Stab Magazine | A Sense Of Violent Love!
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A Sense Of Violent Love!

Jamie O’Brien has no problem holding an audience’s attention at Pipeline. He’s a total entertainer, not like Rusty Crowe in Les Miserables, more like Jamie Foxx in Django Unchained. Crazy, reckless, but so alive and daring and vivid that you wonder where all that control comes from and when the toe’s gonna slip over that […]

news // Mar 8, 2016
Words by stab
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Jamie O’Brien has no problem holding an audience’s attention at Pipeline. He’s a total entertainer, not like Rusty Crowe in Les Miserables, more like Jamie Foxx in Django Unchained. Crazy, reckless, but so alive and daring and vivid that you wonder where all that control comes from and when the toe’s gonna slip over that line. But it never does. Stab often wonders about what makes Jamie do things like board transfers at 10 foot Pipe. A thought we wondered aloud over the phone to him today, after he’d spent the morning riding the standing wave in Waimea river. Turns out the answer is boredom.

( Interview below )

Stab: Can we please talk about the Pipeline board transfer last week?
JOB: Oh, classic, huh? I took off, started fading deep ’cause it was kinda angled, then I just faded a bottom turn and… that foamy is pretty much the worst surfboard in the world. I got lucky, I popped right out of the back, instantly. I was stoked on that one. That was my second time trying it on a  big left. I went with the same theory, but on a 10 foot double-up second reef wave. There was so much water drawing off the reef that when I stepped off I didn’t have much speed at that point. It started sucking me high and I was waiting for it to release me, ’cause it was perfect. It was almost a dream wave, then almost turned into a nightmare.

What exactly is the theory? The theory was to go out and see if I could do it, to challenge myself. I made the hard part – well, the first hard part. I pulled it together, it was totally makeable, but my line was just a little up and there was so much water going off the reef that it sucked me up real high.

How often do you get lucky like that and pop outta the back of a Pipe wave? Not very often. Maybe one outta 10 times. But that whole scenario of me catching that perfect second-reef wave was unlikely. That’s probably gonna be the best wave I catch all year. Hopefully I catch a better one, but it was so out of the blue that I paddled out and within five or 10 minutes I had the best wave that came through that morning. I pulled it all together but I almost wish I’d dropped my board. I almost lost it on that takeoff, and then I would’ve packed it on the soft top and made it. But if I hadn’t planned to do that, I wouldn’t have caught that wave. I wouldn’t have been out there. I was just sitting at home like, this is boring, and I had the idea and was like, this is gonna work! So, I was just trying to make it past the shorebreak. Once I did that I just paddled straight to second reef and there it was.

When the Volcom Pipe Pro starts, you gonna even the score with John after last year? I just hope the waves are good and once they’re good, I’m stoked. We’ll see what happens, uh. I’m not gonna let him win.

What does he have out there that you don’t have? He’s a talented surfer with really good wave choice and judgement. It’s just what happens when you’re born and raised on this beach. You know the wave inside and out. He’s won contests and is gonna be winning contests out here for the next 20 years.

Ok, what have you got that he doesn’t have on you out there? If we’re in a heat and we’re paddling back and forth, it should be a pretty even battle. I think we read a lot of the same waves. I got one thing on him. I got the age on him. When a good one comes I kinda look at him like, yeah, this is my wave. And he looks at me like, ‘I hate you’. But if he’s in the spot, he’s in the spot.

Do you ever kinda wish you’d taken the same career route that he’s doing now? I’m so stoked the way I did it. That’s just me in general. Instead of travelling around the world surfing contests at the same locations for the next 20 years, I just go surf wherever I wanna go surf and produce content. To me it’s the dream. It’s great to win contests, it’s a good feeling and you get cheques or trophies… I got enough trophies from winning contests at Pipe. But I don’t feel the need to go chase all that contest shit and get caught up. The whole freesurfing thing, it’s just so casual. If you’re in a contest you wanna win, but if you’re not in a contest you don’t give a shit. If you’re sponsored and you’re not in contention for the world title but you are on the ‘CT, then you’re not gonna get paid more. After the top five, you’re just another number. Aw, I don’t know, maybe top 10. But it’s like, win the fricken world title, what are you doing? – Elliot Struck

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