2019 ISA World Champion Ben Carpentier: “I’m always dreaming about the next swell”

When he is not SUP surfing, he’s dreaming about it! We caught up with Starboard rider and new ISA SUP Surf world Champion Benoit Carpentier aka “Ben” after his victory in El Salvador !

Hi Benoit, how do you feel after winning the title in El Salvador?

I’m over the moon right now, what an amazing feeling to be on top of the world, been dreaming of that moment for so long! It’s already been 2 weeks since I won and I’m still psyched up and excited! It was so intense during the ultimate minutes and seconds of the final: nerve breaking like never ever!! I’ll need some time to come back to a normal mood and state of mind.

What is the most important in SUP Surfing? Technique or Instinct?

Both really matter actually! First of all, surfing is all about getting your mind and body sync with the Ocean. So you have to understand it deep to make good choices. And for that there is no secret: you have to spend as much time as possible playing in & on it!

Then you need to understand your sport(s) and to know yourself: in brief what and how the others are performing and what and why you are surfing like you are! So you need to watch a lot of content and get critical about what you see!
And for that, It’s better to be well surrounded to confront your viewpoint to others… the process makes you progress!!
Regarding training, in my mind, I truly think you don’t have to do any specific kinds of stuff. It’s always been really clear to me that I’ll be successful if I do what I love the most at the moment I’d love to do it.

For me, it’s all about having fun and enjoying the moment to keep the fire and stoke level high every day! My personal recipe is really simple: listen to my heart and choose the good tool to have fun and enjoy the journey!
Most of my physical activities are done in the Ocean but I’m also surrounded by friends doing various sports and activities that I love to practice once upon the time: sailing, climbing, play badminton, ping pong or tennis are always a lot of fun and definitely great workout!

When I’m back home after several weeks or month on the road I also love to celebrate and party with my friends. With some, we founded a group called “La Lingerie”: organizing parties, mixing music, inviting famous DJ’s and gathering friends is also a lot of fun and a great way to stay creative and avoid being surfed-out by only doing that!!

I’m blessed that Starboard has supported me for several years and has kind of the same philosophy of waterman/multi-craft approach of enjoying the ocean!

You are on the Starboard Team… what is your favourite SUP board?

That’s a really hard one ha-ha! So many good boards, but if I had to choose I would go for the 9.0×28 Long SUP!
From knee-high to triple-overhead I know that I’ll have a blast on it: nose riding at high speed or full-length rail carving, this board is just the ultimate surfboard to have ~ and I also love to Tandem on it!

It seems like an interesting era on the APP World Tour right now. How does it feel from your perspective?

The Tour has improved a lot this year for sure, Tristan Boxford and his staff are working so hard for the sport, the athletes and it’s starting to pay! More and more athletes are coming for the events, the level has never been that high and the field is stacked: nearly every heat is tough right now! This year has been amazing so far: great locations, sick webcasts & epics battles! I feel that the sport is really in a great & growing epoch which really motivates me to work hard and keep improving!

Alongside the APP the ISA has shown this year that SUP & Paddleboard are not just something they don’t take seriously. When you see, live, the quality of the event ran in El Salvador it’s obvious that Stand Up Paddle and Paddleboard are not the fifth wheel of the cart!! Not to mention the inclusion in the Pan American Games… I feel that the ISA has great and achievable goals for our sport and I’m 100% behind them to make our dreams reality!

What excites you the most about the 2020 season?

Definitely all the dreamy destinations I will head to and people I’ll meet along the way, so much to enjoy, to discover, to explore!

What do you think about when you’re sitting out there waiting for waves in between sets?

Depends on the mood and if I’m in a final of competition or not. Most of the time I’m really focused on the horizon, trying to read the sets better than my fellow competitors so that I’ll make the best strategic decision regarding the current heat situation!

When there is not that much pressure I’m usually thinking about life, how lucky I can be!

Are there any plans or projects that have been keeping you awake at night?

Wow, most of the time that’s tough to keep me awake at night ha-ha: most of the time I’m too tired of my day of action so my sleep is kind of deep… dreaming about next swell and how I’m going to score!!
… but sometimes yep nighttime take over the day. Mostly for two reasons: or I’m on “party mode”, organizing it or living it (Carpe Diem, you have only one life to enjoy) or my brother convinced me for a crazy night surfing session!!

What’s been your favourite competition to date?

Definitely that last one in El Salvador, not only because I won, but ’cause of the people I met during the entire trip and as well the organization which was just perfect.
All was present: great team of friends, sick waves, perfect organization, new area to explore, people to meet… what more can you ask for?

Where did the biggest lessons come from?

From mistakes. Mistakes are something that hit you so bad that you don’t want to make them anymore so you reflect and how not to make them anymore!
I feel It’s more important to learn that mistakes are necessary than to fear and avoid them!!

What’s the best country to visit for a combination of awesome waves and a great time out of the water, too?

Another hard one ha-ha!
For a great time all you need is a good team of friends then if you really wanna score the best waves of your life, definitely the Mentawai island in Indonesia.
Definitely on my bucket list!!
Closer from home (easier & cheaper to reach with a good crew of friends): Morocco and Canary Islands are not bad choices!

Even when you’re not on Tour, it seems like you are constantly competing with your brothers and your friends. Who do you think pushes you the most?

I’ve always been like that, always so competitive, any sports I was doing and I definitely think the people who have been pushing me the most out of any stop of the tour are my brothers.

Anything left to tick off on your surfing bucket list?

Yes, for sure!
From the competitive side: winning the APP world championship title and represent my country in the Olympics!!
From the free surfing one: explore the (surfing) world and enjoy the journey!

Anything you wanna tell the world?

Everything is possible, trust in yourself and go chase your dreams!

To follow Ben Carpentier on Instagram:

For more information on Starboard SUP:

About the Author

Mathieu Astier

Mathieu is the hyper-active founder of TotalSUP and a multilingual online marketing veteran with more than 20 years of experience working for top international internet companies. His love-at-first-sight for Stand Up Paddling in 2013 led him to build one of the leading online media dedicated to SUP in English and French and to turn his family lifestyle towards the ocean.

To follow Mathieu: