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A new Waikiki surf school has Jamie O’Brien choking Ben Gravy’s supply lines.

As any surf watcher knows, the explosion in participation during, and since, the Great Coronavirus Pandemic (2019 – ) is… historically significant. Vulnerable adults flocked to the “Sport of Kings” for many reasons including, but not limited to, its naturally occurring social distancing, good vibes and provides that perfect dash of Zoom meeting clout.

Now, it might have been imagined that this new VAL would have been a boon to the flagging surf industry, an infusion of hard currency, but no and no. The late adopter cares not for “core” t-shirts and trunks and feels no shame purchasing surfboards from Costco. She is, frankly, is an economic mystery as it relates to the old ways. He an island of odd.

Though two surfers have cracked their code. Ones James Duncan O’Brien and Benjamin Franklin Graeff.

Yes, the two have, through prescience and skill, cracked the VAL market and now war over supremacy. Benjamin Graeff, more properly known as Ben Gravy, seemed to be running away with a clean victory. His YouTube channel speaks directly to the new surf enthusiast who cares nothing for history, hierarchical structures or bad vibes. Capitalizing upon, Gravy released an extremely popular line of product featuring his iconic pineapple-wearing-sunglasses.

O’Brien’s own YouTube, which pivoted later toward the VAL, was better than Gravy’s though not quite as user-friendly.

The aforementioned surf watcher was stunned, then, when seemingly overnight the Pipe Master swung on Gravy’s exposed flank and began opening surf schools, not only attracting but creating VALs. The Jamie O’Brien Experience started quietly on Oahu’s North Shore and then San Diego’s Coronado Island though just opened a front in Waikiki.

Per Hawaii Magazine:

Located in the heart of Waikīkī, the School of Surf is the latest venture of North Shore native and professional surfer Jamie O’Brien.

The School of Surf represents a new concept for O’Brien, following his Surf Experiences at Turtle Bay on the North Shore of Oʻahu and Hotel Del Coronado in San Diego. Unlike the Surf Experiences at Turtle Bay and Coronado, the School of Surf is tailored to provide a fun and affordable experience. What better way to achieve this than at the birthplace of surfing?

While many local surf schools focus on advancing skills, the School of Surf emphasizes providing a fun vibe for first-time surfers through retail, photos, and video.

From seeing O’Brien’s boards on the walls to getting signed posters and even surprise surf lessons, both Jamie’s Surf Experience and School of Surf offer a unique experience that differs from numerous schools in Hawaiʻi and is infused with his personal touches. O’Brien remarks that surfing is the only thing he’s ever known, so sharing that with others is the greatest gift.

“My goal is to be the one-stop surf school when people go to Hawaiʻi,” O’Brien says.

Meanwhile in Camp Gravy, advisors are likely being flogged for failing to establish a beachhead amongst the extremely valuable pre-VAL community. The question being asked by most: Will O’Brien press his advantage and open a school in Gravy’s New Jersey and squash his competition or will he commit the classic blunder and try to invade Russia during winter?

More as the story develops.

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