I like Ben because it’s super-cool guys like him that make my job a hell of a lot easier-thanks Ben. Here’s his interview:
[IMAGE 1]How’s your year going?
It’s been going pretty good. It’s my first year on the CT. I’ve been learning a lot actually and I think my surfing’s gotten better surfing with all the guys on the WCT. I’m happy-I can’t wait to finish off the year. With every stop and every place you go, do you find yourself learning certain things anyone would on their first year?
Yeah, I’ve been doing the WQS for about three years. I’ve been traveling. Everywhere I’m going now I’ve already been at least once or twice. I feel pretty comfortable. There’s a lot of things that go on during the WCT’s that don’t during the WQS’s that I’ve learned from. Yeah, I feel like a rookie-definitely.
Do you feel pressure to requalify when you’re a rookie?
Yeah, I’d say so definitely. I feel pretty confident that I can requalify. Yeah, there’s definitely pressure with all your sponsors.
A lot of people were talking about how nuts you went in Tahiti, had you been there before and did you want to prove yourself out there?
I’ve been to Tahiti twice before, but never surfed Teahupoo or anything. It was with the Quiksilver Crossings on the boat so we weren’t near the main island or anything. Yeah, I felt I had to prove myself. When you’re there in Tahiti during the contest, everyone from all the companies to all your friends, everyone’s sitting in the channel watching your heat. If you want to charge-That’s the time to do it. I had two heats where it was good size, but I actually had the Hobgoods caddying for me. They’ve both done really good out there. They pumped me up a little bit and got me going-I just gave it hundred percent pretty much.
[IMAGE 2]Who’s been the hardest to go against so far?
I’d say Sunny Garcia, that I’ve gotten. It would be Sunny.
Speaking of the Hobgoods and Kelly and everybody, how do you explain, of the Americans, the East Coasters doing so well on the World Tour?
I think since the waves aren’t so good where we’re from, we try a little harder. Everywhere we go the waves are good to us because it’s pretty bad on the East Coast. A lot of people complain, ‘Oh, it’s not good,” this and that. Always complaining. It seems like we’re never really complaining because any wave is pretty much good to us. I think we also don’t mind travelling as much as guys that live in California or Australia where it’s a beautiful place with nice waves. I don’t mind travelling at all. I think that helps out a little bit. I think we all just kind of have something to prove. A lot of people say, “Oh, East Coasters this and that.” I feel like we have to give it our best shot.
Your knee’s injured, how did you do it and how long are you gonna be rehabbing it?
I’ve never had any sort of knee injuries surfing before until Fiji just recently. I tore my meniscus which is the cartilage inside of your knee. It’s bad, I haven’t surfed in about two weeks now. I’ve just been going to physical therapy, seeing doctors, all that. It’s looking pretty good now. I think it’ll be fine before the Jeffrey’s Bay event.
So your living back in North Carolina, what do you do when your at home?
When I’m at home I like to just hang with my family friends I don’t get to see that often. I love to surf-we get little waves and if there’s waves it’s my favorite place to surf because it is home. I surf a little bit and I used to skate a lot and stuff like that, but I’m trying to stay off the knee.
Where you off to next, what are your plans for the next couple of months?
Right now after this camp right here I’m gonna go back to North Carolina until the 23rd and on the 23rd I go to South Africa for two events and then fly back here to California for the U.S. Open.
[IMAGE 3]Who are your favorite surfers to watch on tour?
There’s not really any specific guys-I like watching everyone surf. There’s so many guys, pretty much everyonee on tour. I could sit there and watch any heat. I love watching them.
Does being around such high-caliber guys really make your surfing that much more better?
For sure, everyone on the CT is ripping. There’s a lot of insane surfers that aren’t on the CT, but definitely surfing with guys that are surfing that good just raises your level-it makes me try my hardest. Watching all them surf, I’m constantly watching all the heats and seeing what guys are doing different and learning from them.