Surfer of the Month – April 2010

April 20, 2010 by  
Filed under Surfer of the Month

Ben Thompson with Jackie Richardson

As I write this article, St. Patrick’s Day is behind us, Spring Madness is in full swing, and Spring Breaks are getting under way.  All the surfers I come in contact with are searching for some good waves that were not present here during the winter months.

With spring here, the Tybee Island surf season will definitely be in session.  I have had the privilege for the past eight years to meet some of the finest young men and women who surf in our Georgia Eastern Surfing Association district.  I have watched them grow up and move out of our community.  I am always saddened to see them go, but in most cases happy to see them living out their dreams.

This is very true of the April Surfer of the month, Ben Thompson.  First of all, let me say his parents Georgia and Jonny Thompson should be proud of the great job they have done raising Ben.  Ben is a smart, funny, intelligent, and caring individual. In July he will be moving to California to go to school, pursue a career in music, and surf everyday!  Although I am happy for Ben, our whole family will sorely miss him, especially our son, Josh, for whom he has been such a good influence and friend.

Ben was born in Savannah, Georgia in 1989.  He has been surfing for about 10 years.  His dad started him surfing early.  His favorite board is a Webber.  He jokingly says, “My only board…haha.  It gets the job done.”

Ben started surfing on Tybee Island. Then he surfed on a regular basis in Florida.  He has been up and down the east coast, California, Costa Rica, and Puerto Rico surfing.  He says, “My favorite place to surf is this fun little point break in Topanga Beach, California.  It’s a really mellow, fun break and the views from the ocean are pretty amazing.”

I always ask the surfers what is special about surfing at Tybee Island.  Ben answered, “There’s nothing quite like the comfort of surfing your home break.  I love the community, surfing with friends, and when a cat-5 storm rolls through, there are few places I’d rather be.”  His surf buddies are his dad, Atsushi, Josh, Leland, Brad, Austin, Benji, Toby, Gary, Cat, Jere, Randall, Megan, Vaughan……

Last April, a lot of us from Georgia including myself, went to Puerto Rico for the Mid Atlantic Regionals.  Ben said of that trip, “The most fun I’ve had on a surf trip was with the Durtee Militia (Jonny Thompson, Josh Richardson, and Leland Lively) in Puerto Rico.  The waves didn’t stay good the whole time, but we still had a blast and it was an experience that I’ll never forget.”

All of us in the surfing community have watched Ben grow up surfing.  He has been a good competitor every year, always among the top ranked.  This year, however, he won 1st Place in the Men’s division of the Georgia Eastern Surfing Association.  A much deserved award for him.  I asked Ben who has been his mentor and he said, “Dad has definitely been my mentor growing up surfing.  He got me started, taught me everything he knows, and has taken me on trips all over.  But now he’s getting old and I’m schoolin’ him. HA!”

Ben loves being outdoors.  Ben’s other interests besides surfing are music, hiking, kayaking, camping, biking, swimming, fishing, and traveling the world.

As I have said on many occasions in this column, we have many colorful, interesting characters who surf at Tybee Island.  Ben is no exception.  On any Sunday evening during the next few months, you might just catch Ben on the television show, “Ruby,” on Style network.

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