13 October, 2014 13 October, 2014

Catching Up With Benji Brand (Monster Pitstop Winner – Leg 2)

It’s been a mission trying to track down Benji Brand, the winner of the second leg of the Monster Energy Pitstop powered by Zigzag in association with O’Neill and iON Action Cameras. That’s because he’s been all over the globe this year, scoring incredible waves like this along the way:

Benji’s Leg 2 winner of the Monster Energy Pitstop.

We finally got hold of Benji after he had recovered from a case of flu in Spain, with Portugal and Hawaii next on the itinerary as he searches for his next perfect wave. While we had him on the line, we asked him to tell us a bit about his incredible winning ride captured at Namibia’s Skeleton Bay.

Benji scopes out perfection in Namibia.

ZIGZAG: Firstly, what a dreamy tube. Would you say it’s your best tube ever, or just the best tube you’ve ever caught on video?
BENJI: Yeah, that was definitely a special wave. There were no glitches and it carried on for ages! I actually had my best wave ever on that day, but it wasn’t this one. I took off on an absolutely perfect one with my GoPro recording, got a barrel for what I think was close to double as long as this one, then came out to see that my camera had turned off during the ride. It ran out of battery. Probably the most bitter sweet moment of my life.

You made it look easy. Was it just a case of holding your line through that barreling beast, or was it in fact trickier than it looked?
The whole wave was a really relaxing experience. It felt like the wave did most of the work for me. I was trying to not exit the barrel for as long as I could, which meant stalling and then racing in some parts. The barrels were quite a bit slower that day, because of the swell direction.

Depending on the swell direction, Skeleton Bay can fire or fizzle. Download this wallpaper.

It looks like you had the camera in your mouth for that clip. Have you ever spat it out halfway through a tube because you were screaming your lungs out in stoke?
(Laughs) Yeah, sometimes I feel the urge to scream – especially in Namibia. But no, I’ve never spat my camera out.

You’ve been to Skeleton Bay a couple of times now. Did it take you a while to figure out how to get those really long tubes there, or was it a case of just slotting right in?
I realized after my first trip there that the key is to never stall too much. You almost always have to race more than you think if you want to make the wave.

There doesn’t look like there was a drop of water out of place on that ride. Best day you’ve ever ridden there? How big was it?
I would say it was five feet on this day. It’s really hard to say what the best day ever was for me. I’m always amazed at what goes on there. Probably the best and most exhilarating day was that huge swell in May. The proportions were on another level.

Benji’s incredible ride captured in May, when it was bigger and chunkier.

You are into the final of the Monster Pitstop with a shot at the R30 000 grand prize. What do you reckon it is going to take to beat your entry?
Probably a really good swell at a really good barreling point break, but I hope it’s me who beats it! (laughs)

Speaking of which, you’re one of the few people to have surfed that crazy left in Angola as well, but you said before you can’t really compare the two?
Yeah, (Skeleton) is dark and ultra-thick. It’s such a heavy wave, you just have to go as fast as you can to make it. Angola’s even more perfect to be honest, because it’s more makeable.

Your brother and yourself have been to some epic locations over the past year or so. Any other places you have your eyes on and marked out on your atlas?
I’ve definitely had the best year of my life for scoring epic waves. I’m always keen to explore somewhere new, but haven’t marked anything yet. I find that opportunities come when I am open to them, so I know that there are many amazing waves out there that I am still going to visit and surf.

Benji and his brother Davey search for surf (above) and find it (below) in Angola.
Watch a video of their epic Angolan mission by clicking here>>

Good luck for the rest of the competition. Is there anything you want to add to psyche out or encourage your competition?
Thanks. Yes – Let the ocean be your inspiration.


The third leg of the Monster Energy Pitstop is underway. If you’d like to be in with a chance of winning this month’s R5000 hamper from O’Neill plus an iON Air Pro WiFi Lite worth R2500, then go to monsterpits.co.za and submit your clip.

The winner of this month’s leg will become the third of five finalists in line for the ‘Pit of the Year’ grand prize worth R30 000.

* Pit of the Year prize includes:
• R15 000 to the winning surfer
• R10 000 to the winning videographer
• An iON Air Pro 3 WiFi worth R5 000

Go to monsterpits.co.za for more info.


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