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Benjamin Mark Peasley of Choice Homes the presenting Sponsors of the ABA 2018 pro tour.

In Ben's own words

"Why I got into the sport –

I got into the sport mid - 1991, I had played all the ball sports that my Dad was extremely good at and felt like I was always a little bit in his shadow, now that’s being far too politically correct, I pretty much sucked at whatever sport he excelled at!

At the time, I was already collecting bodyboarding and surfing magazines to cut out all the cool logos to place over my school books and posters on my walls when my Mum suggested I simply “put down the scissors and bluetac… just go and surf!”

After riding really old foamie bodyboards and a beaten-up yellow thruster surfboard whenever I had the chance I got wind of a 3 day surf camp held at Tallebudgera Sport and Recreation facility here on the Gold Coast.

I still remember the flyer, it had a picture of bodyboarding two time Australian champ Paul Barnard on it and the fateful two boxes, are you a bodyboarder or surfer (choose one)?

So, I chose bodyboarding, scored an early Christmas present of a new board, fins thanks to the support of Mum and Dan and went off to camp where I met the guy from the flyer Paul Barnard and his talented offsider Adam McNamara.

The way Barney and Adam Mac carried themselves in and out of the water at that camp set the benchmark of what was cool.

I immediately picked up that bodyboarding was way more of a humbling and exciting sport and at the time stand up surfing to me seemed extremely stagnant and a little lost. Yes, there was absolutely a backlash from stand up surfers about bodyboarders, stemming from the sport’s unprecedented momentum.

The good surfers knew the deal, although they may not like to personally bodyboard themselves at least they respected the critical wave riding that was going on at the time, the respect they gave Barney and Adam Mac was rock solid.

I went on to attend three camps and would work tirelessly on the techniques and styles of my heroes at every opportunity. Perhaps it was the consistency of attending the camps but at the age of 15 I fell into the role of becoming Australia’s youngest Level 1 Bodyboard Coach and began passing on the knowledge.

I’ve always had a love for business so between the ages of 15 and 19 I had all the Tourist Parks signed up for my coaching clinics plus weekly coaching at Tweed River Highschool and of course coaching at the 3 day camps at Tallebudgera and Lake Ainsworth, near Ballina in Northern New South Wales.

Being an active competitor in the sport was what everyone was doing at the time, but the coaching aspect of what I was doing attracted the sponsors. Many thanks to Manta Bodyboards and later on Ocean and Earth for jumping on board with all the equipment I needed to run my coaching plus really cool boards for myself.

I became the area sales representative for Fox Surfsuits and Ocean and Earth in the late 90’s to the turn of the century. I was able to influence the predominately surfer brands and build a rock-solid team of riders, guys like Mark Bunyan, Shannon Deane, Nick and Simon Ormerod, Sam Badans, Adam Benwell the remarkable list went on as the team provided the hype and the sales for the brands, it was seriously good times for all.

With the old Coolangatta Bodyboard Club finishing up leaving no local competition, a few of us Duranbah locals reignited the bodyboard club scene around this time and created Bordersouth Bodyboard club. The club was an absolute powerhouse of competitive talent at the time, if you were a competitive bodyboarder of that vintage you knew of our club and with Riptide bodyboarding mag just up the road we always attracted the travelling national and international pros to come and surf D’bah with three other guys out.

As my riding improved I began doing some of the Australian Pro Tour events, a semi final here, a quarter final there which was really rewarding as a lot of these guys were my idols and at the time the tour attracted international riders like Kyle Maligro and Jeff Hubbard to name the bigger names.

The tour used to run a road show tour which is basically networking with local schools and the community at essentially a grass roots level before the events took place to ensure maximum bums on seats at the actual events. It was crazy back then, with big sponsors like Foxtel involved and the industry itself having money to spend, you could see the difference good marketing made for the tour.

Then something changed, I ticked the ‘month in Hawaii’ goal off the bucket list had a great time with amazing waves but came home and got interested in other passions. I pretty much stopped Bodyboarding mid way through a terribly inconsistent spring and supplemented the competitive side of me by focusing on Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and the MMA scene. Back then MMA was called Vale Tudo or No Rules fighting and didn’t have the following it does today. Just like bodyboarding had done, training and competing took over my life, it was an absolute rush and I had some really good times!

Fast forward 15 years later and I was back on the North Shore to elope with my ‘wife to be’ Anna with just my kids Lola and Benson looking on.

I was still training Muay Thai and grappling but was really beginning to pick up a bunch of niggling injuries, my body was telling me I needed a break, I just hadn’t realised it.

Then out of nowhere, literally my first wave back on the North Shore, I had the absolute time of my life, smiling from ear to ear, it was like the 15 years that had passed had disappeared and I was back frothing as hard as ever on bodyboarding, something my wife tells me she didn’t sign up for!

That was almost two years ago that I took bodyboarding back up and this year was my first real go at the competitive side of things. I followed the Australian Pro Tour for 4/5 stops and eventually made 9th out of the 80 competitors that compete on the tour, (my goal was top 10). I competed in the second event of the state titles at Duranbah beach and made the finals of Opens and Dropknee with a 3rd and a 2nd place respectfully, also picked up a 7th and a 9th in the Surfing Australia Australian Titles before jetting off the South Sumatra for a couple of week in August. One may argue I’ve had a more successful year than in my late teens/ early 20’s, I tend to agree, but I’m just having fun, nothing more, nothing less.

What drives me –

So, my current goal is to have fun and become a better version of myself both in and out of the water, to give more than I receive, be a good role model for my kids and the next generation.

Essentially, I’ve picked apart my 2017 Aussie Pro Tour performances and know exactly what I need to work on to bring out my best for next year, whether I win or lose a heat is irrelevant, I just want to experience the competitive side of things for as long as I can and plan on doing it for as long as it’s fun. The kids are already picking up on the good vibes so they will jump on board whenever they like.

I have a few idols, my Dad, Troy my cousin that owns Choice Homes, Barney, my coaches Mark Pease and Vincent Perry from the Martial Arts days and some interesting cats I follow online like Joe Rogan the UFC colour commentator/ comedian and Hans Molenkamp, the marketing genius behind Monster Energy and a bunch of other brands.

Choice Homes 2018 involvement –

Choice is a family owned building company that will be celebrating 25 years of construction on the coast next year. It was my uncle and aunty that started the business which is now run by my cousin Troy who has steered the company to great success since taking the reins in 2004. I’ve celebrated 12 plus years with the company, previously in sales and now 100% driving the marketing for the past 5 or so exciting years.

Choice brings to the table financial backing to firstly increase the prize money of each event, expand the divisions to include woman’s and Dropknee divisions and focus on the youth and community involvement to generate interest in the events and the sport.

Choice also brings to the table additional marketing and public relations to the ABA Tour, the team has slotted in perfectly with a launch that generated mainstream exposure from Channel 7 and Channel 9. In less than 24 hrs on from 7 News Gold Coast posting on their Facebook page -

• 14K Views

• 73 Shares

• 200 Likes

• 30 Comments

• 3rd best performing story in that timeframe behind the V8’s coming to town and the Animal Welfare League

For more information on the launch please head over to my Instagram page @bennybanannas.

You can also follow me on Facebook for regular updates including this weekends Drop knee sessions.

I would like to acknowledge the brands that have got behind me at the ripe old age of 38 and supported me on my journey back, many thanks goes to Hubboards, Intricate Shockwave, SK Nutrition, UVSU.global and Choice Homes."

Big thanks to Ben who is an inspiration to all of us getting back on the contest scene at 38, what a hero!

Such an inspirational story, yet another example of how Bodyboarding affects and changes people's lives.

The fact that Ben both competes and has encouraged Choice Homes to help grow the Australian Contest scene, a lot of people and companies could learn from this.

If you have enjoyed this feature and others please get in touch, Lid Life Bodyboarding blogs are starting to gather speed now, we have some big names lined up but we also want to keep telling the grass routes stories.

After all it's us guys that keep the industry moving forward.

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