About Ben Wilson
Ben Wilson, big-wave kitesurfer and co-founder of BWSurf, is now sharing his skills through a range of elite instructional programs. Whether you’re after the trip of a lifetime or your very own private tuition, Ben will push you to new heights.
Having taught over 5,000 kiters during his 10years as an elite instructor, Ben has a coaching package to help progress your riding, no matter your level or location. Join a camp in Fiji, Australia or Mexico or arrange for Private Coaching at your local beach. Whatever your preference, Ben can help you reach your kiting potential!
A pioneer of the sport, Ben was one of the first to use a surfboard in harmony with a kite and he continues to drive the sport in new directions. In 2011, Ben broke a world record, riding the largest wave ever kitesurfed at Cloudbreak, Fiji. He continues to chase big swell and believes that the largest waves can only be ridden with a kite. For Ben, kitesurfing is the ultimate extension of surfing, providing the opportunity to enjoy even blown out onshore conditions.
"Ben's coaching is delivered professionally and complete with video and photo analysis. He focuses on the points to improve with step-by-step, concrete explanations. Perfect didactic!" – Andreas, 2014.
"Ben’s coaching programs are fun and very well organised and structured with a clear definition of individual learning targets. He provides constant feedback during the training sessions and daily video feedback. His style is very clear and relaxed, obviously based on a huge amount of experience." – Peter, 2014
"I met Ben earlier this year (spring 2014). He enlightened me on my toeside strapless kitesurfing within a talk on the beach. Ben gave me fundamental keys, tips and tricks to help me adjust to kiting in waves as I'm rather new to kitesurfing. Then when our windy season picked up in the fall, my buddy was kiting in the waves with me and the 1st thing he said was how night/day my riding progressed - not just my stance but overall my approach and confidence. He said I went from kooky and wobbly to focused and attacking... BIG THANK YOU BEN.. I hear your voice in my head every time I grab my board and hit the surf! Really look forward to what other advances one could benefit from a online course. He is clear and simply a great instructor and great motivator! I'm super stoked every time I pump up my kite!" - Luke, 2014
KITESURFING FOR SURFERS
First and foremost, I'm passionate about spending time in the ocean. Whether that's surfing, fishing or kiting I don't really care, as long as I'm out there. But there's nothing I love more than seeing surfers embrace kiting, let go of their preconceptions and just embrace being able to surf in windy conditions. Each year I'm lucky enough to hang out on Namotu Island during the Fiji Pro and each year I manage to convince a couple of the pro surfers to give it a go.
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TEACHING MICK FANNING THE BASICS ON NAMOTU ISLAND DURING THE FIJI PRO 2015
JOSH KERR HAD HIS FIRST LESSON IN 2016 AND HAS BEEN PRACTISING EVER SINCE (HE HAS RECORD FOR FASTEST LEARNER)
IN THE BEGINNING, BEFORE THERE WAS BWSURF
I first met Robby Naish and Pete Cabrinha back in the early days on Namotu Island around 1999 when I was working as the chef. I became good mates with these guys and they eventually taught me how to kite. The afternoons in Fiji were always windy and perfect for kiting but horrible for surfing. It made sense to learn. Back then everyone was just trying to figure it all out and there were plenty of crazy incidents between wrapping lines on canoes and dodgy near misses with Waqa’s beachside bar. For the surfers watching it was quite a spectacle, there was always something going wrong whenever we were around.
One night stands out in particular - Robby and I were on Namotu at the end of the millennium when Quicksilver had reserved both Namotu and Tavarua Islands. It was a huge New Year’s event, there were bands and lots going on, and the party was supposed to happen on Namotu but at the last minute they switched the venue to Tavarua. We decided to stay on Namotu and throw our own party with Quicksilver’s champagne, food and fireworks. We ended up setting off about $10,000 worth of fireworks, but one guy who was with us very nearly blew his arm off! In the end he was OK but he had to get out of there pretty fast. I guess that’s why everyone called it “No-Rules Namotu.” But aside from all that (or maybe because of that), those guys were pretty inspiring. I grew up idolising them and they were the driving force behind my decision to take up kiting professionally.
I spent about six years as a professional freestyle kiteboarder, going all around the world to flat-water spots. It was a great ride but one day I felt like I wasn’t doing what I loved anymore. I’d become so busy chasing windy freestyle spots that I wasn’t even surfing. Kiteboarding had lost its shine and I wanted to get back to Namotu. Back to the ocean and the waves. I started to think kiteboarding wasn’t really for me.
It was then I had a breakout moment that took me back to the start. Back to the fun and freedom of those first sessions on Namotu. My friend Mauricio Abreu told me he’d had a few good sessions on his surfboard, so Jeff Tobias and I grabbed ours and headed out. The waves were pretty small and the wind was light but everything clicked. I started going back to Namotu - which is really like a second home to me - and from then on everything was focussed on that surf vision. I knew this had to be the future for me, and I hoped for the sport at large.
In those early days, one of the most defining moments happened at the Zoo, a massive closeout shore break in Western Australia. We had some incredible sessions there charging these crazy waves and the photos received plenty of airtime. It was then we started to think there was real potential in surf-style. The other big breakthrough was during one of the ASP comps in Fiji. There was a session Ben Koptke shot at Namotu Lefts that ended up on four magazine covers. Nobody had seen people kiting on surfboards before and after that the rest was history.
Ever since I started kiting on my surfboard my passion has been to bridge that gap between the two sports. I want to see more surfers embracing kiting and coming to the realisation that the kite allows them to surf more waves in more conditions with the bonus of punting crazy tricks. For me there’s nothing like being in the ocean and the waves and I think a lot of people out there are the same.
Words from The Kiteboarder's 2015 article, Revolutions.
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