Three time World Champion Body Boarder, Ben Player, chats waves, travel and how he got so darn good!!
1. Tell us about your sport and what you’ve achieved:
I am a bodyboarder. I know it's weird to introduce myself that way, but for me bodyboarding is the centre of my life so I thought it would only right that I introduce myself that way. To me Bodyboarding is my life and the reason I wake everyday. I began bodyboarding when I was 10 years old (25 years ago now) and was completely hooked from the get go and always wanted to be professional and to be the best I could be. In 2005 I won my first world title and since I then have won another two in 2007 and again last year.
2. What do you love about body boarding?:
I love the way it feels to ride a wave, the wind screaming in your ears as you tear down the wave. I have always gotten a buzz out of that, but I also I love the fact that there is no ceiling to bodyboarding, your performance is as good as your motivation. You always get back what you put in and you achieve small goals on a daily basis as a result. Every day is a chance to get better, fitter and stronger.
3. Tell us about your early years and how you got your start:
I started at Avalon beach when I was 10 years old around the same time as my older brother started to body board. I was pretty fortunate that my Mum - who had just split up from Dad - decided to move from Leichart (an hour from the beach) to the beach and introduce us to the beach lifestyle and wave riding on a variety of surf crafts but I had the most fun bodyboarding so I stuck with it and it was all I wanted to do.
4. Who has been your biggest support?:
My biggest supporter has been my Mum for sure, Mum always supported my dreams to be a professional bodyboarder. I am really lucky to have the opportunity to have my Mum supporting my dream. I often think about my peers who also had so much talent growing up but weren't offered the same support by their parents to try and chase their dreams and fell by the wayside. My brother is also one of my biggest supporters, he was always the person I looked up to, wanted to be like, I guess you could say that he was the biggest role model in my life.
5. What kind of commitment is required to go pro and get to where you are?:
There is a massive level of commitment to go pro, just like all professional sports, body boarding is very competitive. I often tell people that there is no such thing as a natural at anything and that if you want to be the best at something all you have to do is give it 110% commitment. That rule applies to any sport, school or work. If you want something enough you should be able to achieve it if you give it everything
6. Where are the best waves?:
There are so many surf spots around the world that I love to surf, and so many more that I have never surfed. There's a combination of things that create an amazing wave: strong swell, a perfect shaped reef, great winds and accessibility, and no two waves are ever the same. To me my favourite surf spot would have to be Padang Padang in Bali because it is the closest wave that I have ever seen to perfection and ticks all the boxes of what makes an amazing wave.
7. Favourite country bodyboarding has taken you to?:
I love Tahiti! It is easily the most beautiful place I have ever visited. Its beauty is in its simplicity. There's nothing manufactured about it, it's as the gods created it millions of years ago and it is perfect that way. The people in Tahiti are the most welcoming and friendly people in the world, they live simply and easily and truly appreciate the land they were born on.
8. What advice do you have for someone wanting to go pro in their sport?:
My best piece of advice I can give anyone can be crossed over into any other sport, and that is setting goals. To be the best, you need to set a goal which is the highest goal possible (for me it was winning a world title) and break that goal down into smaller achievable goals that you can aim toward on a daily basis. Sometimes you never get to the big goal as that goal might shift, but it doesn't matter as long as you are going in a positive direction and aiming toward something to keep you focused.
9. What's next for you?:
I'm in Santiago airport at the moment on my way back from the South American leg of the APB World Tour, I didn't get the results here that I wanted and have slid down the tally from first place to fourth place. So now I'm heading back home to apply the above advice to myself and break down how I'm going to win the world title this year and give those goals 110% of my focus. Can't stop, won't stop.