on September 2008 from Medeiros.
Throughout the years, Tudor became one of the great ambassadors of jiu-jitsu in surfing. He also created a career in parallel to his longboarding affairs as an athlete and an instructor, first as one of the main coaches at Studio 540 – a respected and revered grappling gym in Solana Beach, CA – and later by opening his own jiu-jitsu gym in Del Mar, CA.
The cover photo was taken from Studio 540’s Facebook page.
Joel Tudor vs Megaton Dias – 2009