AMBASSADORS OF STOKE

Benji Davis

Benji was born and raised in San Diego, CA. Benji has always loved the ocean for as long as he can remember. He was on a boogie before he could walk, and quickly became the one always sitting deepest, waiting for the bombers to roll through. The Pacific Ocean is the place he feels most at home.

In high school, he found surfing, or surfing found him. He spent the first two years just trying to stand up. By his junior year, he was advised by a friend of the family to try kneeboarding so he started popping up to his knees. That is one of the best decisions he ever made.

Benji was born with a neurological condition that had yet to be identified by modern medicine. Just after turning three years old, his gate turned from typical to atypical, literally, overnight. His mother remembers him starting to trip and fall seemingly every other step. Benji just popped up and kept going, not wanting help from anyone.

HSP ~ Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia as it is known today and identified as a rare disease. So rare that a simple search for “HSP” on Google and it clicks you halfway through page four to find a reference. Benji was finally properly diagnosed in the summer of 2018, his 41st year of life. This is what qualifies him to be an adaptive surfer.

Benji has been surfing for over thirty years and considers himself somewhat of a surf nomad, never calling one break his home, instead choosing to travel the county in search of the best waves on any given swell.

In the meantime, he was busy getting a degree and master’s, falling in love with the girl of his dreams, asking her to be his wife, her saying yes! Continuing to work as a high school teacher of students with disabilities for the last seventeen years, and ultimately helped to raise his two children, Lorenzo (8) and Cecilia (3).

Then, in the fall of 2018, Benji began to search out adaptive surfing competitions. The first one he found has the ASL Malibu Pro. Benji ended up winning his division and the open division and the hook were set. He next competed in the US Open of Adaptive Surfing and made the Final in a very competitive Kneel division, ultimately finishing in 4th place. With the encouragement of mentor Jeff Munson, Benji competed in two WSA events in 2019. Winning the Ocean Beach comp. Then Covid happened. In the summer of 2021, Benji again competed in the US Open of Adaptive Surfing with support and convincing from Jeff, who paid his entrance fee. Benji finished second. Losing in the waning seconds. It would not have happened without the support of Jeff, his family, and the help of the Stoke For Life crew.

This WSA season Benji has committed to compete in the four comps required to become eligible for the West Coast Championships which would make him eligible to join the USA adaptive surf team.

This season he won stop #3 Ocean Beach.

He placed second at stop #5 San Clemente with the support of AmpSurf.

He plans to compete in the upcoming Oceanside and Salt Creek Comps, qualifying for the WSA Finals. All in training for the first leg of the Adaptive Championship Tour on Oahu in Honolulu at Queens Beach.

Benji is humbled by the support from the Stoke For Life Foundation to officially become an Ambassador of Stoke through this rare window of opportunity to chase his dream of being the first Adaptive Surfing World Champion in the Kneel Division. Through it all, Benji plans to share his Stoke For Life with anyone to cross his path, Yeeeeehewwwww!

 

Sponsors:

AMPSURF
SURFGIMP
STOKE FOR LIFE