Age: 19 years old
Occupation: 1st year undergraduate at University Institute of Technologies (marketing) in Annecy(France)
Kayaking experience: I have been paddling since 1996 and it has taken me all over the Europe, Canada, Reunion Island, South America, and Australia.
Sponsors: Riot kayak, Wonderland-shop, Peak-uk, Liquidaddict, Evian water
Address: Les Clouz 74500 Vinzier FRANCE
Competition records (contests, championships, trips, etc):

6th for the European Championship in 2004 (junior)
1st Lyon River Festival 2003 and 2004 (junior)
French Championship in 2005 (senior)
3th for the Euro Cup in Prague 2005(senior)
Member of the Freestyle Team in 2004 and 2005
2nd Lyon River Festival 2006

KAYAKSURF.NET - It seems that you started kayaking in 2001... tell us how was it?
Summer 2001, I didn't know what I was doing for this summer. And a friend (Pierre) proposed me to spend my time in his rafting base. So, I begun to try rafting and hydro speed, I had a good level. Pierre recommends me to go at the local kayak club (thonon les bains). Here, I met a very great coach call Christophe Ortega or "tof", I have always some contact with him."Tof" taught me all the base to begin kayaking and the first freestyle move. He was more than a coach, for me he was a real brother. now he is living in reunion island! After one year only, I was passionate and I wanted to evolve in kayak freestyle. One day in 2002, I went to a clinic that was organised by Nicolas Chassing, at this time I heard about NICO but I didn't know him personally. Since this time he is also more than a friend but a brother. He taught me all the technique move in kayak freestyle, without him I think I would still be learning cartwheel. He allowed me to progress but also to manage my competitions. Now NICO is living in Zambezi. And in 2003, wonderland-shop is my first sponsors with Riot, I m very grateful of they.

Last year you were in the Coupe d'Europe à Prague... how did it run?
The last year I participated at the euro cup at Prague, the wave was a little wave, very good for all the new moves like phoenix-monkey, mc-nasty…I went in Prague with the French team and we had just to finish a stage in Germany. So, we had a good preparation. The qualification was good, and I finished first to the semi final, but finally I was 3 in final. It was a good final with all the best paddlers in Europe. The show was the first motivation for all, but nobody forgot the goal of this competition. Prague was a good party on the water and in the discotheque!!

And your ZAMBEZI TRIP last year... tell us how was it...
Zambezie is more than a simple kayak trip. It was like a dream become reality. The famous #12.B and commercial suicide! The river is exceptional. But all around the river is exceptional, the village, the falls, animals and the good party. I was the luck to go there, because Nicolas Chassing proposes me. And I was living in his home during the trip.but there are many lodge so don't hesitate. JUST take care, the crocodiles were not welcoming!!!

But, sincerely, I'm more curious about the "rencontre freestyle Océan Indien - kayak e wave-ski". What a great idea! Did you enjoy it?
The "recontre freestyle Océan Indien, kayak and wave-ski" is a little event in reunion island. The Saturday was a show with a big air, a boarder cross, and demonstration of kayak freestyle, wave-ski in the ocean wave. After a good evening party, there were border cross on a very beautiful river call "les roches" with 2 fall. This event was a friendly competition.

By your bio we can say that you are a white water paddler... do you think that your experience in white waters is good for the ocean waves?
I think that an ocean wave is a very good training for kayak freestyle. You can learn big moves like donkey flip. It's a real pleasure to paddle in the ocean the moves are biggest than white water. But, ocean wave is also a way to learn about risk like you can learn the risk in the white water. However, when I go to the new wave ocean spot, I ask for advice from the local paddlers before. Each kayak practice is good for your experience.

Did you ever participated in surf kayak competitions?
Yes. Last year I competed in the free wave contest with a few other France team members. I had a good feeling on the water, the French star ensure a good show. This was my first surf kayak competition. I think, I will come back this year.

What do you think about the evolution of surf kayaking in your country?
I think that the surf kayaking in France as around the world is on the good slop up. The boats as the Astro of riot, help paddlers to advanced and to try big move. In France our sport are less developed than us or Canada. But all the paddlers work to the greatness of kayaking!!

Do you practise other sports?
I practise snowboarding, skateboarding since I have 7 years old. With freestyle kayaking I found the same feeling that these sports.

And about kayaks... what is your favourite one(s) to surf?
My favourite boat is the flair 47 from riot kayak, and I wait the new boat Astro.

What was the biggest scare that you've had in the sea?
In reunion island because there coasts was beautiful but refill of shark.

Where do you usually surf (in your country and out-side)?
I paddle in Lyon and around.but I like training in Canada (Lachine).

Which was the best spot that you surfed in a kayak around the world?
My favourite's waves are big Joe in Canada, Lyon in France and #12.B in Zambezi.

Have you already paddled in Portugal?
Never, but I heard about the ocean wave, it looks good!

How do you describe a perfect wave to kayaksurf?
At the bottom a long flat water after a good wall and on the top a big moss!!

What is your favourite move?
I like clean blunt and big air moves

What are you hearing at this moment on your Ipod?
Patrice and Lyricson

Did you knew this site - www.kayaksurf.net - what do you think about it?
I know this web site, I think that it's very important that the paddlers try to develop kayaking by internet, it's a very good communication way. and
www.kayaksurf.net is a way to show what the kayaksurf is, and how to practice this sport.

Now that you try it, do you usually do kayaksurf?
Yes, particularly in the reunion island, where there are many competition, event and club in this little island.

Let us some suggestions to those who want to start kayak surfing...
If you like travel around the world, surf the wave and to be in contact with the element. kayak surf is for you so, takepleasure in this sport and the rest come after.

Thanks Benji! Keep riding!

Published - 10/06/06
Text - Luis Pedro Abreu
Photos - Timmy.Raaar + UK Riversguide + eauxvives.com + liquidaddict.com + NICO CHASSING


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