UK Top Gun and voice of the PWA Ben Proffitt has rolled into Australia for his off-season, trucking up and down the West Oz Coast with girlfriend Justyna, chasing wind and waves Aussie style. Bens’ laid back, down to earth, larrikin type character fits right in with the local Aussie windsurf culture.
So while Tourism Australia asks the world “where the bloody hell are ya?”
Gunfire asks Proffitt “what the bloody hell are ya doing here?”
So what made you come to Oz this year instead of Cape Town?
Well to be honest I’ve been to Cape Town for the last eight years, and after eight years although it’s a good place you still want a change and Australia’s always been a place I’ve really wanted to come and check out. There’s always a lot of talk about West Oz and I have my girlfriend over here, she’s working in Perth which was a little bit more of a pull, so it was a good time to do it.
I’m told you’ve been staying in some pretty nice hotels. How’s the accommodation here in Australia?
It’s been absolutely beautiful mate! It took me a while to get a van but since then it’s been luxury, we’ve got the double mattress in the back and stick all the kit underneath, it’s pretty hot but it’s alright you’ve always got a sea view!
What about the distance between spots, how’s the fuel bill going?
Well the fuels cheaper here than England but you drive three times as far. Aussies seem to have no problem driving fourteen hours from say Corronation down to Esperance or up North down to Margaret River, which is like saying its windy in the south of France let’s go down there for a few days!
So where have you sailed and how have the conditions been?
From what I’ve heard it hasn’t been a classic year. But we scored a few weeks up North before Christmas which was awesome, nothing massive, up to mast high but super fun and we’ve had some good jumping at Corros which is a sweet spot this time of year and were saving spots like Esperance and Margaret River down South for February, I’m told it’s better down there then so fingers crossed.
Have you done any of the comps over here?
Yea, the Lancelin Classic that everyone hears about in England was on last week, the forecast was terrible but I entered anyway so we could go to the party, which has legendary status itself, and in the end the conditions came through. I think the best man won in the waves, Jaeger Stone, absolutely killed us I’d have to say, he was ripping. Scotty Mckercher and Ben Severne also sailed well, so good turn out and I snuck in for third which I was pretty happy with. I managed to beg, borrow and steal enough race kit to do the marathon and I didn’t have my finest start, but I ended up twelfth, so it was a good laugh! At one point I was neck and neck with Dunkerbeck but I think once he realised it was the PWA commentator next to him he put the pedal down a bit!
So how have the locals treated you so far you?
What a bunch of miserable bastards! No no, everyone’s been really friendly, you hear stories about locals not wanting you to sail here but all the people we’ve met so far have been good crew and super friendly.
So do you reckon Oz is a pretty good place to send all the British Convicts?
Haha, yeah I wish the old grandad had done something a bit worse and I could of ended up growing up here with these conditions!
You’ve done a bit of sailing with Jaeger Stone, how do rate Australia’s best PWA wave prospect?
At the moment I think he’s studying pretty hard but when he does sail it doesn’t look like he needs much practice he just tears it up. Obviously I’ve seen him sail in the PWA and watching him charging through heats, his style is so vert and loose, always throwing the fins I think he’s one of the best guys style wise in the waves.
You’ve made the switch to Simmer boards recently what are your thoughts so far?
I haven’t been to a place that doesn’t suit them yet…. I’ve got a good range with me here, the Quantam and the Flywave in all sizes and I’m really into the Flywave 75, super loose and I think I’m sailing better on these boards, I don’t have to think about what’s under my feet too much which is what I want from a board.
Once we finally get rid of you, what’s the plan, another year of the PWA tour?
At the moment I’m waiting for confirmation of Cape Verde, but I’ve got a photo shoot in Maui in March and then the PWA tour for sure. In between I’ll be doing some British events and just gallivanting around the world having a top laugh!
Was your back-to-back BWA title win a fluke or are you planning on doing it again in 2012?
I think the BWA tour is one of the best tours in the world, it rivals the PWA tour, we have four really good venues, good jumping spots, good riding spots, so I would always do that tour because of the spots we go to. But I would love to win it again of course that’s the plan but we’ll just have to wait and see.
Why do reckon the PWA asked you to be part of their commentary team?
Oh who knows, what were they thinking! Well it came about when we had the idea of doing a split screen of heats for Boardseeker with commentating over it, and showing people what happens in the heats and then my name got thrown around for the PWA commentary. But seeing as I used to race and freestyle and obviously doing the waves now, I can sort of call all the disciplines and I actually really enjoy it. Plus I have been known to talk a bit!
Finally mate, do you think you might come back someday?
Well we’ve got a van so were pretty sorted now, and it’s lot easier after you’ve been here once and you know the lay and how it all works, so I would love to come back, I really like the place. Justynas’ applying for a Visa so if she gets that I reckon well be back to check in to a few more of your classy hotels!!!