I had to crack up when one of the NZ team members commented on Benny Poulters love of bacon from the ISA smorgasbord that got dished up to them each day. “Benny would throw rasher after rasher onto his plate…”, I had to chuckle, I’m a huge fan of cooked ‘oink oink’ myself. Hell, I even cut the fatty rind off, eat everything else, then just shrug the shoulders and down the chewy bits as well. Damn you pork for tasting so good. Benny is not your average 15 year old. He walks like a man and smacks the lip like one too. Without pulling punches he lacks the air arsenal of some of the lighter footed peers among him, but dang can the kid decimate a lip with raw power. If he’s hitting lips like that at 15, look out Pancho when he hits adulthood.
I must say I felt a touch of NZ pride when Ben left the water after getting through some of his later end heats. The NZ flag was flying and his team mates and supporters were at the waters edge to congratulate their victor. I havent felt that since sitting in an aussie pub and watching the All Blacks win a game verse the dirty dingoes. You get a little tingle of national pride, kinda cool. I’m admittedly not the bigggest sporting follower but hey, if a Kiwi stomps it somewhere I’m definitely chuffed.
The flipside of the NZ support was at times, a lack of it. Other teams were super solid at the water edge for their team members but the Kiwi team(maybe because it was home turf) seemed a little displaced an unorganised at times. Dual venues didnt help that cause but a little more team unity was needed.
Anyway back to Benny. In his heat before the semi qualifier, he had a stacked-as heat and on advice from his coaches he opted to surf the Piha Bar by himself while his fellow regularfoot competitors opted for the right near Lion Rock. While the others tussled for what little was on offer Ben managed to smash two left peelers to peices then paddle across the bay and sit on mega-paid American wonderkid Kolohe Andino. Ben played the heat like a junior Russian chess titan and had 3rd place Kolohe paddling like mad to get away from 2nd place Ben. I think Ben pretened that the fast paddling Kolohe was a large rasher of yummy bacon and didnt let him out of his sights or grasp. The result….a very sulky American wonderkid that just got smoked by a 15 year old Kiwi that probably makes less in one year than Kolohe does in 6 hours. Yeah Benny that was farkin awesome to watch. Super proud!
I left Piha before finals day but watched the poor bugger the day before hobble up the beach after trouncing Kolohe with his sore foot from standing on a nail or something similar in the team tent prior to his heat. To his credit even with his sore foot he hit the lip just as hard and didn’t hold back and saved his hurt till he hit the sand post heat. A true Kiwi battler… Nice one Benny. Must catch up for B and E some time soon! Don’t think you”ll win a bacon eating comp against me though. Cheers Digga…..mmmmmm….baaaaacoooon….mmmmm