Shooting The Breeze: With Ben Winter
Photos by Brok Overell (other than where noted)
While the Journal will offer interviews with well known bikers, our vision at LUXBMX extends to shining the light on dudes who deserve more attention, for a variety of reasons. Such reasons may include a dudes passion for showing up, raw ability, great attitude, giving back to the scene or something else, perhaps even a collection of all these things.
So after a series of interviews with LUXBMX riders and a recent, in-depth conversation with USA rising amateur Preston Okert, we're now proud to present, an interview with Sunshine Coast biker, Volume and Demolition team guy (via BMX Militia), Ben Winter.
After having spent most of my life riding bikes and being involved in the BMX scene, it brings me great pride to see an up and coming crew keeping the flame of BMX alive, in a way that best represents the premier traits that this thing can offer. While I'm speaking generally here, there is also a more specific element to this which involves a growing crew of bikers here on the Sunshine Coast. One of the key dudes from this group is Ben Winter, someone who I've been friends with now for probably 7-8 years.
Ben embodies many of the traits that resonate with, and remind me why, BMX rules. He is super motivated, modest, friendly and personable, has a sense for adventure, is driven by pushing boundaries and finally, is constantly chasing the insane feeling that riding a bike can offer. Best of all, the kid just loves BMX, so much so that you can basically smell it on him. He is a catalyst figure, someone who brings people around him together, spreading the biker gospel.
For these reasons, I jumped at the chance to work on an interview with the dude and am now able to share such a conversation. Without further rambling, LUXBMX presents 'Shooting The Breeze: with Ben Winter'.
Ben, loose air (with the help of an angled brick) on a bank in Sunshine Beach. Photo by Mitch Morison
Ben Winter, who are you and where are you from?
Benjamin Winter, born in Nambour and living on the Sunshine Coast, QLD.
I can barely remember meeting you, but it's probably been 5 or so years that I've known you. Having lived on the Sunshine Coast for most of my life and known most of the guys that ride here, you seemed to come out of nowhere, surprising the hell out of me with how skilled you were. Can you detail how BMX found you and how you ended up where you are today?
Haha to this day I still remember you and your crew riding a drain spot in Coolum. The boys and I pulled up to watch one of you guys candy bar to the road out of the drain. It was crazy!
How I started? I sort of always had a bike or would ride one of my mates and just grew up riding little sand dirt jumps on the Sunshine Coast.
EDITORS NOTE - the above-mentioned scene is captured in a clip at 5.00 in this video.
That's crazy you remembered that particular day from the Coolum drain, that was from a Chronic Bone trip and I'm certain it would have been Jye Stuart who did the candy bar. I don't recall seeing you guys, we would have been down to say g'day. It's wild to think that contributed to the rise of you and your crew. On this, from your perspective, are there a younger crop of bikers coming through that may be influenced by you dudes?
Yeah what’s funny about that spot, there is actually a whole set of dirt jumps a street over that we built and rode at for years when we were younger and now there are young riders who still ride there. There’s always been kids building and riding that spot. Whether we influenced them or not is hard to say, it’s pretty rad to see though.
Ben (Demolition shirt) and some coast crew, i.e. Chai Moody, Jake Ryan and a faceless chick
How did Coolum influence you?
Coolum had a skate park which was a crazy scene! The skaters were wild and super aggressive, I always felt like I was in the way. I remember going down one day and watching Benn & Blake Mathew’s, they were twins, they absolutely ripped. Benn was running 3-4 pegs most of the time and had that street style, but could rip anything. Blake on the other hand was full park/tech dude, but again could also ride anything. It was so cool to watch them go at it.
It was around this time that Levi Hobbs moved to the Sunshine Coast, being only a year older then my mates and I, but absolutely killing it. He could do massive airs in the bowl, showing the boys that it was possible to ride a 21” being so small. I found myself always getting yelled at for taking anyone’s bike the moment they put it down as I didn’t have my own at this point. Eventually, I got my own bike and it was on from there.
I used to bounce off Jake Ryan and Ryan Rostirolla, watching and learning from him as well as so many other sick riders that came through Coolum like Rhys Jones, Brett Coleman, Matt Long, Aidan Torr and others. It really wasn’t until I met Guy Perrett (GP) that I got out of the Sunshine Coast and started meeting others. Wouldn’t have it any other way hey.
GP made me do my first handrail. Props to that bloke!
That's so cool to hear about the influence of GP, I couldn't think of a better person to meet for motivation. What were your initial thoughts on the dude and how have they changed over the years to now?
If I remember correctly, Jake Ryan and I both had him on Facebook. One day, he randomly hit up Jake for a Ramp Attack session because it was raining for weeks. So with all of us living on the Sunshine Coast, we picked him up from the Landsborough service station just off the motorway. He hopped in the back seat of Jakes RAV4, we started driving and he started talking haha! Jake and I looked at each other and were fairly confused, but in a good way, we just started laughing honestly.
Also, I liked his energy so it was pretty cool to have him with us. I soon noticed that he was a super honest dude, totally harmless and super funny. I always thought that he was an absolute legend and over the years it just becomes more evident that he’s a sick dude.
He does absolutely everything he says he’s going to do and does whatever he puts his mind too. Top bloke.
This is part of biking on the Sunshine Coast, and Australia more broadly. You will find yourself in spots like this
It's been cool getting to know you and meet a bunch of the boys you ride with, i.e. the SC Bulldogs. Tell me about some of these dudes and your take on the local scene?
The boys are made up of:
- Jay Loenneker (fridge), he's proper one of the realest dudes ever. Heart of gold and boy he rips on the bike
- Axel Montero, probably one of the nicest and most respectful dudes. Again, rips!
- Jake Ryan and Ryan Rostirolla, funny blokes and all round good dudes. Known them a minute now, proper legends. Funny to think that we all sort of met through local Football, but always ran each other at the skatepark haha! Up the colts.
Most of the boys have actually known each other from a pretty young age and mainly from the skatepark.
These days, the groups just gets bigger and bigger as more people keep moving to that coast. I fucking rate it! Sick dudes like Venka, Chai Moody, Jacob, Ben Wooky, Josh Dove, Jack page, we're all different but everyone gets along so well. Some of the best blokes I know. The best thing about the Sunshine Coast scene is that everyone absolutely rips it up.
What I love about you guys is that you show up, be it a DVD premiere in Brisbane, a local jam on the Sunshine Coast or a bigger event like the ACT Jam. The boys will be there in numbers and the hype is omnipresent. Having been to a bunch of BMX events now, what are some of your more memorable experiences and why?
Haha, yeah the boys make it happen!
Man, BMX is the best. Going to anything BMX related is always going to be a good time, especially jams. You get to see so many different styles of riding. Also, getting to know so many awesome people makes it even better. There are so many mad dudes in the one spot, giving it hell and talking shit.
So far ACT jams are my favourite, probably because of the amount of people. Everywhere you look something is happening. It’s a bit of a drive from the Sunshine Coast, so making a little trip out of it with mates is always fun.
Ben (sitting on fence) and crew lazing around at Pacific Paradise. Great to get a shot of the dude with GP up in here
Personally, you strike me as a modest dude, perhaps tending towards a streak of perfectionism. You seem to be someone who is rarely happy with your riding when most others would be over the moon to be doing half the shit you can do. Where do you think that characteristic came from?
Haha damn. I think myself if I’m honest. I have always wanted my riding to look and feel a particular way. It feels like I'm slowly getting to where I want to be. I think it’s good motivation to ride more.
Building on your character, you have an attitude to life which seems to be based on making the most of the time you have as well as an appetite for hard work to get where you want to go. Both of these are in my view, are very respectable.
I get bugger all 'me' time these days and it would be rad to have more. Further, I always have a heap of energy so I just try use it to it's greatest potential. Work does blow, but I think it’s how you approach the day, mindset is everything.
It would be sick to put more energy into what I want to do, one day for sure. What’s the point in half assing everything?
How do you think your childhood influenced who you are and how you ride?
I think BMX teaches you to get back up and keep trying! If you want it bad enough you’ll get it.
What would you do if you didn't need to work?
Haha what wouldn’t you do! I’d like to travel with my bike for sure. I also really want to do base jumping. At the end of the day though, I would be excited for more 'me' time. However if I did have more time, I'd probably just ride more.
To riding, I've always said this and perhaps haven't been able to properly describe it, but you have a very distinctive style on the bike. Words like aggressive come to mind, you have a wild ability to make your bike do things, to muscle it into submission with a jink and a turn and a niggle. What influences your riding and who out there has a biker style that you admire and why?
I have always had fun doing jibby stuff but I also like going fast or jumping something cool. Growing up, I was always watching guys like Dennis Enarson, Kris Fox, Kevin Peraza and Kriss Kyle. They got me thinking that that style of riding was the shit.
Corey Walsh & Jay Dalton are also a treat to watch. Corey’s style is crazy and his airs are massive but he’s also very technical with his riding. Likewise with Jay Dalton, and he also has an endless trick bag and never fails to make anything look like he’s done it a million times, almost effortlessly.
Stair set in Yaroomba (Coolum), begging to be hit. Ben has spoken of hitting this badboy, something to look forward to
Stair set in Yaroomba (Coolum), begging to be hit. Ben has spoken of hitting this badboy, something to look forward to
Corey Walsh is indeed badass man. Can you pick a video and an individual clip of Corey that stands out to you?
Well probably the new one now to be honest haha! That bowl to bowl clip with one being full of water and him carving it then jumping back in is rad!
Back to your style of riding. A good example of this is your backflip off that tiny rock in the LUXBMX film 'Aeterna'. You also filmed a bunch of clips for the Crispy 'Dulwich' video. From my point of view, filming clips for a BMX video is one of the most ultimate parts of BMX. What has your experience been like filming for these projects?
That was fun haha! When I was a bit younger, I tried a few times and always got stitched up after putting a heap of effort into filming and even had one dude delete an entire video. I’d always be down to have a crack at one, it would be such a fun time in the moment and I love a good send.
You've grown up in the rise of social media, which has significantly changed the BMX content landscape. Prior to this, dudes would work on full length video projects because that's all there was. Nowadays, it would seem that sending yourself for an instagram clip is no longer out of the ordinary. I know you and I have tried over the years to work on a full length video which has escaped us to date. I just wondered what your thoughts were on the state of BMX content and how its consumed in 2023 in that you seem to value both?
BMX was definitely a lot cooler back then, in the sense of working towards video parts. To be honest, I don’t have a heap of dudes to film with and I'm also useless at editing. It would be pretty cool to have a few parts up for sure and it's something I definitely need to work on.
At the end of the day I’d do it even if it wasn’t being filmed, so why not! I’m big on ride your bike and do whatever the fuck you want to, it's freestyle baby!
Ben (centre with helmet) and coast crew, seeking the cool, connoisseurs of shade
Freestyle baby! Sending yourself, even if there isn't a filmer there is legit man. Not many people would do that, including me. Can you explain your mindset around that in greater detail? For me, if I'm going to send something, I'm putting my body and mind on the line and am usually hungry to construct a video part out of my efforts, so there is no way I'm not filming it.
I have always sort of liked doing stuff to get the heart pumping, I'm always trying to find a little rush haha! Riding gives me that a lot.
Riding is sick because you can do it with mates, a heap of randoms or even just by yourself. I would hate to do a sport where I’m on someone else’s time, ya know? I want my thrill when I want it! I don’t mind if people are watching/filming, but it is definitely a plus when someone gets it on film.
The (predominantly) Sunny Coast crew at a b'day get together, and a teepee.
If you could produce an 'all time' video part, hypothetically, what would it look like?
Umm, haha I don't know! I'd probably have a bit of everything - in terms of dirt, park, street whatever. The stuff that I enjoy doing is what feels cool and some sending type stuff. I'd also probably have a few guest clips from my mates.
On this, it's cool to see that you have some videos on Youtube from early days, the homies filming and editing, brings me back. But also, you have had a full length web video which made its way to DIG a couple of years back (linked below). Talk to me about how that project came together and how does it feel watching it now that it's existed for 2 years?
Guy Perrett and myself set out to film a video part and it was honestly so much fun. There were so many good weekends spent together working on it. At the end, Guy put it ogether on my birthday as a surprise! What a legend.
Looking back at it now it’s crazy to think there isn’t one nose manual, or even a transition clip really haha! I’d love to film another with street, park and dirt in it.
This is actually stupid. Massive guard rail hop onto the busy road into Caloundra. Photo by Ned Hards
Are you proud of the clips you filmed for this video and can you choose a clip and give some background to it?
Yeah definitely! However I would have loved to get more.
It probably doesn’t seem like much, however the gap over the guard rail to the road took about 40 mins with the landing being straight onto a super busy road. There were lights, but every time I went to go, a car would come. After waiting for ages, I saw a truck carrying fuel go past and with the take off being a fair bit higher than the truck, I realised how high it actually was. I lost my train of thought for a moment there, then I remember everyone one saying go. It was then a moment of, 'fuck it' haha!
This was one of those spots that I used to drive past all the time, so it was too tempting to not try! It would eat me up to not hit it. So I just sent it. Afterwards, mu front wheel (spokes/rim) actually blew out and my fork drop out bent, same with my bars. I have rode a lot of BMX parts over the years and always destroy everything. So it was cool that my bike didn't break underneath me, Demolition and Volume parts all the way.
Also, nose to manual to tooth-hanger that rail with the kink was pretty scary. To be honest, I had no idea if it was going to work or not. I thought it wuold go ok if I stay steep and go limp as soon as I feel the kink at the end haha. Worked out in the end.
Shoutout to Terry from BMX Mafia. Thanks so much for the support from BMX Militia, Demolition, Volume. I always have a fresh rig, couldn't do it without him.