The Ben 001 Interview.
By Dan Dobbin.
Up close she’s not what I expect.
Bedecked in a light blue nylon top, almost neon pink lipstick with matching nails, and a flashy, technicolor pencil skirt that screams “look at me”, she belies her advancing age.
Sure, if you’re really paying attention you can see the slight creases and discolourations of the skin that the passage of time and exposure to the elements gift us all. A figure that is full, yet somehow also streamlined, she exudes an aura of supreme understanding that despite her advancing age, she remains a figure of desire and lust.
Now seated across from her, I have to admit I’m nervous. Where do you start with a cultural icon that created the blueprint that has impact so many lives, yet for so many years has remained almost a recluse, hidden away and only whispered about in revered terms.
The best place to start I suppose is always at the beginning.
The relationship between her and Ben.
“Ben” she purrs, drawing back on a Peter Stuyvesant cigarette. “It always comes back to Ben”.
“Look, I try not to be bitter, especially after all these years, but it still burns you know, what happened between us”.
“And it was really such a small portion, such a small part of our existences that it shouldn’t matter, I mean, I know it shouldn’t matter, but it put us both on the paths we’re on today, so it does. That magnanimous magic that happened between us not only changed us, it changed lives all around the world”.
The “magnanimous magic” she refers to happened in the late 1980’s, a time when the United States was the global big swinging dick, the Hawaiians dominated the bodyboarding scene and the fluoro colours of beach cultural cool swept the world.
“I’m a product of my generation. I’m bright, sassy, in your face, raised on the ideals of American exceptionalism and manifest destiny. I want to be seen, to be noticed. Visually I make a statement with how I look. To this day neon and bright colours are my default palet.”
First meeting in California while Ben was competing on the P.S.S.A tour, the chemistry was there right from the start.
“He (Ben) was just so different from the guys I was used to, you know. It felt like from the time I was first born, I was waiting for something, someone, and with Ben I found it, like I was created just for him. He had that laidback, Hawaiian country vibe to him. Nothing worried him, he was so low key. Just so different from the ‘Greed is good’ money, money, money driven people I encountered in California at the time. I felt an instant connection to him you know”.
“Once we connected, that was it, we both fell deep! I swear he didn’t get off me for weeks at a time” she giggles with a devilish glint in her eye.
“Up at sunrise, head to the beach, just spending hours feeling each other out, exploring each other’s nuances, where we liked to pull and push, pushing each others limits. Making magic together. I was sure it couldn’t get any more intense. Then he took me back to his home in Hawaii. My God, things really kicked off then” she says breathlessly.
Others soon noticed the blooming relationship, paparazzi started staking out the pair’s every move as the relationship went up another notch again, channelling the powerful energy of a Hawaiian winter.
“We were splashed everywhere you know. Magazine covers, in depth articles, quick chats. We featured in some of the most iconic images of that time. That’s really where my star was born you know. What Ben and I did together over those few months paved the way for a whole new blueprint, a whole slew of others to follow in my footsteps. My look, my features, what Ben and I could do together, people desired what we had”.
As we know, those stars that burn most brightly, ultimately burn out the fastest.
“It was inevitable I suppose that what we had, that intensity couldn’t last. It was just the suddenness of it all that really shocked me, where my bitterness comes from. One day I hear Ben throw his gear in the car to head of to the beach, I waiting for him to come and scoop me in his arms and whisk me away for another perfect day of warm water and sunshine and then, nothing. Just like that he’s gone”.
She pauses, the pain of the moment still evident today.
“Of course, I soon hear later through the coconut telegraph that he’s got a newer, younger model underneath him. The really hurtful thing is that she looked almost identical to me, stole my look, my vibe and he’s been so easily seduced by it. After that it was just a succession of almost identical broads. Model after model. Ben most definitely had a type, and that type followed the blueprint I’d created”.
“After that I just avoided the limelight. Stayed in the shadow’s where I could. I was just too broken you know, to have so much attention, and then to be so publicly superseded like that, I just couldn’t face it. I was really in a dark place for a long, long time after that. Mentally I just felt abandoned, liked I’d been locked away in a storage shed or the deep recesses of a garage ”.
Still the legend of that time that they enjoyed together never really faded in the memories of those who became emotionally invested in what they had achieved.
“Once the internet and social media became a real thing, I began to hear whispers that people were talking about me again, about what Ben and I done, questions about where I was now. A friend of mine turned me on to the VBC page on Facebook and I became curious. I received a few DM’s from lovely blokes telling me how much they loved me and lusted after me when they were younger. It was a little unnerving, but kind of flattering at the same time, to still be appreciated and wanted”.
“It was only once I decided to come out and go public again that the attention really ramped up. It really was crazy the attention I received after all those years being hidden away. I wasn’t ready for it. I’ve seen some nasty bitches describing what happened to me as an “auction”, like I was selling myself to the highest bidder. It was nothing of the sort. I just put myself back out there on the open market to see what would happen, I was finally ready to move on from Ben”.
Now, with a new partner in a new country, life is different. Better.
“I’ve finally found somebody who appreciates me again. For who I am now. I know he loves me for who I am because he’s shown no desire to parade me around, to profit from our relationship. He’s had countless offers for a tell all, and rebuffed every one”.
So what does the future hold?
“Honestly, we’re just going to enjoy the quiet life together. Where we are now suites me to a tee. The waters are warm most of the year round, with reasonably gentle swells for us to play in when we go to the beach. I’m older now, I don’t bounce back like I used too. I do worry a little about the shark situation, nobody wants to get a big chunk taken out of them while they’re in the water that’s for sure”.
And the final word on Ben?
“I think the rest of his career he was just searching for that magic that we had, that chemistry, and he was ever quiet able to recreated it. What we had can’t be manufactured, it was organic. Natural. But I wish him all the happiness and the best for the future”.
“Our lives will always be intertwined in a special way because of the legacy and legend we made together, and I’ve made peace with that Although I do wish he’d shave that silly beard he’s had for years now, he looks like a little troll!”