Ben Coffey


Age: 
19
Occupation: 
Lifeguard
Home Town: 
Santa Cruz, CA

I grew up in Santa Cruz doing Junior Lifeguards and surfing. My Dad, Ward, shapes surfboards and my whole family surfs so ever since I was a little kid my life revolved around the beach and the ocean. When I was 17 I was selected to go to France and compete for the USA Lifesaving Youth team in the International Surf Rescue Challenge. The event had kids from all over the world there to compete, from Germany to New Zealand to Sri Lanka. Prior to being selected to go I hadn’t seen paddle as something more than a fun event at our local JG competitions and the once a year I’d go down to JG Regionals. But after being selected and going to France I realized there was a lot more out there. Being able to meet so many kids my age from all around the world was such a cool experience and really got the travel bug buzzing in me. 

Since that trip I finished up and aged out of Junior Guards, going 7 years undefeated in the distance paddle at regionals, and am now working as a Lifeguard for Santa Cruz City. I’ve been lucky enough to compete on the US team Youth Team in Australia and then again for the US Open Team in Japan. Last year I did the 12 mile Jay Moriarity paddle race and finished 4th and competed in the West Cliff Challenge, a 6 mile paddle put on by a local watermans club called the Ghoastryders, and was able to scrape out the win. This summer and fall is shaping up to be a crazy one where I'll Lifeguarding full time, surfing and traveling to some WQS events, and paddling a lot. Can’t wait!

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