We recently chatted with Ben about his dart career so far....
When did you start playing darts?
In 2015. I was a fill-in for a pub team my dad’s friend played in.
What first got you into the sport?
I moved down to Christchurch for work in the re-build after the earthquakes. At the time I was enjoying playing basketball but couldn’t find a team so I played darts with my dad in the garage to release that competitive nature, ha, ha.
Key achievements/what are you most proud of in your dart achievements?
Making the world championships in England was massive for me but winning in Hamilton at the Masters in front of my family and friends was pretty special. They’ve seen all the hard work and sacrifices I’ve made and even though it was just one win, to see how excited and happy everyone was, that was something I’ll never forget.
Do you have any special traditions when you are playing?
I look up and just ask my nan to have my back, give me some spiritual help, maybe push my opponent’s double shots to the side, ha, ha, ha, but nah, nothing really. I just keep my routine strong and stay focused.
How often do you practise?
I try to every day for at least an hour. It’s been hard of late to practise with a new baby, but I’m used to overcoming adversity so I just have to find time where I can.
What does your partnership with One80 mean to you?
It’s massive for me to have a company like One80 willing to back me and supporting my goals. So far they have been nothing but a pleasure to work with, trying their best to meet my requirements and ideas on building my game.
Tell us about your BIG RIG darts? What were your first thoughts when you saw them and how do they feel?
Like a dream come true really to have my own set of darts designed and developed to my specifications is surreal and truly humbling. As soon as I saw the finished product I knew instantly they were perfect, almost like pulling excalibur from the stone, ha, ha. The dart felt perfect. I put my 8-Flight System stems and flights on and threw for 10 minutes. I had over ten 180s. I felt like a kid and was excited to play in tournaments.
Share a bit about the dart creation process:
It was a lot of conversations with exact details and measurements down to a point of a millimetre. The first design wasn’t quite there but there are some things you can’t guess until you have the dart in your hand. When we got it right, it was worth the time and effort.
What gear do you like to use?
I like using the Condor System which is a plastic molded stem and flight system. I figured out that darts is about consistency from routine, throwing action and gear, meaning if I’m throwing darts with standard flights they bend out of shape differently. So every dart can be slightly different and in a game of millimetres it’s important to have a consistent setup. They just seem to hold their shape better.
Who is your biggest rival?
Probably Hopes (Haupai Puha). We’re good mates off the oche but both have high goals and sacrifice just as much as each other to achieve our goals.
Who is your biggest fan?
Probably mum. She watches all my games regardless if it’s 2am and she starts work at 5am. She messages me after every game. If I played crap she’ll be the first to tell me to pull my finger out, ha, ha. Also my partner (future wife) ha, ha, having the support that she gives me fuels my desire to make something out of the game and possibly provide a stable future for us.
Do you have any advice for other young people who might be interested in giving darts a go?
Yeah, have fun, that’s how games should be played. Don’t always play 501, find little mini games like cricket and killer so you’re actually practising while having fun. The game can provide so many opportunities to travel the country and potentially the world.