Local surf champ

2017-09-05 06:02
Brandon Benjamin won the Mercedes-Benz South African Surfing Championships.

Brandon Benjamin won the Mercedes-Benz South African Surfing Championships.

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A 22-year-old from Retreat was recently crowned the national men’s surfing ­champion.

Brandon Benjamin says he is grateful for this achievement and it goes to show that anyone can achieve anything no matter what your background is and where you come from as long as you put your mind to it.

“I always believed that I would be great. I have been surfing for years but I started winning in the last three years. I feel like I’m now wiser and have experience. I feel proud that I’m the first non-white to make it to the top. It’s really a great achievement and I want it to be a motivator for other people that they can do anything if they just believe,” he says.

Benjamin became the 52nd winner of the Mercedes-Benz South African Surfing Championships in East London by beating the defending five-time champion Greg Emslie in the four to five-foot surf.

Earlier this year, Benjamin also represented South Africa for the first time at the ISA World Surfing Games in France. He also led his Swot Surf Club to a historic victory in the national interclub championships.

“I’m overwhelmed and thankful for clinching the championship title. It really means a lot to me and it just put my club on the map,” he says.

Benjamin first caught the surfing world’s attention at the age of 12 while competing as a Western Province surfer.

“It all started when we had people from Lifestyle surfing shop come to our school. My mother signed me up for it. I never thought would do it. I was a skater but I never had surfing in mind. When I started surfing, I really enjoyed it. I have not looked back since then,” Benjamin says.

Over the years, he has worked his way up the SA championships surfing chain, reaching the 2015 u.20 finals and winning the u.20 silver medal last year.

His second place last year helped clinch the team event title for the Cape Town Surfriders team. He admits he was scared of waves.

“I have overcome that fear and I believe Jesus has been the source of my strength. I really enjoy being in the ocean. For me, it’s a getaway place. When I’m in the ocean this is where I get to be myself. In the ocean, I’m not judged by my skin colour, where I come from if I’m rich or poor or my background or the area I come from. I get to be myself and excel and I really enjoy that,” he says.

His wish is to give back to the community.

“I’m really grateful for the people who have helped me so I want to give back and help others from disadvantaged communities. There is a lot of talent; they need help to expose it,” he says


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