Ever since BEN was a young spindly grommet, he had always been full of enthusiasm for life and this carried over into everything he did, including his bricklaying business , his family and of course surfing and Byron Bay Boardriders of which he was President.
Anyone that met Ben had a new friend straight away, such was his great smile and love for people in general. Never was Bens popularity so evident than when Ben passed away and a paddle out was held at Main Beach with over 600 people attending, that was how well liked Ben was. Following Bens passing the Easter Classic was renamed The Ben King Surf Classic.
Ben King Classic
With the growth of Byron Bay since the contest began, it basically forced our hand to change the date from Easter to the June long weekend. This was due to increasing cost of accommodation at Easter, the amount of people coming to Byron due to The Blues Festival, and the size of our contest growing. The contest originated from a couple of surfers by the names of Mick Cosmic Birch and Digger Morrow RIP!.
This was back in the day when the Surf Dive n Ski store was Timperleys Servo, the main employer in town was Andersons Meatworks, The Beach Hotel was The Top Pub, The Great Northern was The Bottom Pub, and The Rib Cage was the best place for Carrot cake and Teriyaki Burgers, and there was no mobile phones, no CDs, no pay TV, and no internet! Life was simple. Billy Grant is recognised as the first winner and he was followed by some great surfers like Tommy Peterson, Richard Marsh, Simon Law, Kieren Perrow, Danny Wills, Mark Richardson, Jock Barnes, Yerin Brown, Stu Kennedy, and Garrett Parkes to name a few.
And of course how could we forget The Easter Farm Rages at Myola at Broken Head. A $10 entry fee which included entry, all you could drink, and the band Stamped Urgent. On one occasion members were alerted to someone trying to sneak in for free in the dark, the person was quickly apprehended by a few of the boys. To their surprise the person was none other than the legendary Michael Peterson, of course he was escorted in and shouted anything he wanted!
When 3 time world champion Mick Fanning refers to Danny Wills, in his book as being the person he looked up to, you’ve got to take notice. International surfing legend Danny Wills reached 3rd in the world at the height of his career in 1998 after débuting the year before.
Danny’s smooth style, ultimate professionalism and all round good guy, has earned him respect with fellow pros and wider surfing community. Still ripping and vice president of the Byron Bay Broad riders club, Danny is still giving back to the waves and the community alike.
Willsy’s X Grom Comp
2017 is an historic moment for the first ever Grom contest. Local legend Danny Wills and Byron Bay Board riders wants to give back to the sport. It’s Danny’s mission to find the next…… well…… Danny Wills and grow and promote the sport at grassroots level. Danny knows the future of the sport is with the youngsters and he wants to help and give back to a sport that was so kind to him.
So unlike the BK Classic, there is no past winners, no history or no great story to tell….. yet!