The Boards 'Hidden Talents' series catches up with some of the most talented young British windsurfers around, in this installment it's time to find out more from freestyler Ben Lee.
Name: Ben Lee
Years Windsurfing: 10
Favourite Discipline: Freestyle
Local Spot: Rutland and Grafham (inland) and Hunstanton for coastal sessions, soon to change to the south coast though.
Occupation: Recruitment Consultant for Marine Resources
Sponsors: Gaastra, Tabou, O'Shea Clothing, Studio Husky, Hytner Exhibitions
How did you get into windsurfing?
When I was about 14 I went on holiday with my parents to Greece and they suggested that I give windsurfing a go as I had been sailing for many years. I gave it ago and have been hooked ever since; I came back to the UK and my Dad kindly bought me some kit and it carried on from there.
What do your friends think of windsurfing?
HAHA that is a very good question! A lot of my friends now are windsurfers, but a few that I used to go to school with don't realise what you can do with the sport and how many different disciplines to the sport there are. They see me as just blasting around and falling in a lot, instead I blast around try and do some tricks... then fall in a lot.
What is your experience of competitions so far?
I have done a few of the UK competitions, I also took part in the EFPT events last year in France and the UK.
And your future aims for competition?
I hope to take part in all the EFPT and UK events this year and improve my overall ranking in both competitions
Have you always been into freestyle, if not when did you move across into this niche?
I started off with the racing on long boards, and did a small bit of T15, I also went on a few RYA training camps which were great for the racing side of the sport. I then left that and gave formula a go and did the inland series in the UK. I then got into just blasting around, until a few of us where I used to work started to talk about freestyle and I decided to give it ago. At first I didn't really get anywhere with it, then I went to Dahab to work in 2010 and I saw a massive improvement in my freestyle.
What is your most memorable moment in windsurfing?
One of the biggest moments I have had is competing on the EFPT and getting a ranking in Europe for my freestyle; seeing as I only started freestyle a few years ago and originally deciding to do the sport as a something to do at weekends.
Another massive moment for me was the opportunity that I had to travel to Brazil and windsurf Jeri for three months as well as working in Dahab for two years with Neilson.
What's next in store for you on and off the water?
Off the water I have just got a new job in Southampton, so I will be moving down there soon but it is still in the marine industry so I won't lose all contact with watersports.
On the water I just hope that I can get out whenever it is windy and do as much freestyle as I can, as well as going to Europe this year along side all the UK events
Find out more about Ben at www.benk109.com by Studio Husky and Ali Hardy.