Rise Up With Ben Gravy And CBD Aloha
On Christmas Day, 2015, sick of being hungover, of vices and inhibitions Ben Gravy decided to get sober. It’s a path he has not faltered on since and was the catalyst to his YouTube channel which has over 145,000 subscribers and videos that document his outrageous positivity and everyman vibe.
The 32-year-old New Jersey native is the undisputed king of novelty waves. He recently completed his three-year mission to surf a wave in all 50 U.S states which saw him surf everything from ankle-high ripples to overhead barrels, finishing his journey riding a tidal bore wave in Alaska’s Turnagain Arm of Cook Inlet.
CBD Aloha spoke to him about his exclusive partnership with the brand and his signature broad-spectrum CBD oil which helps him squeeze every ounce of fun out of his day as he documents his surf-stoked life.
When did you first get into surfing?
It was first grade, one of my dad's friends gave us an old board and I took it out stood up first try ever. I was hooked for life pretty much after that.
Can you give me a breakdown of your typical day?
I'm either looking at the forecast or working on an edit. I pretty much surf and film every day in my life, it doesn't really matter what the waves are gonna be like. Then depending on when high tide is because I need the high tide to surf near me. That's when I plan my surf session for the day.
You landed on pro surfing map a little bit later in life as a 30-year-old. Can you describe what events led you to, quote “turning pro”?
When I was a kid I wanted to make the world tour. I did the ESA All-Star team, the ISA World Juniors, USA champs, Junior Pros, and QS. As I got older my parents were kind of like, ‘Look, dude, this is not a career where you can make money so you got to figure something else out.' So, I decided to follow my second passion which was filmmaking. I ended up in film school in Philadelphia and I did that for four years. And after that, I started working as a professional editor. Then I went to college and got really into partying and drinking overtook my life a little bit. I injured my knee really badly and had to get surgery. I ended up getting sober because I had to focus on physical therapy and I started documenting the process of my injury recovery on my YouTube channel. Somewhere along the way, I started surfing novelty waves just for fun, and it kind of just blossomed into this career that I have now.
When did know you had a platform that was appealing to people through riding novelty waves around your backyard and across America?
The moment that I kind of thought that I was onto something was the first time I surfed the ferry wave in New Jersey and Stab posted it on Instagram. My YouTube video ended up getting like 400,000 views. I was like, ‘Holy cow wait a second I don't think anyone's doing these types of waves.' That's kind of the moment that I was like, wow, I'm gonna start making novelty ways my full-time mission.
What do you think people love most about the videos on your YouTube channel?
I think my main recipe for success has just been my honesty. I just show it all whether the waves are terrible or they're big and I'm scared. Or if it's choppy and not ideal, or I'm riding an eight-foot board, riding a shortboard, or even boogie boarding. I'm just showing it all and I think the fact that I'm not some elite level surfer that's just blasting backflips, and huge air reverses and everything every wave I think people can relate to the fact that I'm just kind of a normal guy that is not afraid to share my success and my failures equally.
Tell me about this CBD Aloha collaboration. How long have you been using it and how have you found it’s been beneficial to your lifestyle?
I've been using it for about a year and I love it. I take it with my coffee in the morning and just before bed. It’s really made a difference for me.
Aloha has roots as a heritage surf brand with so much history with a long list of team riders on Tour in the 80s and 90s. How does it feel to partner up and launch a CBD product?
I think it's awesome. It just feels like a really cool grassroots operation. Those guys have shown me so much respect and I’m proud to be an ambassador of the brand.
Do you pinch yourself every day when you consider what you get to do?
It’s funny I mean a lot of people use the term living the dream negatively -- like as a joke. But I truly believe that I am living my dream out. I've gone well and beyond my expectations of whatever I ever thought was possible for a kid from New Jersey. I wake up every day and I absolutely can't believe it.
// ALEX WORKMAN