Benbro Hay: Return of the Haymaker

Reverse grom and Australasian champ Benny tells us about his record setting IDF tour. Racing skateboards in Europe and the Phillipines. And why he’s used the same wheels and trucks for longer than you’ve been skating.

GOKS photo

GOKS photo

Hello Benbro, how are you tonight?
I’m good, man. Been real busy lately but tonight, I’m free.

Good busy?
Well, yes. I’ve travelled a lot this year so I’m back home and hard at work to pay for it all.

Worth every penny?
Yes, for sure! All work and no play can’t be healthy.

Where did your travels begin?
I haven’t raced much for a few years and, after Mt Kiera in Australia, I decided to go to New Zealand for the Mt Rehepehu race the following week and that’s where my travel for 2016 began.

With Adam. Adam Nicholls photo

With Adam. Adam Nicholls photo

Kiera was back this year?
Yes, finally! After the first year in 2012, the road collapsed from a landslide and it took two years to fix, so the race finally returned as the first world cup for the IDF season.

What did it mean to have this event back on the calendar?
It was big for the Aussie scene. We lost Bathurst (Newtons) and Kiera and we didn’t have a big race for a few years so, the scene dropped off a lot but all the long time OGs and current new guns rallied and got stoked for the return of Mt Kiera,

Did you have a good time?
Yeah, we always do at kiera because it’s pretty much the hill that started it all for us in the early days. A lot of the Sydney crew learnt there and it’s got a great camp ground half way down the hill in the rain-forest and a great vibe, kind of brings us all together again. NSW skaters play QLD skaters in a football match, which is awesome. All the Americans and overseas crew even joined in even though they don’t know our rugby league sport real well. They impressed me and they just wanted in on the fun. Emily Pross killed it. Such a champ.

I won the inaugural masters division, the first season and first event of its inclusion into the IDF rankings. That was pretty special to me.

Paula Toletin photo

Paula Toletin photoou

Favourite memories from this year’s race?
I won the inaugural masters division, the first season and first event of its inclusion into the IDF rankings. That was pretty special to me as it was the birthplace of Sydney downhill and a track that I’m very familiar with.

Will Newtons be returning?
Yes! Word on the street is that Newtons is back in 2017. The council have cut us some slack and are letting us return.

Australia is huge. Why isn’t there a 3rd or 7th big international race there?
I think the IDF have rules about having a certain amount of events on each continent, we had a good legal race return late last year but it’s really hard to find other venues that the local councils will allow a road closure on and there are limited people willing to step up and cut through all the red tape to get it happening. We’ve got plenty of good hills. But, its turned the corner now and ASRA have really stepped up their game again and apart from two IDF events next year, we have some other rad events locked in for the weeks either side of the big two races. The whole Australasian leg of the IDF tour is going to be huge next year and the most event stacked leg of the whole world tour. It will be the pick of ‘bang for your buck’ race legs for internationals to travel to.

Little Anna photo

Little Anna photo

The whole Australasian leg of the 2017 IDF tour is going to be HUGE and the most event stacked leg of the whole world tour.

Is 2017 the year a local wins the IDF races?
Jacko nearly won the opens at Kiera this year, placing second real close behind Max Ballesteros. I won the masters and an Aussie grom Jaydon Howarth won the juniors so, we are getting close, man.

Are any Aussie women racing?
A few of our real fast women kind of dropped out or got injured in those quiet race-less years. A few are still in it, Maga Mcwhinnie races a bit still but has taken on a role with the IDF, so she has to sit out the odd event to run it and Gemma Holland is still returning back from a broken leg so she still hasn’t got back to full charge.

Had you visited the Kiwis prior to this?
Yes, the whole Hopkin skate team went there in 2012 for a few weeks and it was an epic trip in a lot of ways but there was an incident at Rehepehu and we didn’t get to skate that volcano much so, it was great to return for a race and put aside our fear and bad memories and finally ride it for the weekend.

ALDO photo

ALDO photo

Was that the Jacko leg incident?
Yes, it was. It was great to spend time hanging out with him again there like nothing happened and watch him destroy the hill.

How does the NZ race compare to the Oz races?
It is entirely different to both Kiera and Newtons. It’s a volcano that is also the north island’s best winter ski field, it gets crazy extreme weather even in the summer. There’s nothing up there but black gnarly volcanic rock, no trees or bushes, kind of feels like being on the moon. It is intimidating in the sense of crashing because you are going to either hit guardrail or sharp volcanic rock.

Would you rather crash there or newtons?
That’s a hard one, the crash zones at newtons are of a higher speed than Mt Rehepehu and I’ve seen way more broken bodies at newtons so, I’d take my chances in New Zealand, I think.

What effect does the landscape have on the ride?
It is the windiest place I’ve ever been and, because it’s so open with no trees or wind blocking features, the wind screams up the face of the mountain, this has a huge effect and was the reason Jacko got held off his line that year and crashed. Because we were that keen, we tried to skate it in 100kph+ wind. This year and last, fog and rain sets in high up there in the clouds and they actually postponed the event because the visibility was so bad, you couldn’t see the corners coming. It’s a place of extremes, man. Part of the reason I enjoy it is because I love weather and the skating and racing changes accordingly.

Ryan Nicholls photo

Ryan Nicholls photo

Highlights from racing there this year?
This is my 40th year on this planet and it so happens that the IDF has included an over 35’s masters division for the first time. After winning the masters at the first event at Mt Kiera, I was super stoked to back it up and win the masters in New Zealand and for the first time ever, I got carried to the podium by the homies. That was the highlight for me. It’s been great to get so much riding  because I can race two divisions now, kind of like being a grom again racing masters and opens.

It’s been great to get so much riding because I can race two divisions now, kind of like being a grom again, racing masters and opens.

Reverse grom, Morg! How did it feel?
It felt great and it’s given me extra incentive to race again. I’ve also done pretty well in the opens this year. Did some things that are firsts for our sport like winning both the opens and masters at the same event in the Phillipines, which is probably the most satisfying thing I’ve ever done. That was also the last event of the Australasian series leg of the world tour and also secured the Open Australasian championship and masters Australasian champion. I missed China but my 4 races out of the 5 that make up the Australasian championship secured enough points to take those titles.

Owen Licop photo

Owen Licop photo

“… I did some things that are firsts for our sport like winning both the opens and masters at the same event...

Officially pro now!
Haha, more like an over stoked morg doing it for the stoke and passion for riding hills with a lot of rad people. Like I mentioned before, being my 40th year on this planet has inspired me to work less and skate more because you know life’s short. Might be an early mid life crisis, I don’t know. What I do know is, I’ve never enjoyed bombing hills more than I do now.

Otang ambassadors down under

Otang ambassadors down under

being my 40th year on this planet has inspired me to work less and skate more because you know… life’s short… I’ve never enjoyed bombing hills more than I do now.

Have you autographed anything since?
Yes, lots! I’m big in Asia, haha.

I’m big in Asia, haha.

What have been your best race heats from your championship season?
The masters final of Mt Kiera ended up being  a tight battle between myself and longtime Aussie shredder and close mate Adam Yates, he is such a great skater and five years younger, so that was a real good race to win. Another good buddy Ryan Nichols got third so we were all stoking out hard. And of course, winning the opens final in the Phillipines against world number 1, Max B was pretty epic. But, racing all the great masters from allover the world at all the different events has been epic, finally meeting and skating with those guys has been special.

Fist Bump with Yate Dawg - Nyom Nyom behind the lens

Fist Bump with Yate Dawg – Nyom Nyom behind the lens

Last time we spoke, you were about to jet off to your first VLT! Fun?
The Phillipines have a special place in my heart now I’ve been there four times since then, three VLT ‘s and an extra trip. I spend a month there every year and have a lot of great friends who I call family and it’s become my annual vacation. The chilled island vibes, local hospitality, food and my many friends keep me coming back.

The Phillipines have a special place in my heart … I have a lot of great friends who I call family… The chilled island vibes, local hospitality, food and my many friends keep me coming back.

LEGENDS! Gerard, Dandoy, Benbro- Goks photo

LEGENDS! Gerard, Dandoy, Benbro- Goks photo

FOUR!!!!
Yeah kind of says something, hey!!! I’ve considered moving there haha. But I have a great lifestyle and love my job here as a fisherman too much. We really need to be able to live more lives man. I’ve thought about employment there and I’ve got a fair few friends over there now that are living the dream, ex pat ozzys and Americans who own bars and resorts etc. I really envy their great lifestyles. Maybe when I’m old, I can move there or maybe spend half the year there, whatever the case I’ll keep returning each year.

You have all the lives ever lived.
Yes, true! Wouldn’t change a thing.

Leo entrampas jr photo

Leo entrampas jr photo

Have your family visited, too?
Yes. I finally could afford to take them to the Phillipines for this year’s VLT to see what I see. They really enjoyed it as well, they built a bowl in Siquijor, just for my boy to skate! Haha, nah, but it just timed out good like that. We went diving, boat tripping, scootering around the island, chilled by the pool and ate the tastiest cuisine on earth. Great holiday.

Was their support the secret to your double win?
My family wasn’t there for the second race a few weeks after VLT. The reason for it was undoubtedly because it was in the Phillipines. I get in such a good zone there and feel so relaxed and alive and the people and my Filipino family really cheer for me. I feel the love and support and it was almost like I did it for them. They were so stoked, it was like they won it! My good friend Pedro Escarda said to me after the race ‘I knew you were going to win, Benny, I could feel it.’ It was a great hill for tactically smart racing and, along with being in such a great place, surrounded by great people, warming up the core each sunrise on stand-up paddle boards before skating all day, you just can’t beat that zone you fall into.

chilling with pedro leo entrampas photo

chilling with pedro leo entrampas photo

“…the reason for [my double win] was undoubtedly because… I get in such a good zone there and feel so relaxed and alive and… my Filipino family really cheer for me. I feel the love and support and it was almost like I did it for them.

Pedro from Grupo Nopo? Legend!
Pedro from Lapu lapu, Cebu. Yes, that’s him! Grupo nopo life member! Absolute amazing person. He looks after all the first timers to VLT.  

What do you like about the country?
The people firstly, so friendly and welcoming and the vibe. It feels like all the locals are permanently on holiday, life is simple and the way it should be. Nothing but smiles and good times. I also love the food, fresh and amazing flavours. I crave the traditional Filipino cuisine all year long and try to replicate it here at home but you just can’t. The skate family there is absolutely amazing and it’s spread into the local communities with the local businesses, resort and bar owners awaiting the return of the skaters every year. They come out and watch our events and support us and we eat and drink at their places at night. So rad, nothing quite like it.

Benedict Saw photo

Benedict Saw photo

Who are the friends you’ve made there over the years?
The whole grupo nopo crew were the first and remain probably the closest to me. I really miss those guys; Pedro, the Ricablanca brothers, Epos Falcone, Dandoy and brother Bryn, Bingbong, Mikel, Dags, Leo, Jericho, so many to list, I’m going to forget some pretty special people, as well as friends that don’t skate but just support us and meet up with us each year, amazing extended family.

What’s the skating & VLT like?
The first leg on Siquijor is special, there’s only a few hills there but it’s a small island with amazing scenery, coral reefs, and great resorts & bars, waterfalls and cliff jumping. The tour next year is going to change as the second leg on Cebu’s mango hill has just gotten too rough to skate, the race track near car car is still awesome and a fun race at San Fernando up the road is of high quality but, like I said, it’s more about the vibe and excessive stoke levels than the quality hills.

Where did you go after the VLT?
I came home for ten days then went back to the Phillipines for a week and the IDF race on the big island of Luzon that is run by the United Crew from the Manilla, Luzon area. It’s a huge crew that I didn’t really know existed. They have their own Luzon race series and the crew there are really proactive at growing the scene and nurturing the younger crew. I placed 6th at the VLT Car car IDF race and won the masters two weeks prior; but, this was the event I got the double win and was pleasantly surprised by Luzon. We usually just land in Manilla and are keen to bail out to the islands but, once you’re an hour out of the big city of Manilla, it’s just as amazing as the islands! The people are epic, there’s rain-forests and amazing waterways and that same chilled vibe that I love about the Phillipines and its people and culture. I spent nearly six weeks in the Phils this year and after that I came home for a few months before I headed to Europe.

Jessica Hay photo

Jessica Hay photo

age is nothing more than a number and the only limitations are the mental limitations we impose on ourselves.

How hard have you had to work to enjoy this much time on the road?
When I haven’t been away skating, I’ve been doing nothing but working. But I’ve also been lucky that I’ve had a fantastic year of fishing when I have been home, so it’s managed to cover the expenses. If I didn’t travel and I just worked all this year, it’s been the kind of year you have every 20 years and I probably could have bought another house or something, haha. But, no way, financial gain is only good if it creates a fulfilling life as far as I’m concerned. Pretty stoked on the whole year in general, without doubt the best year of my life so it kinda proves even more to me that age is nothing more than a number and the only limitations are the mental limitations we impose on ourselves.

“…financial gain is only good if it creates a fulfilling life...

mine nw photo

mine nw photo

Is it tough being away?
Yes, it is tough being away from the kids but luckily they spent a few weeks with me in the Phillipines and, in Europe my wife travelled with me and the kids stayed at their grandparents’, as they were on school holidays. They are proud of their dad and super supportive and it’s all they know. We also know that I won’t be doing this much travel every year. I do miss them but I cope by having a really good time and knowing they are set and in safe hands while I’m away, without sounding too self absorbed.

First time skating Europe?
Yes, it was. I’ve heard everyone say how amazing the mountains are and the hills so i finally got to sample it. I wasn’t disappointed at all. I really loved Austria and Norway. The mountains are like nothing we have here and again experiencing the great food and beverages was also great.

Did you see Luca on your travels?
Unfortunately, we didn’t hook up. He and wife Alex just had a beautiful little girl and wasn’t in a position to travel far and our schedule was pretty tight and we didn’t have the time to drop down to Spain to see them. At the same time the races were on, my other legendary mate Cam Kite was visiting Luca and they hit up local freerides close to home rather than get to the races. Luca is coming home for Christmas, so that will be epic. I was on a tight time frame with very little travel time between races so i just couldn’t get there.

With neil and Cam Kite. Boardsite photo

With neil and Cam Kite. Boardsite photo

Where did you visit while you were in Europe?
Firstly we went to Norway for the Lillehammer world cup. I’ve always wanted to visit Norway above everywhere else in Europe; just for the scenery, the geological structure, the fishing, the water, the mountains and mountain roads, so it was the perfect excuse to finally go.
Even though it was really expensive for us Australians, I really enjoyed it. The scenery there is breathtaking and the mountains and rivers and lakes were awesome. The place has one of the best and well managed fishing industries on earth so that was great to partially check out, as well as the smoked fish breakfasts and the amazing roads to skate.

We then flew back to Munich and had a few nights there before picking up our hire car and driving into Austria to compete at the new Almabtrieb hill located deep in the Austrian Alps. This leg of our trip was just awesome! To finally attend the legendary Almabtrieb and meet Stephan Risch on a brand new crazy road in the alps was a dream come true. Without doubt probably the craziest hill I’ve ever seen to skate top to bottom. It was raining for the race so, we only competed on a shorter, safer track. I didn’t care at all because I love rain skating and just being in such an amazing location was unforgettable. Again, the food and tradition was great, the locals live in their own world, lost in the mountains, still wearing traditional dress and were extremely friendly and down to earth.

After that, we drove our way up into the Czech republic for the famous Kozakov race. It wasn’t so scenic, but the race track is really fun to skate and the party is huge and by then I had got pretty tight with local masters contender and hill killer Jakub Rod, who had been travelling all the euro races as well, a local half Czech half Aussie who lives in Prague guided us around Prague and looked after us. Prague was one of the best cities I’ve been to and I’m not really a city person but the history and architecture was next level. They were times I will never forget. We then flew out from Prague and headed home.

Masters of Lily - Sam Priestley photo

Masters of Lily – Sam Priestley photo

“…in Norway, there were actually no parties due to it being so expensive, no-one could afford to drink haha...

How did the Euro parties compare to the stories?
In Norway, there were actually no parties due to it being so expensive no-one could afford to drink haha.
Almabtrieb party was probably the best for me, as it was just the skaters in one big tent hidden away in the middle of the Austrian Alps just doing our thing, partying while being safe with a rad DJ who was a skater.

Kozakov was just as I’d heard about – a lot of locals and loose Czech women just come for the party and it was so loud and out of control you couldn’t talk to your buddies. The skaters playing drinking games with locals watching on thinking ”WTF are these crazy dudes doing?”
The downside of the Kozakov party is the mess at the top of the hill each morning and watching not to step in the landmines left from the night’s revellers.

Ayumi Oride photo

Ayumi Oride photo

Were the races as you imagined?
Yes, I’ve always wanted to race those technical tracks but, as far as racing went, I had a crazy run of bad luck. They take racing pretty serious and I’ve seen some things I wished I never saw; un-sportsman-like behaviour, lots of protesting, whinging and aggressive complaining to race organisers, amongst others. They definitely aren’t as chill and camaraderie isn’t so important, its all business, in Europe.
I got crashed out in every opens race by dodgy attempted passes that weren’t on. The reason I really enjoy riding with the masters is because those guys know how to race and ride clean, their experience tells them how and what to do in every given situation. I pretty much got the worst results of my life there, made a mistake and crashed in the masters semi at Lillehammer while way out in front, left the door open at Almabtrieb after dominating the wet track to be passed in the final by Nico before the line to place second and just that type of stuff but I really didn’t care because that’s racing and with good results you gotta get a few bad results.

The reason I really enjoy riding with the masters is because those guys know how to race and ride clean.

How much freeriding did you do between races?
Not that much. I skated just the right amount, I feel. The events really only left just enough travel time between each to get to the next one so, going to far out of the way wasn’t an option. But, Europe being Europe, there were plenty of rad hills everywhere, so it’s not too much of a problem.
I’m really not the type of guy who feels it necessary to go to all the hills every other skater religiously goes to. At first I was frothing at all the quality hills but it didn’t take long to just keep on driving and say ‘oh just another sweet run, fuck it’.
You get that much riding on the race hills, with them being 4 or 5 day events that I was just happy to hang with the crew and play around there. They are just hills, man. They ain’t going anywhere!

Jamie Gwillim photo

Jamie Gwillim photo

They are just hills, man. They ain’t going anywhere!

Have those experiences changed you/your racing style?
The travelling definitely has changed me as a person for the better. My racing style not so much, it more so proved to me I’m doing it right in racing smart, staying in one piece and biding my time and doing well by smart, clean riding. I’ve always said I’ll happily place second or forth rather than be ‘that guy’ that pushes a desperate move and crashes everyone out. No one should aspire to be that guy and, as much as racing etiquette went out the window years ago, I will still continue to play it my way and do it for a long time, rather than maybe gain a little more success for a short time. The amount of great riders I’ve seen come and go from this sport from injury is crazy and, at the end of the day, I want to enjoy the next event and come home and enjoy my life on the sea.

Scott Thomson photo

Scott Thomson photo

I’ll happily place second or forth rather than be ‘that guy’ that pushes a desperate move and crashes everyone out.

Were you racing The Haymaker on Kahas & Otangs?
Glyde has since taken a break from production and Loaded/Orangatang have always looked after me so, I’ve had a tesseract under my feet this year, but the kahalani trucks and otang wheels will never be replaced. I still ride my Haymaker and have a few on the wall for keepsake.

It’s rare to see someone with nearly the same setup for 10 years. Why don’t you want to try new trucks/wheels?
Because I’m a loyal supporter and those brands are like family now and because you can’t get anything better! I still have groms say to me ’are kahas any good?’ and i just say ‘Adam Persson just won Lillehammer and Kozakov on them and has been one of the dominant open riders at any event he attends. Along with Maurice Armfelt who won Almabtrieb and Andes Inde is also solid, Kahalani Trucks swept the European podiums this year, taking three from three events! Those guys are proof – once you’ve got a good product, there’s no need to change anything but yourself if you aren’t winning.

Grupo Nobo Photo

Grupo Nobo Photo

I still have groms ask ’are kahas any good?’ I just say ‘Adam Persson won Lillehammer and Kozakov on them and Maurice Armfelt won Almabtrieb… Kahalani Trucks swept the European podiums this year, taking three from three events!

If you could change one thing about the year you’re having, what would it be?
It’s been such a good year, there’s nothing else I could ask for other than a bit better results in Europe. But, again just the slightest error or unfortunate crash is all it takes. In the masters I’m stoked to see any of the guys take it but on a personal level, I know I’m better than that so it kind of frustrated me at the time.

How about the timing system?
Haha, damn! The first part of the racing season it seemed fine, there were some minor issues, but, in Europe, it never did its job at any event I attended. There were issues with the guys running it right through to the damn thing doing weird random shit and the batteries draining half -way through the field. I don’t miss too much on the hill so I took notice and there’s just too much that went on to talk about it all.
We were seeded at Lillehammer based off last year’s results – a year I didn’t race. So, yeah, I got seeded a real hard draw. Kozakov, they were up all night averaging out times and what was released the next day didn’t make sense and screwed a lot of people. It kind of had me and a lot of others on the back foot from the start of every event and it was frustrating, considering the time and money we put in to be on the opposite side of the world, racing at what is supposed to be the highest level of our sport.
Top riders are saying how hard it is to get in the zone when your best runs don’t count and all that, so it’s a definite buzzkill. I don’t like sounding like I’m bitching because I feel for the IDF reps dealing with it as much as the riders and we are one big family. Hopefully they iron out the bugs and things run smoothly from here on out.

Ering Ricablanca photo

Ering Ricablanca photo

Boardercross this year?
Not sure about a series but there is a hybrid event planned for the boardercross ramps at the start into a 3 hairpin downhill course, that will be amazing.

Is Travis Horsfall still involved?
No, he’s kind of dropped right out of it, last I heard he was still skating a bit of park.

When will we see the junior haymaker racing grom?
My grom, Tom? I’m trying not to push him into fast stuff or downhill too much as I believe solid safe skaters are developed from gaining various board skills and coordination at the grassroots level. Sure, we go slide and bomb chilled stuff together. I know a lot of longboarders or downhill skaters that didn’t come from other board riding backgrounds, just jumped straight in the deep end and a lot of those have been the ones to get seriously injured or quit as a passing fad. I want him to develop as a skater first and then, a racer later.

Christian Kreuter photo

Christian Kreuter photo

How will you spend the rest of the year?
Well, for the next 6 weeks, I’ll be working but, I’m unsure if I’m going to travel to Brazil in October for just two weeks to compete in the last two world cups of the season, to kind of finish this thing I’ve started with the inaugural masters title. If Pete Connolly goes, well I’m going because I can’t just give it to him. He went in all the other Euro events and has accumulated enough points to be the only other guy who could take it if he goes. Pete is an absolute gentleman and a great skater with real good sportsmanship so, I’m banking on him letting me know if the showdown is on because, realistically, I’d like to save the money and not go. But, in saying that, if it comes down to it, the Brazilian tracks really suit my riding and look really fun so I’m not concerned either way.

Lead Nico and Pete - Media Media

Lead Nico and Pete – Media Media

Did you face the English legend in any races?
Yes, I did, all three European events I attended. He is a real solid rider and we got on like a house on fire. Felt I’ve known Pete forever. He beat me twice, one of those occasions, I crashed leading and I beat him once. That was finals results but through the earlier rounds we squared off pretty evenly; I won some, others, he did. His style is totally different to mine as is all the European masters. They swiss footbrake whereas I slide or carve/airbrake to slow down, which I found real hard to race around because they break so much earlier and I had to give them space and change what I did once forced into certain situations. I got caught in the footbrakers log jam in the final of Kozakov and had to slide early and too much to avoid crashing us out.
I wasn’t going to take a foot off my board at that speed, in that scenario and it cost me the better placing in the final. But, like I say, that’s racing and you gotta deal with it. Sometimes, if you can’t ride your own race, that’s when you get beat and I’m happy with that.

Footbrake - Under Meg photo

Footbrake – Under Meg photo

What does being the Morg Champ mean to you?
It kind of solidifies who I am, even though I don’t need to prove anything, it kind of solidifies the OG status of mentoring and spreading the stoke of longboarding in a positive way. I’m not saying I need this title because I’ve been given massive amounts of admiration and respect from the worldwide downhill family, not just the groms and up and comers, but some of the best racers and riders in the world chat to me about stuff and show me respect beyond my expectations so, I already feel I’ve won and I’m forever grateful for what this sport has given me.
Maybe I feel I owe it to my long time supporters and sponsors and even more so my friends in the sport who, despite results, have always labelled me amongst the best, which is a title I’m uneasy with, due to never actually winning a world title or anything. I don’t really like to see anyone in this sport as better than the next because it’s still highly social based and, sure I’m competitive still, but the best thing about it is that it isn’t highly professional yet and it’s still an open ticket, I don’t really want to see change. The lifestyle is where it’s at, I’ve won a lot of titles and to be able to one day tell the grandkids I was once a world champ would be another great story amongst the million stories I already have.

The lifestyle is where it’s at, I’ve won a lot of titles and to be able to one day tell the grand-kids I was once a world champ would be another great story.

Oz has had junior world champs (Hi, Connor) and are on the cusp of a senior world champ, when will we see someone take Open?
Man, sometimes I think, if I was ten years younger I could really give it a shake haha. But, besides that, I don’t really know. Without taking anything away from Jacko, I believe he would have done it except for his ongoing struggle. His push isn’t what it used to be and I noticed his style totally change, to be able to still perform at the level he does. But, he’s also seen the light and realised it’s more about having fun than pushing hard for the win. I’d have to say, in the next few years, our hopes really only lie with Jacko, Josh Evans… maybe Brennan Bast, and a few others. I don’t want to sound like we haven’t got up and coming talent, because we have, there’s just only a few at the moment that stand out to have the full package and determination to do what it takes.

Aussie greats

Aussie greats

Are there many other skaters into sailing/fishing?
It started as a passion for me and I turned it into a profession. A few of the guys like social fun fishing. Brad Sterrit and Yatesy likes a bit of fishing as does Gabe Gwynne but none really do it like I do, as a job.

Are you still putting on events?
I did a few last year but, this year, I kind of went into it being all about me, for the first time. I’ve never really put myself out there competitively on the world stage and again to be sitting just outside the top ten in opens and the Australasian championship and master etc, I’m pretty content. Next year I’ll get back into doing it for everyone else again.

Skateland outlaw - Tyron Knight photo

Skateland outlaw – Tyron Knight photo

How are things in the Basement?
Real good, we moved to Redfern which is a hip area real close to the city and it’s been good picking up more attention from mainstream skateboarding to get through a quieter time in longboarding. I can feel it will be on the rise again now with 7 events in the Australasian series and a return of more local grassroots events as well.

What would you like to do in the next 12 months?
This year, I’ve lived the dream of working my dream job and travelling doing my dream hobby and I’d love to keep doing it but in different ways and different places. The Australasian series will be my main skateboarding priority and then maybe just Almabtrieb and Kozakov for 2 weeks, as I have connections there now and can do it easier, faster and cheaper. Basically, just keep being who I am.

Benbro, you are a legend. Thanks for sharing your evening, it has been fun doing this again. Hope our paths cross somewhere. Keep having fun, Master Morg!
Thanks so much and it’s great to spill my thoughts out to someone every now and then, brings back all the great memories of a great few years and my life is all the better for having skateboarding and the rad people that go with it. Later, boss.

“…my life is all the better for having skateboarding and the rad people that go with it in it.

Any last words?
My words are never the last words, I’ve always got plenty to say and I’m not going anywhere haha. But, thanks a bunch to the usual suspects- my family and friends and supporters Basement skate, orangatang wheels , loaded boards, kahalani trucks.

Arne Valen photo

Arne Valen photo

Links.

Basement skate.com

Instagram – benbrosk8

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