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Ben Gourichon

Our next rider is from a region in France that is known for it's oyster harvesting...

It's 4 districts are named after the seasons even though it has a mild climate and plenty of sunshine throughout the year.

It has also been referred to as a pearl of european tourism and is home to our next rider.

"Hey LIDLIFE, what’s up? My name is Ben Gourichon.

I’m 29 and I’m from Arcachon, it’s a beautiful little town next to the ocean in the SW of FRANCE we have the highest sand dunes of Europe with a couple good beaches around, we are an hour north of the world class beachbreaks of Hossegor.

I actually started bodyboarding pretty late, I was 17. I did a bit of surfing before but not much, I was at the time a judo black belt competing at a national level.

I’ve always been quite fascinated by action sports but it’s when I entered high school that my passion for bodyboarding started.

I met a bunch of new friends and they were all very into it (bodyboarding) and they introduced me to the sport, at that time my uncle gave me his old boogieboard, a pair of fins and a springsuit, this is how it all started!

I instantly fell in love with the sport, I didn’t know much of it at the time so I started documenting myself, watching videos, reading magazines,... I remember that summer before my first session with the guys, I was a bit stressed because I didn’t know how to correctly hold my board and how to go left or right. When I think about it, it makes me smile, I remember I somehow managed to go for a roll on my first day, at least what I thought was a roll haha…

My passion really kept on growing with the Damian King movie "The Joker".

I remember watching it 4 times a day at that time. This movie was the base of my learning process, It is still one of my fav movies of all time.

I remember listening to the soundtrack a lot when I was not able to watch the movie, Haha.

Then came the Tension crew with their crazy shenanigans, they were nuts ! I’ve always looked up to the Australians, for me they were setting the bar for modern bodyboarding. Nowdays I’m a big fan of power lines surfing like Mitch Rawlins or Mike Stewart and technical stylish surfing (Sam Bennett, Jono Bruce, Nick Gornall, Jacob Hein)

When I was younger I never really had a local break, I was pretty much moving around trying to find the best banks going… Now l settled myself in La Salie, it’s my homebreak, it’s really suitable for bodyboarding, it can get very good sometimes and when it’s not, there is always something to deal with, we have a good bodyboarding community here and everyone is pushing each other in the water, I love it.

I might say La Salie (home) is my favourite break in France even if I reckon Hossegor area has its moments !

In the world my favourite breaks are Pipeline and Cloud9.

My first board was the one my uncle gave me, It was a Manta Mirage 42 inch. That board was a real liner, haha 10cm thick and so wide, but I was stoked.

My high school crew, we were roaming up and down the coast in the search of uncrowded perfection as soon as we could.

When younger I competed in the regional and national tour. I had my moments but never really made the difference, then I started to work on weekends and it was over, however I’m planning a come back soon !

Professional bodyboarding you know what it is…you really have to be the best of the best, a lot of guys call themselves professional but are really not living off it 100%. I am lucky enough to have a good deal with French brand "OK Bodyboards", they are really supportive and they help me a lot with the gear and some of my travelling needs.

When I’m not abroad I am running a shop in my hometown. It’s also a French brand but of clothing, it’s called PULLIN, they got me covered and pay me honest wages.

Both brands have a very good attitude, they are really doing things in the good way, I mean producing local, not in Asia, doing quality stuff, advancing in a good direction. I feel lucky and proud having them backing me up.

Right now I am riding OK Bodyboards custom, they are the best boards in my opinion, they are totally handmade. The guys at OK Bodyboards help me create the boards that suit my surfing and they make me try different things so that I really understand what works for me. Most of my boards are based on a narrow 42inch / PP/ stringer/mesh combo, this is what I like to ride.

I feel very lucky to be able to work directly with a shaper because this is not often the case in the bodyboarding industry with most of the boards being manufactured in Asia. They also have a deal and got me covered with Reeflex Wetsuits, which is a really good brand own by my childhood idol Ryan Hardy.

I used to buy alot of Australian brands when younger, but now I’m 100% PULLIN, go check them out at

www.pull-in.com.

They have the most comfortable jeans ever, amongst other cool stuff.

I’m listening to a lot of music from different styles, I can’t deny thou, I really like rock music.

Bands that get me amped at the moment are The Strokes, Mumford and Sons, The War on drugs, Kings of Leon, Parcels,…I’m also a big fan of Queen.

(I play piano and had a band when younger called Les Barbises, you might still find some stuff from us on the interweb).

What’s your favourite memory of body boarding growing up?

That’s a tough one,…so many good memories. I’d say the best one was on my first surf trip to the Canaries, I was 18 and met Ryan Hardy at La Quemao, I remember being so stoked and so motivated to do well in the water, the waves were pumping and it was my first time surfing a reef break and a world class wave.

I love to travel that’s for sure, you really have to if you want to progress and surf different waves. In France we have almost only beachbreaks and most of them don’t hold more than 8ft so travelling becomes a necessity. We are lucky enough to be close to Portugal, that for me is one of the best destinations for bodyboarding. It has so much diversity in waves and offers so many swell/wind options so I like to spend some times there and in Spain too.

I almost go there twice every winter.

Then I travelled to the Canaries, the Azores Islands, Reunion Island, Australia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, The Philippines, Costa Rica, Panama, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Hawaii,…

My favourite destination is Hawaii for sure, the place is amazing, it helps me a lot to gain confidence and progress in my surfing. I love the vibe and the food there too. Mexico is also one of my favourites.

I’d love to travel to Tahiti, Namibia, Ireland and Brazil soon.

I’d like to give a special shout out to my girlfriend Eva, she’s been very supportive since we met and is following me in pretty much all my adventures and is filming me while I surf. You can have an overview of her work in our last edit of the Philippines. Come search the video on You Tube.....

I’d also like to thank OK Bodyboards for the opportunity they gave me, you can download their app on the Appstore if you want to build an order a fresh custom ride. Android app is soon to be released.

Finally you, LidLife bodyboarding for promoting the sport we all love so much.

Merci beaucoup !"

Photo credits include:

Eva Hilbert

Florian Alzay

Joshua Trotter

Kammeran Keola

Remi Dugoua

Tom Peitcollin

Wave Chaser Peralta

Ben, Thanks for taking part bro..... Loving following your adventures on Insta and looking forward to your comp comeback, good luck.....

Still a few more LidLife beach towels left inbox me to order or buy online either here or at The Bodyboard depot.

Spots still up for grabs with the Stevie Maher mentawais trips with Adam "Wingnut" Smith and Sammy Morretino

Last remaining spots with our boy Heriberto Sanchez in Mexico, hit him up....

Last few Wingnut limited edition boards grab yours before it's too late....

These interviews are brought to you in association with:

 

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