017: Ben Skinner/The Feeling of Surfing

“I don’t care what you ride or what it looks like. I want to know how it feels”.

In August 2017 I headed down to Newquay for a few days, and while I was there popped in to visit my guest for episode 017, UK surfer Ben Skinner.

Ben is one of the UK surfing’s most prominent and respected characters. He’s a world-class longboarder, with numerous World Championship podium places to his name; a respected and progressive shaper, and owner and operator of Skindog Surfboards with his best mate Jason Gray.

Above all, as you’ll hear, Ben is an advocate for UK surfing and the simple pleasures of surfing itself. He’s all about riding what you want and making surfing as inclusive as possible, something that comes across loud and clear in this chat.

Keep an ear out for:

Really enjoyed this one – Ben’s got stories and opinions for days – thanks for making me so welcome down there as well chaps. Enjoy!

Thanks to Roger Sharp for the pics as well.

If you only have five minutes…

Listen to this section - Ben on the current traditional-versus-progressive longboarding debate

Connect with Ben

Show Notes

  • At Ben’s factory at the Prow Park Newquay.
  • Ben’s partnership with Jason Gray.
  • Skindog Surfboards collab with Thunderbolt Technologies
  • Losing the world title – but to one of his own boards
  • How the collab will help take Skindog Surfboards to the next level.
  • Competing in Boardmasters – Ben’s hometurf comp
  • Ben’s early years surfing in Jersey.
  • The move to Cornwall when Ben was aged 10
  • Why he still competes for Jersey
  • The story behind Skinner’s Brewery
  • Ben’s years working as drayman – and sneaking the crew in for a few sneaky beers
  • The importance of his Mum & Dad as positive role models
  • Ben’s early competitive years as a shortboarder
  • ‘I get excited about competing’
  • The added pressure of surfing with your idols – and how he got over it.
  • Feeling like he didn’t deserve to be there
  • Ben’s views on the current progressive v traditional longboarding debate.
  • Surf Relik – the new longboard invitational Ben will be a part of.
  • Why Ben switched to longboarding
  • Choosing the board for the right conditions.
  • Ben’s take on the importance of the modern ‘ride anything‘ ethos
  • How Ben got into shaping – and his views on the culture of shaping.
  • The modern generation of UK surf shapers
  • How Ben balances all his different responsibilities – and how he’s learned to pick and choose his projects.
  • The importance and influence of family
  • Ben’s media life
  • The Paul O’Grady Show
  • Being approached to be a male model
  • Ben’s views on UK surfing right now
  • How the Olympics will affect surfing
  • The international perception of UK surfing
  • Ben Mondy’s article on Reubyn Ash.
  • ‘Surfing is booming. And its great’
  • The young Cornish up-and-comers – and how the local Boardriders clubs are building a solid foundation.
  • Ben’s advice for beginners and intermediates.
  • Why people surf boards too short for them.
  • ‘I just want to win a World Title’
  • Near misses – and rivalry from Antoine Delepro
  • What surfing means to Ben today.

People Mentioned

Places Mentioned

Films, companies, brands, associations mentioned