Jamie O’Brien Does Proust

I want to die of a head wound at Pipe, says the ever-candid Jamie O… 

Jamie O’Brien is a thirty-ish surfer from Pipeline, yeah actually from Pipe, who threw away a probable career on tour to chase… laughs. Pro surfer or free surfer? Jamie figured he’d find a third way, in his case, creating the online web series Who is JOB, now into its fifth year.

For Jamie, it was a way of turning his life on the North Shore with his pack of goofy pals, which let’s face it, ain’t that serious, into a serious career alternative. And, Jamie wasn’t down with how surfing had become even more serious since his ASP rule book burning days.

“Everyone’s just kinda hipster and wants out of being fun,” says Jamie. “Who is JOB is like Volcom and …Lost in the early days. Everyone is so f**king serious! Surfing’s not what it was in the ’90s and 2000’s, it’s lost that whole punk rock, rockstar vibe, which made surfing really cool.”

But he knows – he gets it– that it’s given his career a second wind. “It’s definitely given me more traction in my career. And it’s a still a surf career but it’s… fun. That’s what you get from thinking outside of the box a little. And people respond to the underlying message which is, let’s do stupid stuff! Let’s surf and have fun! Everyone embraces it. I have five-year-old kids coming up to me. I have people older than me coming up to me to talk about Who Is Job. I do what I do and I surf and my friends may not be the best surfers abut we have the best time. I just love it. Every day I wake up and think, this is so fucking rad, man. I just think of the stupidest things to do and get shacked.”


Now let’s see how he responds to the Proust questionnaire…

Your favourite virtue: Honesty.

Your favourite qualities in a man: Self-reliance.

Your favourite qualities in a woman: Self-respect and a desire to protect her personal virtue.

Your chief characteristic: I’m straight-forward.

What you appreciate the most in your friends: Loyalty.

Your main fault: Drinking beer.

Your favourite occupation: Surfing.

Your idea of happiness: Home, Pipeline. Not travelling.

Your idea of misery: Small waves.

If not yourself, who would you be? One of my friends at home. Just a normal human being hanging out.

Where would you like to live? Pipeline. North Shore. Hawaii. If you grow up somewhere that’s spot-on you don’t ever want to leave.

Your favourite real-life heroes: Anyone with a story and a well-rounded life, Greg Noll, Jimmy Blears, Dave Wassel, Shane Dorian.

Your favourite musicians: Life is too simple to worry about the musicians in the world.

Your favourite food and drink: Newcastle beer is my favourite drink and my favourite food is Poke.

What you hate the most: Liars.

World history characters you hate the most: Kim Jong-il.

The natural talent you’d most like to be gifted with: To be a professional BMX rider.

How you wish to die: Head wound at Pipe.

What is your present state of mine: Positive.

Your favourite motto: Living the dream.

David Carson
Don't you just love a man who can swing his talent into the world, blow minds, and then retreat behind the walls of the perfect surf lifestyle?

Surfer Named 18th Best Designer in History!

Ahead of Gaudi, Marcel Breuer, Arne Jacobsen and superstar architect Zaha Hadid… 

The graphic designer David Carson is a loose naturalfooter who was smart enough, years ago, to buy a dreamy spread overlooking an equally dreamy righthander on a Caribbean island.

So he works, he travels, but he comes home to his divine patch to ride mostly uncrowded green water rights. He invites shapers like Dan Tomson, famous lately for his collaboration with Kelly Slater and Firewire surfboards, to come and ride and play and design.

A surfer to the bone.

Recently, he was voted the 18th most influential designer in history by Complex magazine.

(Click here to read) 

In his foamy wake are the Spanish architect Antonio Gaudi, the great modernist Marcel Breuer, the Danish designer of the Swan and Egg Chair, Arne Jacbson and the superstar architect  Zaha Hadid.

Only one rung ahead of Dave is the husband-and-wife team Charles and Ray Eames, whose chairs have become the most pirated in the world.

Don’t you just love a man who can swing his talent into the world, blow minds, and retreat into the perfect surf lifestyle? It gets better. BeachGrit, a fan of Carson since he turned fusty Surfer magazine into the hippest thing alive, overnight, in 1991, asked him to create a new WSL logo, just for you, just for me, after he called it “silly and embarrassing.”

(Read here) 

It’s coming, too! Soon!

I’m getting close, even have a few logos designed,” he said yesterday. 

New talent from Maui sets art world on fire!

Invest now, says Shia LaBouef.

Pharrow Stevens, creating under the name PeauxDoodles, is a 25 year-old from Haiku, Maui who likes to surf, eat snowcones and collect shells (maybe). He is also one of the hottest up and coming artists in the world. His works, bright and often ridiculous, adorn many young actors’/musicians’ walls in Hollywood and many club promoters’ ceilings in Miami Beach. Shia LaBeouf was recently overheard telling Miles Teller “…invest in fucking Pharrow. He is the new Basquiat and the old Warhol. He is the fucking NOW and LATER.”

But thankfully for us he really likes to surf and so BeachGrit was loaned an original artwork depicting the state of the modern day professional scene.

Here we see Taj Burrows carrying Kelly Slater carrying Gabby Medina. I like it because it feels that these are the faces that should be carved on our Mt. Rushmore at this very moment. Taj represents perpetual youth better than anyone. Kelly is, of course, Kelly and Gabs is the outer band of the Brazilian Storm.

Pharrow says his goal is to, “Start an animation studio on Maui with a bunch of other artists.” And his favorite surfer is, “Mason Ho. I love the video he made at Ala Moana bowls with the Don Julian song.”

His work is fresh and brilliant but not all agree. Art critic Robert Hughes wrote, before he died:

“Pharrow’s career appeals to a cluster of toxic vulgarities. First, to the racist idea of the Hawaiian as naif or as rhythmic innocent, and to the idea of the Hawaiian artist as ‘instinctual,’ outside ‘mainstream’ culture, and therefore not to be judged by it: a wild pet for the recently cultivated white. Second, to a fetish about the infallible freshness of youth, blooming amid the discos of the Haiku scene. Third, to an obsession with novelty—the husk of what used to be called the avant-garde, now only serving the need for new ephemeral models each year to stoke the market- Fourth, to the slide of art criticism into promotion, and of art into fashion. Fifth, to the jrt-investment mania, which abolished the time for reflection on a ‘hot’ artist’s actual merits; never were critics and collectors more scared of missing the bus than in the early ‘2008s. And sixtb, to tbe audience’s goggling appetite for self-destructive talent (Pollock, Hendrix, Montgomery Clift). All this gunk rolled into a sticky ball around Pharrow’s tiny talent and produced a reputation.”

Such venom is a sure sign of great things to come.

Mick Fanning drops in on John John Florence
"One of the most significant moments of Mick’s (2013) year came at the business end of his Round 4 spar with Nat Young and John John Florence," wrote Surfing magazine's Brendan Buckley. "It was a no-losers heat, in which 1st place goes straight to Quarterfinals and 2nd and 3rd head to to Round 5. To state the obvious, Mick paddled out with intentions to win the heat — but John John’s 16.37 points got in the way of that. With 21 seconds left, John held priority as a decent Pipe wave approached. He hooked into it, grabbed rail and set up for his umpteenth barrel. Then Mick dropped in on him. It was uncharacteristic for a man of such poise. Mick hasn’t been slapped with an interference all year — and he gets one on John John, at Pipe? Was it an act of desperation, hoping that John John was going right? Cute theory, but we think not. If Mick had placed second in that heat, his title-deciding draw would have looked a whole lot different. He’d have been against Julian Wilson in Round 5 and, gasp, John John Florence in the Quarters. Mick knew exactly what he was doing when he burnt."

Opinion: Ethics and The Strategic Round Four Loss

It ain't cheating, exactly. But it sucks… 

It’s a funny thing when an obvious problem escapes notice…  

It’s no secret that competitors can influence their heat draws by throwing Round Four. Fanning used it to his advantage during the 2013 Pipe Masters, tossing a shoulder -hop drop in at John John in the dying minutes of the heat, knocking himself from second to third, and changing his draw from Julian Wilson in Round Five and an on fire John John in the Quarters to CJ Hobgood in Round Five and Yadin Nicole in the Quarters.

Not an easy setup, but nowhere near as insurmountable. And it was good tactics. Fanning won his heats, the contest, and the title.

(Read Surfing magazine’s story here.)

Call it what you want, sandbagging, match fixing… it sucks. As spectators we want to see guys and gals surf their best, scuttling a heat to ease your path to victory easier is lame, nothing Spartan-like about it at all.

But it ain’t cheating, and that’s what’s important.

Sure, you could say that the use of tactics over ability is weak and boring and leads to people who don’t deserve to win hogging space in the winners’ circle, but that wouldn’t be fair. Professional surfing is a sport and a job and you can’t really blame an athlete for doing whatever it takes to win, especially when they are operating within the rules. Even more especially when the title is on the line.

Which is why Stephanie Gilmore’s plan to skip her Round Four heat to save energy and baby an injury exposes a huge loophole in the WSL rules that needs to be closed immediately.

I’m not trying to assign some nefarious motive to Gilmore’s actions. She was hurt and wanted time to recover, and the fact that she withdrew from the event entirely prior to Round Five goes to show she’s no malingerer. But the fact that the current WSL rules allow skipped heats can only lead to more competitors taking that path in the future.

Fortunately, it’s an easy fix.

Treat a missed heat like what it is: a forfeit. If an injury is truly severe enough to warrant a skipped heat it’s unwise, and unsafe, to allow a surfer to continue later in the event.  Being given a short chance to rest up, only to exacerbate something that would have healed on its own, isn’t something either viewers or the WSL wants.

It is in the surfers’ interests as well. Events missed due to injury provide the surfer the minimum number of points, but absolutely zero prize money.

And I know some lower seeds could use that cash.

Quiksilver True Wetsuits
Today, Quiksilver Japan unveiled their new wetsuit/apparel mash-up: TRUE WETSUITS! That's right, modern suits—complete with crisp-looking button down and and a tac-sharp tie. They even offer a tuxedo model! I can't imagine how Bondian one must feel getting barreled in a tuxedo…

You Won’t Believe Quiksilver’s New Wetsuits!

Quiksilver Japan's new wetsuit line is insane, perfect, desirable, sexy! Senseless awesome beauty!

I’m widely considered a relatively well-dressed man. I mind my style. I stay sharp. I know a few things about a few things: good leather boots, tailored shirts, fine selvedge fabrics, natural dyes, varieties of collars, hems, cuts, and trims.

Which is tough, as a surfer. Because wetsuits, by and large, are just about the most unpleasant looking garments I don regularly. They’re not flattering to my generous thighs and derriere. They tend to bunch up around my mid-section, presenting a deceptively chubby silhouette to a public that really should be gazing upon the bronzed first trimester of a whiskey gut.

But today my life changed. Today all is right in my world. Because today Quiksilver Japan unveiled their new wetsuit/apparel mash-up: TRUE WETSUITS!

That’s right, modern suits, complete with crisp-looking button down and and a tac-sharp tie. They even offer a tuxedo model! I can’t imagine how Bondian one must feel getting barreled in a tuxedo!(Come to think about it, they should sell the suits with flasks! That’s my second grievance with surfing! There’s few options available for mid-session boozing! And I surf so much better shithouse drunk!)

Here’s some very Japanese details, all (sic):

“TRUE WETSUITS,” the 1st suit of its kind in the world, which can be worn on business occasions, for parties, and, of course, surfing.

The “TRUE WETSUITS” is designed for both business and surfing.

The “TRUE WETSUITS” is designed to fit every aspect of users’ lives to make both life and surfing more fun. A must-have item for the busy, modern person.

The “TRUE WETSUITS” is not only an authentic, high quality wetsuit, but also a “suits” that can be worn on business occasions.

The “TRUE WETSUITS” is available with three styles – black, navy, and tuxedo, that is appropriate even for business occasions after surfing. The “black” and “navy” models feature a single breasted two-button jacket that can be worn casually.

The jacket and pants are made of a 2mm super high-stretch jersey neoprene, the same fabric we use to make regular wetsuits.

Two antique silver buttons are used on the front of the jacket and plastic dot buttons are used on the cuffs.

The jacket also features side vents to allow a comfortable posture while waiting for waves.

The shirt has been designed with a dress shirt silhouette and a crisp collar to create a formal impression.

Alas, the suits, which take two months to be produced once ordered, cost  300,000 yen, which if you aren’t up on exchange rates is like, I dunno, a million euros, or fifty billion pesos or something.

No, wait, I googled it: It’s $2,513.33. Which is $.33 more than my current Bondian wetsuit budget.

But if anyone over at Quiksilver Japan is reading this, and I’m sure they are, I’m a 42 jkt, 33 pants, I look damned good in a tux, and even better in the water. San Francisco’s surfer boys will just love my steez.

Click here to order.