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Interiew with Benny G

Hey guys, I hope the off-season's going well.  I had the opportunity to catch up with Ben Greenwood and ask him a bunch of questions about his upbringing in New England and his path to becoming a pro.

 

Check it out!

 

Where in New England did you grow up? Where did you ride?
-I grew up in Bolton, MA and spent the summers in NH riding up on Lake Contoocook and Lake Monomonac. I went to college in upstate NY and spent the summers on Loon Lake and Lake Placid.

How did you get your start wakeboarding?
-My family had a small jon boat that we used to waterski behind. When I learned how to slalom ski, all I wanted to do was try to jump the wakes. Then we saw a guy on our lake that had a Skurfer, and I was mesmerized. So for my 12th birthday, my parents got me one, and I was hooked ever since.

When did you know pursuing a pro wakeboarding career was something you could realistically do?
-I didn't really know it until I signed my first pro contract, to be honest. My original draw to making the move to Florida was having to get wakeboarding out of my system before getting a real job. Haha.


When did you move to Florida? What was that like?
- I moved down after I graduated from Skidmore College in 2000. It was awesome, some of my favorite memories are from that first year that I moved down and was able to ride everyday. Moving in with a rider the caliber of Keith Lyman and struggling to make ends meet, but devoting your life to the sport that you love, it doesn't get much better than that.

Do you have any advice for a New England kid who’s considering going pro?
-Yes, call me! Haha, I would definitely say that you would want to make sure you are making the right connections in the right way. All too often you see strong riders move to Florida, only to disappear without making too much noise. The guys who make it are the ones that continually push themselves, have good attitudes, don't expect or demand too much in return, and appreciate every opportunity you have. Being the "whole package" is more important than just landing whirly 5's up and down the lake.

What’s your favorite place to ride in New England?
-Hard to single out one specific place. I've had great times at all the lakes I've been to up there. I love how each lake has it's own community of riders that really try to grow the scene up there.

A few years ago, you and a couple other local pro riders came to New England and filmed for Alliance. What was it like coming back here to ride?
-It definitely tugged on the heart-strings a little bit. Keith and I have been all over the world due to wakeboarding, but then to return to the lakes that we would have learned our first wake jumps, or first backrolls, was pretty cool.


Did you ride in any local amateur contests?
-I did, I.N.T. baby!!! I remember being insanely nervous but I definitely met a lot of friends and riding buddies through competing in that series.


What’s it like riding for Liquid Force? It’s a pretty huge team compared to other companies, what role do you see yourself playing on the team?
-LF is definitely a large team and it was a huge honor when I was signed on. They took a chance on me and before I even had to chance to put the signature on the contract, I blew my knee out and was out for 6 months. They stuck with me and supported me as a "free-rider", rather than breathing down my neck over contest results.


Progression is something that drives wakeboarding and keeps it fun, what advice do you have for riders who want to progress consistently? Can you think of one thing that helped you most?
- I tell everyone that wants to get better the same thing; Ride with people who are better than you. If you are the best one around, then ride with people who do certain things better than you to improve on your weaknesses. Getting professional coaching from high-level riders who understand the art of coaching is another way to ensure progression in your own riding.

What did you like most about New England that isn’t related to Wakeboarding?
-I would have to say the Red Sox. Haha! Well except for the end of season melt down this year, but hey, that is what makes us Red Sox fans.

At the New Shred, we’re always looking for good wake video suggestions to keep people motivated during the long winter months. What are your favorite wake films?
-Favorite of all times would have to be, Natural Born Thrillaz, The Truth, Boombox, Shafted, Butter Effect. Man there are a lot that are my favorite, haha.

What’s your favorite trick to do? What about to watch someone else do?
- To do, that wrapped backside heelside mute 540 has been the one I look forward to doing the most lately.
- To watch, Lyman's switch melan front flip 180.


In a place like New England, the off-season lasts a long time, what did you do for off-season training before you moved to Florida?
-I was involved with all sorts of organized sports throughout high school and college, with mixing in trips to the mountains to go skiing. Now I am able to ride through the winter, and spend time in the gym to stay flexible and injury-free.

What three bands have you been listening to most lately?
- I'm really digging the Temper Trap station on Pandora lately. I have a very eclectic taste in music, so I might listen to M83 one second, and some Lil' Wayne remix the next. haha!

What are the best films you’ve seen in the past couple months?
-Black Swan, thought I would hate it, but it is really well done. Horrible Bosses and Bridesmaids were hilarious. Paranormal Activity 3 definitely made me put my hands over my eyes. Haha!

 

If you want to ride with Ben, e-mail me at ciardellia@gmail.com