Local bodyboarder, Sam Bennett, is making waves on the Australian Tour. The 18 year old already has a string of titles under his belt, and his own signature board to boot. Kim Gould talks to him about his blossoming career.
> How old were you when you first started bodyboarding?
Well, I think I was around 11 when I first started bodyboarding, although at that time I wasn’t taking it seriously.
> What got you interested in this sport?
One of my older brothers. I just kept hearing him and all his mates always talking about it, and it seemed like a really cool thing to get involved in. Being as young as I was, I looked up to him. It all started from there.
In the Christmas holidays of 2002, my mum actually convinced me to join the bodyboarding club. The following year, in February, I did my first competition and came first. I was really stoked at that point, so I kept competing.
> You’ve been a member of the Port Macquarie Bodyboarding Association for 7 years, since you were 12. Tell us about the club.
The Bodyboarding Club is very well backed by the parents of other club members.
I always look forward to doing the comps. The day is really chilled out, and most of the time everyone has fun competing against each other. It’s not like a really tense day where no one talks to their opponents. We all get along and have fun.
> You’ve competed on the Australian Tour for a few years now. How did you find your first major competition?
The first major competition I did was in Newcastle, and it was the second leg of the pro tour. I think that was in 2005. I didn’t do very well, although I did get a taste of what it was like to mix it up with the older guys and some professional well known bodyboarders.
> You’ve been in several movies, including roles in The Joker 2, FLUX and Seasoned. What was it like being a part of these films?
The movie I starred mostly in was FLUX, which was a DVD produced by Ryan Mattick, owner of ZION Wetsuits.
The DVD was released with Riptide Magazine. Being a part of that film and travelling with the other guys from the team made me think to myself, “I must be doing something right”.
> Your major sponsors include ZION Wetsuits and Pride Bodyboards. We hear that you’ve got your own signature board in stores now?
Yeah, I was stoked when PRIDE offered me the signature board. Having the board out makes me feel like I’m starting to get somewhere in the industry. When guys go to check out a board in a store, they will see a board with my name on it.
> Having your own signature board is every young bodyboarder’s dream. How does it feel to have achieved this at such an early age?
It was never actually a long term goal for me. As a grommet I always dreamed of one day winning a world title, and I still do, so to have achieved this now is a big bonus. That’s not to say that I’m not happy; I just think of it as motivation … getting me one step closer to the professional level.
> You’ve achieved some amazing competition results over the years, including NSW State Champion in 2006. After 2 events in the 2009 Aussie Pro Tour you are ranked 5th in the Top 16. What’s it like representing Port Macquarie at such a professional level?
I did well in 2007 as far as competition on the pro tour and what not. Although, last year I didn’t do very well, so I guess I see it as making up for lost results.
I thought I’d better pick up my game and try and win a pro comp for the first time. This year I’ll be doing nearly all of the comps around Australia, so hopefully I’ll have a good chance.
> Recently you won the Open Men’s division at the Gosby Memorial, scoring perfect 10s. What was that like?
From 2003 to 2007 I won every Goose comp for my division. But in 2008 Jones Russel took away my winning streak. This year my mind frame leading up to the comp was that, “No one is going to beat me”.
Mum always taught me to stay positive and tell myself I’m going to win. So I did. Winning this year felt the best though, because I knew I had the title back. The Goose Gosby is easily my favourite comp … it just has the best vibe.
> Apart from your ambition to win a pro comp this year, what else is on the agenda?
Well, I have a trip to WA soon and I’ll be doing many more trips with the ZION team this year. Ryan Mattick will be producing another team movie, which will be released towards the end of the year.
Comps on the other hand … hopefully, I can do more of the pro tour around Australia and maybe win one … or 4, ha ha!
> Thank you Sam.