New Zealand Surfing - - Introducing -

Born and raised in Aus­tralia to a kiwi fa­ther and Aus­tralian mum, Benny had al­ways wanted to re­turn to the places his fa­ther had spo­ken so fondly of, so in 1968 along with Bob Rasby, Benny hit the Bom­bay hills and hav­ing to de­cide be­tween the West or East Coast, the two headed for Gis­borne where Benny dug his feet in. With a back­ground in surf­board pro­duc­tion Benny came into Gis­borne and found a need for a lo­cal man­u­fac­turer as Bob Davies had moved to the Mount, so in 68 Benny went into part­ner­ship in Surf­boards Gis­borne which he ran for 22 years. While Benny was first a surfer like many surfers of that era he was heav­ily in­volved in surf life­sav­ing and was the 1971 NZ Iron­man Cham­pion and went on to rep­re­sent NZ at The World Iron­man Cham­pi­onships in Vic­to­ria Aus­tralia. In 1971 Benny placed 3rd at the Na­tional Champs in New Ply­mouth which qual­i­fied him for the NZ Team who went to the World Champs in San Diego in 72. In 1975 Benny won the Na­tional Champs held in Gis­borne which by way of win­ning got him an in­vite to com­pete in the Smirnoff event at Sun­set Beach, Hawaii late 1975. Benny im­pressed with his charg­ing and had only just re­turned home when he was called up by con­test or­gan­is­ers in Hawaii and in­vited back to com­pete in the Duke event held at Waimea Bay and the World Cup of Surf­ing held at Haleiwa. At the time, this was the equiv­a­lent of the modern-day Triple Crown. Benny surfed Waimea in round 1 of the Duke and pro­gressed be­fore Waimea com­pletely closed out at 30 feet plus, and the event was shifted to 18-20 Makaha where Benny surfed against Jeff Hack­man and lost. At the World Cup at Haleiwa Benny fin­ished 12th. Benny be­gan to ex­pand his in­ter­ests and in 1977 won the NZ Knee­board Na­tional Ti­tle, and be­gan to pad­dle kayaks. His pad­dling saw him in the mix for the 1980 Moscow Olympics in the Kayak be­fore the NZ govern­ment boy­cotted the games. Benny re­turned to the Olympic scene in 1984 and 1988 as coach of the NZ Kayak Team that was re­spon­si­ble for the kiwi’s great­est haul at the Olympics win­ning 4 golds. Benny is still ac­tively surf­ing at 70 years old, and di­vides his time be­tween Cabarita in Oz and Gis­borne. He also still trav­els the world surf­ing and ev­ery sea­son he vis­its G-Land once or twice and is cred­ited with be­ing the el­dest surfer to take on the leg­endary reef.

ABOVE LEFT: The faces say it all, Benny grooms his chin pon­der­ing how he got in this po­si­tion, Michael Ho looks like he’s about to cry and Barry Kana­ia­puni (with board) looks a lit­tle wor­ried, out in front of them Waimea is 30 foot + close­outs.

TOP AND BOT­TOM IN­SETS: Benny with guns and his whip Sun­set Beach 75.

SE­QUENCE RIGHT: The wrap around power hack that blew minds across the world is still a sight to be­hold. Photo: Cory

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.