How to build a career from riding the novelty wave with Ben Gravy

Ben Gravy has built a career as a professional surfer but doesn’t have any of the traditional winning or sponsoring competitions that would normally drive one.

“I really feel confused every day when I wake up. I can’t believe I did this. It doesn’t make sense,” said Ben Gravy humbly. He’s arguably the biggest name in novelty surfing, a forerunner who helped create a new genre of professional surfing and a worldwide good man. “It just proves that through hard work and dedication and just applying yourself, you can get anywhere.”

Until recently, if you wanted to build a professional windsurfing career, you had to compete for a spot in the WSL Championship. Finally, the web surfer has control over the surfing light, as the only way to keep up with professional surfing is through magazines and on TV. But the rise of social media has completely changed the game. It’s now easier than ever to film, edit, and produce content about surfers from anywhere in the world. Once secret surf spots from afar are now easier to find and surfers worldwide have amassed a global list of stops to conquer.

Step into the new wave. These are the only waves that break sporadically or are located in unusual positions and are not considered traditional waves. Documenting his adventures on Youtube, Ben has begun to follow the most unique, far-fetched and unheard of novelty waves around, which have led him to achieve his ultimate dream of becoming a a professional surfer in his 30s. He is sponsored. by Catch Surf, a brand that has doubled down on Gravy by collaborating on a collection of Ben Gravy’s signature panels and has amassed a following, known as the NUB nation.

NUB stands for “Nobody Unlikes Buddy,” the concept of accepting everyone regardless of their status in life, a common theme of inclusion that Gravy promotes throughout her videos. “I think sharing is a little bit different,” says Ben. “Because surfing seems like an exclusive sport, but I wanted to make it fun and open, so everyone can do it. If I’m surfing knee-high waves, so are you. “

Make no mistake, Ben Gravy’s success has nothing to do with luck. Surfing novelty was a big part of Ben’s life growing up. “I’ve been doing that all my life,” says Gravy. “When I was a kid, I used to surf in the Bay in New Jersey. We have the ocean on the East Coast, and then about a mile around in the back is the Gulf right around the island. It’s really hard for the waves to get in there. No one will do that. And my friends and I would always do that when we were kids. “

But the new surfer’s life isn’t always perfect. Before starting her vlog, Gravy found herself in a dark place after suffering a knee injury. “I had a lot of things building up at the same time in my life, both emotionally and physically,” says Ben. “I am actually in rehabilitation for my injury. So I haven’t surfed for 9 months, and my life has really gone in a terrible direction. I get drunk all the time, wasting my time. I have a passion for making videos that I don’t really get used to and I don’t surf the web. “

Ben Gravy’s approach to surfing is all about inclusion and finding fun

On Christmas Day 2015, he made the life-changing decision to give up alcohol. “When I was sober, I started making videos and vlogs came along as a distraction,” says Ben. “It was like, if I woke up every day, holding myself accountable for my sanity, here’s how I could follow through and see how much I’ve changed in the process. . And then surf to the end. Because I was finally allowed to surf after that knee injury. And then I fell in love with surfing. Because I don’t drink, I don’t party, I don’t waste my time. I was like, oh, I have so many hours in the day, I’ll surf the web every morning and then be productive the rest of the day. ”

“There was this rainstorm in New Jersey, and my brother and I went out and found this beater board (a soft, finless foam board that can be used for skateboarding, windsurfing, and even surfing). small) behind a truck. They have all this cool footage, and somehow I found the guy from Catch Surf’s email address, and I sent it to him. And he thought it was really cool, so they shared it on their Instagram and sent us a beat board.

“A few years later,” says Gravy, “my brother actually found a broken, warped 8-foot Catch Surf board in the trash. And I used it to ride all my novelty waves. But in the end I had to face it anyway. But if you go back and look at the wave that I called Skeleton Bay about six or seven years ago, riding on the board, and that’s the gray Catch Surf board, it was wobbling in the middle as I went. But I broke it. And I remember I had the guy’s email. So I sent him a message and I was like, hey, is there any way I can eat you off another 8 foot board or get some kind of code or whatever. And I sent him some links to me surfing in the river and some novelty waves to get him to give me a free board. And he was like, oh, yeah, we’re really just starting this line, it’s called Wave Bandit. I was going to send you a couple of boards, and he sent me three. It’s way more than I ever imagined. So I started riding those and then all of this happened. All these waves started to get really popular. ”

Ben Gravy caught the attention of Catch Surf and his audience started to grow as he continued to post vlogs of his adventures in search of new waves. Then the video went viral: Ben Gravy surfed the waves behind a Ferry as it passed a shallow section. “I think that’s been a really important part of my success,” says Gravy. “When I did that boating, I did it because I wanted to. I’m not going anywhere to prove myself to anyone else. I don’t surf to brag. I want to do everything because I want to and that boat. At the time, I didn’t get any views so I didn’t think it would be anything special. I thought I just wanted to finish it.” Like most things done with pure passion, this particular vlog went viral like wildfire, boosting Gravy’s audience and career.

“At that point we started selling and everything and my fans said they wanted a soft Ben Gravy jacket and all this. So then I said, Okay, let’s see if I can do this. And then they created it and it really became really popular. And then it’s just crazy. ”

Since making this life-changing decision, things have changed for the better. This novelty wave icon is famous for both his wildly positive attitude towards surfing and his iconic punk rock pineapple. He met his current wife, Jordan, who appears in his vlogs and is very much part of the Ben Gravy franchise.

“When I first started dating Ben, he would film everything every day,” Jordan recalls. “From the moment we woke up to the moment we went to sleep. So I think there’s no chance for us to be anything other than ourselves. Everyone who met us told us we were easy to get along with and that was because we were just regular people from New Jersey. It’s not a flashy, crazy place. We are like everyone else, we just happen to have a vlog. ”

Country NUB has grown to 153k YouTube Subscribers160k Instagram followers – a testament to both Ben and Jordan’s dedication to inclusion. Ben added: “I think we need to tear down that wall in surfing. “Everyone just embrace what it is and let everyone who wants, just join us.”

Highlights of Gravy’s career include challenging himself to surf in all 50 states. His vlogs have clearly demonstrated the highs and lows of Gravy persevering through landless states to find the best waters to ride the waves. It took him three years to complete, but upon completion, he will set a new world record. A follow-up documentary about Ben’s achievements titled For the dream will debut at New Smyrna Film Festival in Florida on February 5.

Last year, he trained with the last heavy water hellman, Will Skudin to ride the big waves, and it was recently announced that he has been invited to compete in this year’s tournament. Nelscott Reef Pro in Oregon. When asked about his move to big surfing, Gravy remained as humble as ever. “Honestly, I was mostly just playing around. I’m not going to put myself in harm’s way or do anything stupid just for the sake of observation. So I feel confident about my intentions to go ahead with this.”

When asked what his secret to success is, he added, “it’s to do something a little different. When I started making my videos, surfing was very focused on a certain path. And that’s a natural progression with social media and everything. I think I’ve started showing what I like at a good time. It was not luck, but the timing was right. And I think I did it a little differently. Because it’s not just about surfing in Montana or going to the Great Lakes or whatever, it’s about the presentation. It shares part of that reality, and also shows, oh, look, we just found a wave in Nebraska. But I think connecting people with the way that I found the wave in Nebraska. How difficult it was and how I went through it. That’s what people usually do. But I think it’s just sharing the surf a little bit differently because it’s a very elite, exclusive sport, but I think I made it fun and open. If you see me riding the small waves, maybe you can too. I try to share things realistically, honestly. I could do a video of me surfing on the best waves around, but I just love experimenting and having fun with surfing because I think people really relate to it. ”

Ben Gravy’s plans for the future are as pure as his intentions for the inclusive NUB nation. “My goal in honest life is to make people happy. Because of the life that I lived before I did any of this. I was too shielded from the world, I was too protective of myself, and I was miserable. And through letting myself go and be out there and everything, I created happiness within myself. The best thing about surfing is enjoying it, and I want to share that with everyone.” How to build a career from riding the novelty wave with Ben Gravy

John Verrall

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