rowing up on the Isle of Palms in a surfing family is sure to draw any kid to the waves, but for Ben Allen, surfing is more than a hobby – it is a passion. Born and raised on the Isle of Palms, Allen recently won the National Scholastic Surfing Association (NSSA) College Men's division surfer award at the Southeast/North College Season Event #1 held at New Smyrna Beach, Florida on Sept. 17, beating out 48 other surfers for the title. Currently a student at Flagler College in St. Augustine, Fla., the 19-year-old also led the Saints to the team victory at the season opener, defeating the reigning East Coast Regional Championship University of North Florida team. Living near the 25th Avenue beach 6 NEWS IslandVibesIOP.com Local surfer rides wave into national spotlight By Heather Rose Artushin G station, Allen’s dad, Matt, fondly recalls memories of teaching Allen to surf there as a young child, starting on a boogie board and quickly graduating to a foam surfboard, before Allen began surfing on his own with increasing skill. Though Allen tried other sports over the years, surfing has always been his favorite pastime. “He played varsity basketball at Wando,” Matt shared, “and it was great, and a lot of work, but he likes surfing because he gets to do it on his own, without a coach. He is very self-motivated and driven.” In the last three years, Allen has traveled all over the world, surfing in Australia, Fiji, Costa Rica, Belize and Puerto Rico. “His passport looks way cooler than mine,” laughed Matt. Over the summer, Ben was invited to surf the collegiate championships in Los Angeles where he competed alongside some of the country’s most talented young surfers. “My favorite surf trip was to Puerto Rico in March this year,” Allen said. “The waves were firing the whole trip and I got to surf with all of my friends and just a few other guys out for a week straight. It was by far the most stoked and surfed-out I’ve ever been.” As a student majoring in Coastal Environmental Science, Allen aspires to spend his career near the ocean. “I’d like to do something related to oceanography and the study of waves and weather,” Allen said. “Maybe a job with NOAA or the National Hurricane Center.” Whatever path he takes in the future, his parents, and the Isle of Palms community, are certainly proud of his many accomplishments. “Both his mom and I are super pumped about him,” beamed Matt. “He got all A’s and B’s last year; he works hard and he’s a good kid with a good heart.” Charleston’s surfing community is growing, and Allen had this to say to up-and-coming surfers on the island. “The best advice I have for young aspiring surfers is to try new boards and not take things too seriously. Go have fun, chase good waves with your best friends and surf some boards you wouldn’t normally think to try.” A student at Flagler College, Ben Allen has surfed all over the world, citing Puerto Rico as his favorite place to catch a wave. Ben Allen of IOP was recently awarded the NSSA College Men’s surfer award, and was recognized by the city council for his accomplishments.