Our first interview in our series of new Coffee Break Interviews with Spongercity.com – What’s the new format ? It’s basically short interviews with pros that we’ll be doing regularly on the website with unusual questions that are not related to bodyboarding. We’ll ask questions about books, life, girls, whatever, but not bodyboarding-related questions or only weird ones… Different approach, different questions, the time of a coffee break basically… The rules are simple: The questions are not your classic ones and the last rider being interviewed chooses who’s gonna be interviewed after him (or her) !
Ben Player did us a favour and accepted to go first and try out our new Coffee Break Interview. So here you go:
THE COFFEE BREAK INTERVIEW – BEN PLAYER
Ben, i heard (and witnessed) your addiction to coffee, it’s got nothing to do with the name of our latest format of interviews on Sponegrcity.com (The Coffee Break) but i thought it was a good idea to interview a coffee addict first. Are you still addicted to coffee ? What’s your relationship to coffee ?
Haha! I do like a coffee mate. I’m not just addicted but I also really like the taste and the culture around coffee….not to mention the motivation it gives you. Sometimes you get so pooped after surfing so much and you need a little pick-me-up so you can surf again.
Have you got other addictions we can talk about ?
Nothing at all. I do really like to have clean feet though, I get really annoyed having sand on my feet.
Canggu (Indo) coffee after a surf or Sydney coffee after a night with a hottie ?
I love coffee in Sydney man, it’s so full of flavour, but of course you have to know where to go to get a good brew. Like all places you have the bad crap that gives you a head ache and the jitters. Rarely do I enjoy after a night with a hottie though, wish I did but they don’t like getting up at 6 before a surf : )
Maybe you’ve got a girlfriend at the moment and you can’t really answer this one ?
Nah, single at the moment and pretty happy being so. I was hunting around pretty hard there for a while but realised I’m not going to find comfort and a home by being with a girl, home and comfort needs to be a place I find with in myself.
Is there anything we don’t know about BP and should know ?
I have been sidetracked over the last two years with trying to work out what I want. Breaking up with my ex knocked me around a bit but I didn’t even know it until I went away to Bali to get some waves and get away from all the stress of being at home, but now I feel like I’m back on the right track and in a place that I want to be.
Mags are having a hard times nowadays in our “everything digital” world but niche magazines like bodyboarding mags seem to resist and adapt with higher quality mags, more pictures and better content, maybe less news because we can find them on the internet etc. What’s your take on these changes and evolution ?
I think there will always be a place for niche magazines. There’s a certain romance about having a magazine in your home, like it’s a part of you and every time you see it sitting there it reminds you of who and what you are.
You own or partly-own Movement Magazine, don’t you ? How is this working ? Who else owns the mag and how are decisions taken ?
I own all of the magazine and all profits I make from it go back into the sport to help it grow and get bigger. I’m stoked that I started it, I feel like I gave back to a sport and a community that gave me so much.
Do you read other mags ? Do you care what they do ?
Yeah, I read all of the boogie ones and there’s some really good ones out there. I love to see new and original ideas come through into the community. It inspired all of us.
Movement Mag just re-designed their website, did you have your say on this and the new design etc. ?
Murray Bell is the Art Director at the magazine and he’s always trying to push the creative boundaries of design and the magazine. You could say that between him and Matt Pike that they’re the magazine personified.
What books are you reading at the moment ? Anything you’d like to share ? Any good books ?
I’m not reading anything at the moment, I have Shantaram sitting on my bed side table wanting me to read it but I just can’t bring myself to it. That book is so thick, looks like all of the bibles put together it’s that thick.
Reading is a powerful thing and you can learn so much from books that it gives you confidence or makes you stronger and smarter somehow, do you agree ? Have you read something that inspired you in a good way like that ?
For sure, I love Bill Bryson’s book called the Short History of Everything. That definitely makes you feel smarted and more aware. I have read it three times and every time have learned a new thing from it.
What inspires you in general ?
To be the best I’d have to say.
You’re into design, and logo designs for your boards and other stuff, can you talk about it ?
Yeah, I love designing stuff. I always wanted to pursue either architecture or design or something. I love thinking of a concept and putting it down on paper and then into Illustrator. Pretty cool to make things.
Do you design stuff for Grand Flavour as well ?
I designed nearly all of the Winter 2012 range, some cool stuff in there.
Are you into fashion ? Do you pay attention to what you wear ? Is this important ?
For sure, but Chad Jackson designed the actual garments and he’s onto it. I love all of the new stuff for Winter. So cool.
Are pro-riders living better now than a few years ago ? Before the economy started to plunge into recession i felt like the bodyboarding industry was stronger and better than what i’ve seen before, am i wrong ? What do you reckon ?
I’d say it’s much the same. The core bodyboarding market still seems as strong as ever. You sacrifice other things like food or beer, you never sacrifice wave riding. It’s a part of living for us bodyboarders and if we didn’t do it we’d die.
In most of your interviews, in your own movie project (and once again in the latest Movement TV interview you did) you talk about your brother Toby and how you both surfed and pushed each others and how it influenced you to surf with your bro. How important was surfing with Toby and having that sort of rivalry for career ? Is Toby still influencing you today or giving you advice or do you guys still surf together quite often ?
I love surfing with Toby! He’s my best mate and brother. I wish he could do every trip with me all over the world. If I made more money I’d pay for him to come all around the world for sure.
Ok, done with serious questions, what about music ? What’s playing on your iPod now ?
I’ve been getting into that new M83 album lately…pretty inspired by the new Art of Flight movie by Travis Rice. Love it.
We’ve seen you with your headphones before heats in contests, what music would you listen to before a heat ?
I listen to what ever, but never anything too heavy or mean. YOu’ve just got to have fun really so what ever music is making you feel happy I listen to. Nothing in perticular.
And what would you be listening to while driving down to, let’s say black rock, and get amped before you go surf ?
Probably the same right now, I’m addicted to that Outro track by M83.
What pisses you off ?
Getting drooped in and snaked. Nothing burns me up more than that.
We’ve seen you pissed off when loosing a heat, hitting and punching your board. What was pissing you off during those moments ?
Losing pisses me off, especially when nature doesn’t even give you a chance and you get knocked because nothing goes your way. So annoying having that happen and there’s nothing you can do. Better I hit and punch my board than anyone else huh? Haha.
Perfect 5 foot black rock or perfect 8 foot padang ?
Padang for sure, way longer and more perfect. Both are amazing waves and both are stupidly crowded though so which ever is less crowded.
Talking about padang, you scored it super good a few weeks ago, where’s the footage ? When can we expect to be watching it ?
I went over with my friend Ed Saltau, he loves filming and documented the 5 days we scored good waves at Padang and Keramas. He’s editing a clip as we speak which will be called A Summer Holiday and it’s looking like it will be around 13 minutes long right now. It should be released around the end of this month if everything goes to plan.
If there’s something you could change in your surfing what would you change ?
Of course I have things I’m always working on but those things take time to perfect and you need certain waves to perfect them. I wish I could click my fingers and a perfect wave came through so I could do what I wanted when I wanted.
If there’s a place you could surf but have never surfed before, where would you go ?
I would love to visit China and try and find waves there. I’m pretty pumped on cold water surfing at the moment and I think there’s a heap of new frontiers to be explored and I want to spend some time over the next few years doing exactly that.
If you could do a non surf-related trip and visit a cool place on planet earth, which place would you go ?
I would love to go to India and check it all out, it looks amazing over there. So much culture in that country.
Is there a question we shouldn’t ask you ?
If there’s a question you’d love us to ask, what would it be ?
What’s the best board I’ve ridden over the last 10 years? My answer would be the Ben Player signature model by NMD….haha.
Did you really answer to the 2 previous questions well ?
Nah, not really.
Ok, sorry we’re annoying, you can ask us something if you want, is there anything you’d like to ask us ?
Where do you see the future of bodyboarding in 5 years time?
Spongercity: That’s a hard one ! To be honnest i [the Spongercity.com Editor speaking here] dont know. The bodyboarding industry goes up and down in cycles since ever but is pretty much staying the same which makes me think that not much will or could change within the next 5 years; but there’s one thing that remains and it’s the core of the industry, the core riders, the core contests, the good things stay, the bad things fade. We now have a very strong IBA tour which is fantastic, there are many good brands out there, and the bodyboarders in general are creative and smart people. The bodyboarding industry on the oher hand is pretty weak at times and lacks of exposure, investors, and simply money in general. It’s always been like that and will probably remain like that a little bit i reckon, but at least our sport stays core, people are here for the love of it, not for fame and money and it’s what make us all stronger and smarter.
And you? Where do you see the future of bodyboarding in 5 years time?
I see bodyboarding stepping into a whole new league in terms of professionalism and monetisation. The last few years has just been the start of the global unification of the sport, beyond this we will see more investment and growth from the companies within the sport. It’s an exciting time to be a professional bodyboarder and someone that has invested heavily in the sport I love.
Who should we interview next ? That’d be cool if you tell us who we should interview and from now on in the “coffee break” interviews we’ll try to interview to rider that the previous interviewed rider has designated. So.. who do we interview next ?
I think you should Interview Hubb! He likes a good coffee as well and goes nuts when he has one.
Cool ! I’ll contact Jeff as soon as possible then ! Thanks a lot Ben for taking the time to answer this very first Coffee Break interview. We hope you enjoyed it and hope our readers will digg this new format of interviews and learn more from the riders with this format.
Theo [Spongercity.com Editor]