"I Brought Six Boards And Broke Five Of Them" - Stab Mag

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“I Brought Six Boards And Broke Five Of Them”

This is how Benji Brand warmed up for his Backdoor Shootout win.

// Jul 7, 2023
Words by Holden Trnka
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Surfing is one of few “sports” where it’s not unlikely for casual participants to share moments with the best in the world. Unlike other Olympic inclusions, surfing doesn’t have private training arenas or secret facilities for the pros to hone their talents (wavepools/Patti Zhou aside).

Meaning, if you live a full-fledged surfing life, chances are you’ll meet many of your heroes.

Unfortunately, it sometimes sucks to meet your heroes.

Fortunately, it is an absolute pleasure to surf with Benji Brand.

In the past year, I’ve coincidentally encountered the soft-spoken South African in the water on two occasions — once in New Zealand, once in Indonesia.

Both times, the waves in question were absolutely firing, and Benji was sporting his trademark toothy grin while quietly stroking into the most ruthless double-ups nature can conjure.

“Yeah it’s pretty scary out here,” I remember him laughing, as we madly dashed over the shoulder of a heaving Sumbawan reef-gobbler. Moments later I watched as he casually flung himself in the lip on the biggest set of the day.

I quickly realized his acknowledgement of fear was more for my peace of mind than his own.

The edit above features nearly six minutes of Benji continuing his trend of casual vortex-threading, albeit with a touch more rubber than usual.

“The waves we were surfing were really heavy, it was a super humbling trip. I brought six boards and I broke five — I came home with one shortboard,” Benji laughs, as I call him at his current Tahitian outpost. “Connor Maguire was really cool, he actually lent me his 8’6 Pyzel for the last session of the video.”

Filmed just a few weeks before Benji’s $50k Backdoor Shootout win, the clip features a handful of Banzai-comparable lefts and a quiver of (now snapped) step-ups.

“It’s kind of like Hawaii style over there, and I always like a bit bigger boards. I took some 6’4s and a couple 6’6s.”

Despite the heavy water practice, Benji says the transition from rubber to rashie was less than ideal.

“The day I got back to Hawaii there was a big Pipe day and I actually felt super unprepared, I was so used to the rubber and the padding. Your senses are so muffled when you’re in a wetsuit and it’s freezing cold, so you just feel naked when you get back to Hawaii. It’s such a weird change.”

Judging by his Shootout win, it didn’t take Benji too long to adjust.

Click above for a lesson in tube savance, and join us in wondering what sorcery must be lurking in the ether of Benji’s A-clip harddrive. A new Snapt film is rumored to be in the works…

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