Learning to surf with Relentless Energy Drink artists

  Posted by sneakerfreaker on Monday 13th August, 2012 @ 10:38 GMT News Category: UK Events | Visited 1832 times
I've always believed that the Relentless Energy Drink Boardmasters festival is completely unique as it allows artists of all kinds to experience how other artists express themselves – whether that be through extreme sports, music, or art. This incredible opportunity with both surf and music legends really summed up for me what this festival is all about, and I'm not sure who to thank more – Ben Skinner (the legend himself), or the crew at Relentless Energy Drink who made it happen.

Words Kaz Willmer
We were down in Newquay for the 2012 festival and not only were offered a private surf lesson with Relentless Energy Drink Sponsored Rider Ben Skinner, but to do this alongside one of the most upcoming bands in the UK, Young Guns. Ben Skinner is not only one of the top surfers in Britain, but has an awe-inspiring collection of surf titles from some of the biggest international contests. This weekend he came second in the Relentless Energy Drink Boardmasters competition and he was the reason that spectators were lined up in their hundreds across the Fistral beach shoreline, cheering his every wave.

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For me, snowboarding is my life and soul, but this means I've stuck to riding frozen water for many years, and so nerve levels were high on my very first attempt at riding liquid water. To add to my nerves, the Fistral crowds and camera crews were out in force to capture the action from Young Guns. Ben had compared the stillness of the sea to that of a lake, but luckily we had the Flowrider on hand to give us that continuous wave.

With camera crews poised, the golden sun spotlighting down, and seven of us lined up in our wetsuits like a flock of penguins, we began the session. And that's the start of when Ben Skinner became my new hero, and Young Guns officially became my new favourite band!

The surfing turned out to be even more fun than I'd even imagined, and it wasn't long before the nervous laughing turned into childlike giggles. The band turned out to be the most chilled out band I'd ever met, and once I'd forgotten how surreal it was to be standing in a wetsuit alongside the act who were to be headlining the Relentless Energy Sessions stage that very night, and surrounded by crowds and cameras, it was once of the best experiences I've ever had. And I've not laughed so hard in such a long time either!

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Thanks to Ben's super calm nature, and genuine passion for surfing, we were all managing everything he told us to do on the Flowrider – an immense contraption which allows a continual perfect wave, making learning to surf not only easier for beginners, but also allows everyone the opportunity to surf, without having to wait for conditions to be right – and without such a risk of injuring yourself!

We started out learning how to control the board while lying on our fronts, and turning from side to side. The next stage was throwing the board away from you, then catching it again, before jumping onto the board on your knees, controlling it in the same way. We were then set further challenges of rolling on the board, first sideways, and then to the front, which sent more giggles flying. The final stage was standing on the smaller stand-up board and getting used to the balance of the board. Everyone did amazingly considering it was everyone's first time, and it was super challenging to get the right position. But thankfully too, falling was actually half the fun of the ride, as the super-strong wave shot you back to the top of the Flowrider. And watching the faces of everyone when they were riding the wave just made me even more stoked to be there – just looking at the different emotions each of the Young Guns guys went through was probably what helped make the day so great – from fear to fun, to supporting and laughing at each other when they were up or down.

Only a few hours later and we were watching these same guys headlining the Relentless Energy Sessions stage on the final night of the Relentless Energy Drink Boardmasters Festival. It made every note on their incredible set even more special to know that not only had we shared that amazing experience with them that very afternoon, but how genuine and down-to-earth every one of them are as people.

On one hand, surf legend Ben Skinner has now given me a genuine buzz to keep riding water and hit some real waves, purely through his patience, super calm personality, and genuine passion for wanting to share the surf with anyone around him. On the other hand were the boys from Young Guns, who's incredible performance closing the Relentless Energy Sessions completed the weekend for me and hundreds of others in the festival crowd that night, along with their love of music and passion for playing.

The extent of the collaboration struck me when Ben Skinner himself was genuinely excited to be going to watch the Young Guns up at the festival that night, and was finding out the times to make sure he would be there to witness their performance. Both Ben Skinner and Young Guns have inspired uncountable numbers of people throughout their careers, and looking back on this Flowrider session I can't help but smile at having been so lucky to have experienced this moment where people with such talent and passion are brought together to share this with each other.


Thank you to everyone at Relentless Energy Drinks for giving us this opportunity, to Ben Skinner for his amazing support, to the Young Guns for being some of the nicest guys in music, and to the guys at Newquay Activity Centre for kitting us all out and stoking us up!

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