Under The Covers with Ben Bourgeois

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Photos by Ryan Miller

Two trips, two covers, same spot. Ben Bourgeois, who screamed onto the cover of SURFING’s July issue, has found something increasingly rare these days: an honest to goodness, on-call secret spot. After scoring idyllic sand-bottom tubes and a SURFING cover on his first visit in 2009, Benny returned on New Years Day during the Caribbean’s super-season to see if lightning might strike twice. And it did.

SURFING Magazine: What’s the history between you and this wave? Everyone around here just calls it Benny’s Right or Spot X.

I went with [photographer] Rob Gilley last year and he kinda had a hunch, and I had a friend who had been there kite surfing. He saw the spot, but it was flat — it’s pretty much always flat. So the big question was, Does swell get in there? We honestly didn’t know. We started looking at it on Google a little bit. Gilley just wanted to go down and check it. We ended up charging it last year, and we just got lucky, lucky with a swell. That’s pretty much how we found it.

And this year — on the second trip that made the cover again — was it a déjà-vu forecast or what?

We just saw a good swell come up on the maps. I was talking to [photograher] Ryan Miller, and he actually came up with the idea to go down there. I had already been the year before, so Ryan knew that I already knew the ropes. He hit me up and we bought our tickets last-minute, I think a day in advance, and just jammed straight there.

What kind of a storm does it need to work?

It takes a big swell. Whenever Puerto Rico is massive, that usually does the trick. So a big cold front, just a big north swell. It’s gotta be pretty solid. This year has probably been a little different — because it’s been super good and consistent down there — but it usually only breaks two times a year. Three times max.

And where exactly is it?

[Laughs] I still get people hitting me up everyday about this spot — trying to find out where it is, guessing where it is, everything. Especially when I’m down in the Caribbean, all the people down there kind of freaked out because it’s right in their backyard, and they didn’t even know where it was. They’re the ones that hit me up the most.

But you’ll never tell.

I throw smoke screens everywhere — different island names, just whatever. There are definitely people who know about it, but no one is yet to show when it’s been good. There are no local people that surf, they don’t even go to the beach. They fish on the backside of the island. Just cruise, do a lot of hanging out. I’ve been the only one there every time.