Ripping With Age:Ben Player.
As part of our new series, we speak to some of the best to ever do it to see how age is affecting their surfing experience, and what insights they have to help us keep ripping as we get older.
First up, the greyhound, BP.
As you’ve gotten older, has your mindset changed at all in terms of your own expectations of your surfing performance?
B.P. I guess I have gotten more relaxed about it. I used to be a pretty regimented guy and always knew I probably didn’t have the most natural skill out of all of my peers, so I made up for it with determination. I used to set performance goals for every surf, nowadays, I am just chasing fun, happiness and well-being when I surf. But I’m not going to lie to you, I still get bummed when I blow a section or kook a wave.
What about in terms of your relationship with the ocean? Is it still about finding the heaviest ripable waves or have you found that you enjoy the surf in different ways as you’ve aged?
Like I said, I’m all about having fun these days. I don’t feel any pressure from anyone else these days, I only feel pressure that I apply to myself. So I don’t ever surf waves that I don’t want to surf. These days, I can’t think of anything worse that surfing one of those hyped spots with the hyped crowd with the hype media capturing it. I couldn’t think of anything worse. I’d rather surf something that is 10% as good and surf with less people.
Do you have any specific indicators that you think might tip you off in the future that you might not be physically or mentally able to take on waves heavy or challenging waves anymore?
Not at all, reactions are still as sharp as what they ever were, but I have noticed that injuries and fitness are starting to change. I get injured easier and my fitness is definitely worse, But that is probably because I’m not surfing as much and not so much about age.
What do you think is the single most important thing an individual can do as they get older to maintain a level of performance?
You have to increase your cross fitness to maintain your surf fitness. When I was younger, all I would have to do is surf, now a days I have to condition my muscles more to compensate for the change in my body.
Have you had any role models yourself that you have draw inspiration from or received wisdom from that has impacted on the way in which you’ve structured your life as you’ve aged?
Mike is always a good role model, he’s been through it all and is always willing to share how he negotiated it. Funny how he was the guy that got me inspired to be a professional bodyboarder, and is the guy that has assisted with advice after my career. Such a good role model. But to be honest, no two people story of ageing are the same as no two peoples responsibilities are the same. Take my responsibilities compared to Winny’s. I have one kid, he has a tribe, how can we compare how we negotiate the trails for being an ageing athlete? It is impossible to compare.