PLAY: A Wakeboard Collage Series

A few summers back, before I made the move to Orlando, I remember cleaning out my room and finding my old stash snowboard and wakeboard magazines over the years. Being the sentimental person that I am, I thought it'd be cool to keep them all to look back on, but also being the perfectionist that I am, not having the full collection I knew I once had left me with a mixed-matched batch of mags that were all out of order and disorganized...so I trashed (eh, recycled) every single one. (And maybe I was pledging allegiance to Wake Journal at the time too, I don't know).  

But flash forward a few years to this past summer, and as I prepped for my move here to Vermont, I found one single Wakeboarding Magazine that had slipped through the cracks after all these years.

It was a Gear Guide Issue from 2013 I believe with Jeff House on the cover (coming off his laundry list of injuries if I recall correctly). As I sat back and flipped through the issue, seeing BP with long hair, Twelker with short hair, and the initial hype of the first ever G23s, the memories and pure joys of squeaking in every ounce of ride time back in middle school and high school as a teenager hit me real hard.

Those riders, their gear, and the photos that brought it all to life in that magazine (and others like it) were the only source I had to the world of wakeboarding outside my own little rural river in Virginia. And because of that, there was nobody to tell my brother and I the right way or wrong way to interpret what we saw in magazines. No advice, no trick tips, and certainly no pressure. We simply gathered what we had, got stoked, filled up the gas, and played as much as we could.

And it was the most raw and honest state of play we knew.

So, as I'm holding the long lost and last remaining Wakeboarding Mag in my stash, I decided to recreate that journey of play through a series of collages.

I've never really been an artist, but as a kid, I used to always cut out bits and pictures of these action sports magazines and rearrange them on my doors, or slap stickers on my board setups in clever ways, or even hang posters with some sort of design system in place. It always fascinated me that you could take a photograph, sticker, or poster and rearrange it yourself to create something that not only looked different, but said something totally different by placing it next to or on top of something that felt new. It's no wonder why I found collage to be my favorite medium while I was in design school. And looking back, that same playful spirit was there for me in collage as well.

So together, with the two most natural forms of "play" I knew as a kid, here are four original collages created only from that sole surviving Wakeboarding Magazine I found this summer.

The visual inspiration for this came from one of my favorites, Jesse Draxler. Not only am I highly drawn to the emotion and style shown in his work, but I love the clean and minimal approach he uses in this medium that can sometimes be stereotyped as "messy" or "random". Also with each collage I brought in a piece of nature, as to represent and symbolize the raw and organic state of play throughout this artistic process and the emotion behind wakeboarding itself. (They're not perfect, and neither is the scanning I did, but enjoy! More to come for sure.)

Would love to hear your thoughts, comments, and which one is your favorite!


Josh Twelker — Wakeboard: Boat


Aaron Reed — Wakesurf


Raph Derome — Wakeboard: Cable


Reed Hansen & Brenton Priestley — Wakeskate & Wakeboard: Boat


Oh yea, Vermont!

Digging through the Benventurer archives, I realized I never posted about my time in Vermont!

So, here ya go...

I spent this past summer interning for a youth and action sports marketing firm called Fuse. Established in Burlington, Vermont, Fuse lies in the heart of the east coast shred culture. Most of my time was spent managing projects and events for Gatorade, JBL Audio, Mountain Dew, EVOL foods, Amazon Student, NBA, Starbucks, and Doritos. Lots to see, lots to do, and lots to learn!

My spare time consisted of skating, skating, ..oh..and skating! I did a ton of hiking and exploring as well. The combination of the Adirondacks, the Green Mountains, and Lake Champlain creates this triple threat of insane beauty right out my front door!

I made a friend too! His name is Sam Chevalier. He pole vaults and jumps bridges. Occasionally at the same time. He's also a wizard genius at MIT. The best part? Sam's family proved to me that friendliness and hospitality DO exist in New England.

One of my biggest learnings this summer was how much I missed certain things. No Chickfila, no sweet tea, and no snow (yes, the snow up there does melt in the summer).

Besides my family and friends back home, the thing I was surprised I missed the most was Adobe.

By working in marketing this summer, I really missed designing things. Anything. Layouts, graphics, spreads, wireframes, etc. Throughout my college career and my time at Wake Journal, I never realized how accustomed I had become to design work. I spent the summer in Vermont starving myself from a tangible skill I had been constantly feeding over the last two years.

And for the summer, that was the goal. I wanted to commit to letting go of the design side of my brain in return for a fully loaded marketing agency experience. Besides, thats where I thought I was headed after graduation.

I read an awesome book by pastor John Mark Comber this summer called "Garden City". I learned what it meant to be individually hardwired by God and how to capitalize on it. This idea is what we call vocation. It's who we are, the lenses we look through, the passions that burn in our hearts, the reasons for the decisions we make. These are the things about us that do not change. Non-circumstantial and multi-generational characteristics about who we are.

"You can DO anything you want, but you can't BE anything you want."

It's up to us, as intelligent human beings, to discover those characteristics about ourselves. Figure out who we are and who we are not.

How? By doing stuff! Do as much stuff as possible! Man was created in the Garden of Eden to make and build things in a creative partnership with God.

So for me, as I worked in my "dream job" for an incredible agency with awesome people inside the action sports industry, I learned a little more about the way God hardwired me. I discovered who I was and who I was not in a marvelous way. And this pleases God.

Think of a car. No matter what, it will break down throughout its lifetime. But, when we discover what's under the hood of the car, we can keep that vehicle running at its maximum capacity.

Humans are similar. We sin, we break down. But, the more we learn about ourselves and how our "engines" were uniquely built, the better we can operate and make decisions along the roads of life.

So my challenge, to whoever is reading this, is to find opportunities to get under the hood and take a look at your gears. Try to understand why they are there and how to actually use them. Ask yourself, why do you act and react the way you do. Go made you beautifully different than everyone else.

So, my future?

Stay tuned to hear my upcoming plans. But what I do know is that I am meant to be a designer in some capacity. I'm not the best at it, but I'm eager to learn and get better. My goal is to become masterful at this, in order to glorify God as best I can.

Scratch that...in order to glorify God as best as I was created to.


(Oh, here's a link to my VSCO Journal for some visuals from the summer.)

VSCO Journal: BTV


Meet Jonathan Martin.

Referred to by the locals as "Jmart".

A visual gatherer, world traveler, simplistic designer, impulsive explorer, passionate curator, and seasoned writer. He's been named a "campus fave" by about.me and has work published in the LA Times. Booyah!

Currently spotted in the desertlandia of Phoenix, the millennial gold rush is pulling him to the west coast. Jmart enjoys awkward puns, Taco Bell, and not-your-mother's rap music. Oh, and Coke never Pepsi.

Our paths first crossed two years ago at James Madison University and have been buds since. Squeezed between two busy lifestyles, our time together is limited but well spent.

Countless concerts/photos/adventures later, we've shared some pretty radical memories.

According to the Myers Briggs Personality test, Jmart is an ESTP and I'm an INFJ. We are exact opposites. Interesting.

But our view of life on mother earth is very similar. Creativity is under-valued, coffee is best enjoyed with friends, and God's love is crazy dope.

New apps are fun and creating content is exciting, but our identity rests in a power far greater than iOS and Google.

Jonathan's walked the plank on more ships than most of us will ever step foot on. Discovering the beauty buried within the imperfect has been a constant theme in his story.

His persistence to follow the Lord is bold and he refuses to be rerouted by societal expectations. Sure there may be flat tires and car washes along the way, but the views of his journey are worth every minute to him. I'm encouraged by Jonathan's character everyday and I work to see life as he does.

Admittedly, most of my creative inspiration and ideas have been vicariously maturing through Jonathan's work, especially my blog. So please, go check out his beautiful site!


Sure I've got a bit of a bro crush on the dude, but I'm stoked to share life with this weirdo. I'm always amused by how we've stayed such good friends over the years, but I never question why. I'm stoked to see what 2016 has in store for this stud. (And thanks for letting me practice portrait photography on you!)




Who is Benventurer?

Nice to meet you 2016. Just like every other 20-something year old, I'm launching a blog!

Two years ago, my dear friend Mary Reese shouted "let's go on an adventure, with Ben... A BEN-VENTURE!" And it stuck. Since then, I've had more benventures than I have stickers on my car.

Yeup, my life is busy...always. But I love being busy! I enjoy learning things, doing stuff, meeting people, going places, and getting risky biscuits along the way. So my goal with this blog is to share my projects, experiences, travels, and perspectives as they come.

But a benventure is not always high tides and trail guides. The past few months have brought some major life redirections. Opting out of my study abroad program next semester being one of them. However, I've got some big plans coming up and couldn't be more stoked for what's ahead! The motivation is to live in the "here and now" (good or bad) instead of wrapping my head around the future. Such a novel idea!

So for those who are curious and wish to follow along, this blog will serve as my personal digital journal. You can subscribe for updates via email if you wish or pop in anytime.


My name is Benjamin Johnston and I am a Benventurer.