The Bionic Man: Ben Bourgeois

Ben Bourgeois
Age: 26
Hometown: Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina
Sponsors: Wave Riding Vehicles, Reef, Da Kine, Toyota of Orange

TransWorld SURF: Your recent shoulder surgery. Was that just a product of overuse throughout your whole surfing career?

Ben Bourgeois: Yeah, for the last five years I’ve been in pain. It just kind of hurt, was kind of feeling weird, and I dislocated it a few times. And then when I was in Brazil, it popped out pretty bad.

Popped out of socket?

Yeah.

Ouch.

I pretty much knew it was time to get fixed, especially with CJ and Damien (Hobgood) just getting theirs done. I saw them do it, and I was like “I’m just gonna’ get mine fixed too.

And did the doctor tell you that you’d come back with full range?

Yeah, they say once you get it done, you have ninety percent odds that it won’t come out again, like a ninety percent chance. So you’re pretty good once you get it done. It wasn’t anything real serious, but if I wasn’t a surfer, I would have never got it, I wouldn’t have cared.

You got Lasik eye surgery at the same time, too?

Yeah (laughs). I got eye surgery done, my eyes have been bad forever and I finally got a chance to stay out of the water for a couple of weeks, so I did it.

So, you haven’t been able to surf with your new vision?

Nah, I haven’t yet.

Before the procedure, was it hard for you to see waves?

Nah. I was used to it so I didn’t think so, but it’ll be interesting now to see how it goes and I’m thinking it might take me a little bit to just get used to that because, just from looking at the ocean, just checking the waves recently, I’ve been able to see every little bump and everything. It’s so crisp and perfect.

So when do you get back in the water?

About three more weeks and I should be surfing again. I’ll take it slow and easy.

And that surgery forced you to miss the Australian leg of the WQS?

Yeah, I missed the Australian leg, which is really just that one big event at Margaret River. I’m only missing one event, that’s kind of why I did it (the surgery) now.

How many big WQS contests do they have throughout the year?

Oh there’re tons of big events, especially this year. There’s a bunch of 6 stars, and there’s that 7-star thing.

So you can make up some ground?

Oh yeah, it’s just that one event, so it’s not that big of a deal.

And then your first trip is going to be to the Maldives?

Yeah, but I want to try and go somewhere in May, but the Maldives is my first contest trip though.

And that’s a 6-star?

Yeah that’s a big one. And from there, I go from the Maldives to Brazil, Brazil to South Africa.

That’s a ton of miles.

Just gonna’ keep rollin’.

What are some other things you’ve got going on besides contests?

I’m filming for Josh Williams’ movie project, Burn, trying to fit in a couple trips for that real soon. Other than that, we’ve got a Reef tour in July that’s right before the US Open.

What’s that all about? Do you bring a bunch of Reef girls?

The Reef girls are coming.

Damn, that’ll be fun.

Oh yeah.

So you recently had a trip to Morocco in which you guys went deep into the Sahara with no water, how the hell does that happen?

We started trekking into the Sahara looking for waves, there’re rumors of waves down there, but nobody really knew where and we didn’t find anything (laughs). And then we kind of ran out of water.

That’s a great place to run out of water, lots of 7-11’s and stuff?

Oh, yeah there’s everything, 7-11’s, supermarkets.

Yeah right.

We got low on food and then the water went dry so we had to pull outta there a bit early and the first place we made it to, didn’t have water, only Coke. Lot’s of flat tires, no sleep or showers for a week. Stuff like that.

But you were saying you don’t mind sleeping in the dirt if the wavves are good.

Hell no. If the waves are good, you know, do whatever it takes, I’ll sleep anywhere, out in the cold whatever, but when it’s flat that kinda’ starts getting to you (laughs). I think everyone can agree with that.

Yeah, that doesn’t sound too fun. Besides running out of water in the Sahara and rehabbing your shoulder, what else have you got going on?

Not much, just hanging here in Cali until June, pretty much just trying to get better, just going to physical therapy.

Alright.Well, good luck in your rehab and thanks for coming in.

Thanks.