Ben Tuff grew up splitting his time between Atlanta, GA and Jamestown, RI. He is one of six kids and has an identical twin brother named Chris. Ben’s sport of choice was soccer and he played competitively for Lovett and his club team keeping the Tuff family legacy alive by playing goalkeeper. He attended Colby College where he met his now wife, Gretchen and treasured his times working at a sailing instructor and boat captain in the British Virgin Islands. Instead of playing soccer, Ben enjoyed skiing and playing recreational soccer and taking part in the all the other recreational activities that come with the college experience.
Between Jamestown and the BVI, Ben developed a lifelong appreciation for the ocean. Ben is a lifelong educator and has had the privilege of working with hundreds of boarding students from across the world. Upon graduating from Colby, Ben became a teacher at two Junior Boarding Schools and two boarding high schools. Caught up in the pressures of boarding school life, Ben found that his dependence on alcohol steadily increased to an addiction. In 2012, Ben made the life-altering decision to break free of the hold that the addiction to alcohol had on him. After five weeks in the rehabilitation hospital Silver Hill, Ben was ready to head into the world without looking back.
Despite not knowing how to swim, the sport of triathlon arrived quickly in his life. After seven years of competitive triathlon, Ben made the switch to marathon swimming. Despite not being able to swim a single lap, Ben discovered that with a little time, energy, and dedication, he could improve his distance. After many crossings from Newport, RI to Jamestown, RI on Save the Bay Swims, Ben throttled it up with the 12.5 Miles FKCC Swim Around Key West. After that, he couldn’t stop and completed a 21-mile swim around Jamestown, a 19-mile swim from Block Island to Jamestown, and most recently swimming the length of Narragansett Bay by swimming 24 miles from Providence, RI to Jamestown, RI. Esteemed producer, Matt Corliss, chronicled Ben’s journey to sobriety and the parallels of his recent swim. The film, “Swim Tuff: How I Swam my Way Out of the Bottle” is projected to be released Spring 2023.
For Ben, swimming has become an outlet where he processes life’s problems and appreciate the peace of moving in the water. Ben’s goal of making this movie and getting the message of addiction out to the world is to destigmatize the topic while giving hope to those who suffer or knows someone who suffers from addiction. When not giving speeches or screenings of the movie, Ben lives in Peru, Vermont with his wife Gretchen and two children, Wyatt and Maisie.