"I'm so afraid of big waves," says Poopies. "And everything got really scary on the show. We were going to big-wave spots and I'm not a big wave surfer. Jamie is, but for me it's terrifying. I just try and make the best out of it and charge as hard as I can."

Candid: My Dangerous Friendship with Jamie O’Brien

Jamie O'Brien's fall guy Sean "Poopies" McInerny on surfing 10-foot Pipe tandem on a soft-top… 

If you had the good fortune to be on the North Shore yesterday you would’ve seen, and maybe ridden, an eight-foot spring swell. A lot of sand around, sure, so there’s that summertime backwash feel about it, but relatively uncrowded Pipe was yours for the snatching.

Sean “Poopies” McInerney, Jamie O’Brien’s  crazy sidekick in the Who is JOB series, celebrated the surprise arrival of a big swell by paddling out, with Jamie, on an eight-foot Catch Surf board, both in speedos.

Their goal? To catch a set tandem. If anything they figured they’d get some dazzling footage for the new 10-episode season of Who is JOB 5.0, premiering May 1.

“It was bombing,” says Poopies. “It was eight-to-10-feet, coming from Second Reef and just… flexing… right on the reef. We wore Speedos. I finally got Jamie to wear some cheetah Speedos and then we charged it. He was in the back, I was in the front. My legs were spread and he was up in my…uh… butt area. He said, ‘Don’t fart! If you fear it’s over!’ I had three foot of surfboard in front of me to work with. We both paddled super hard and we had four arms so it was good getting into the bombs.

“We caught a couple and the tandem thing was working out okay so we said, let’s wait for a bomb. Forty-five minutes later, it came. We started paddling for it and we got stuck at the top. We were both standing up, grabbing rail. I call it synchronised surfing. So we get stuck at the top. I’m trying to stick the rail into the face and get down the wave. It was a really, really good wave and we tried to make it and then Jamie jumped off. I was still grabbing rail and got super sideways and fell off.

“I got so pounded it was gnarly. I got pinned against the reef. It wouldn’t let me up. I got pounded every time I tried to get to the surface. The lifeguards, I heard later, were tripping! It was nuts! I popped up 50 yards down the line. It was definitely one of the best waves I’ve ever caught at Pipe. I wish we’d made it. In the end it was the wipeout of the winter.”

In case y’didn’t know, Poopies is originally from Carlsbad, California and earned his nickname as a 13-year-old after a Jackass-inspired stunt where he evacuated his bowels at a busy intersection (he was arrested). Poopies moved to the North Shore six years ago, rented a room from Jamie O, got pall-y with Jamie, and he soon became the second-biggest star of Who is JOB.

It’s a dangerous friendships, howevs.

“I’m so afraid of big waves,” says Poopies. “And everything got really scary on the show. We were going to big-wave spots and I’m not a big wave surfer. Jamie is but for me it’s terrifying. I just try and make the best out of it and charge as hard as I can.”

Still, Jamie is there with the tools to keep his pal alive. “He puts a flotation vest on me and says, ‘Poops, dude, this thing will let you pop to the top no matter what’.”

Pals 4 life!

Micro Hall and Kolohe Andino
Micro and Kolohe kick for safety, round two, at the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro 2015. A very not high-scoring heat, Micro's 5.94 points to Kolohe's 4.90. The lowest heat total this year, maybe ever. | Photo: Morgan Maassen

Kolohe: “Let’s hear what you gotta say now, haters!”

The sun will shine on you once again, Kolohe Andino...

There was once young man alone in a foreign bed in a foreign country. Salt water and kangaroo droppings burned his eyes and sleep was nowhere to be found even though the digital bedside clock read 1:37 am. He flipped the pillow then flipped again but it did not help. The sleeplessness was born of frustration, you see. Frustration and an Australian by way of Ireland who sounded like a Muppet.

His phone, next to the digital clock, buzzed. It buzzed again. He picked it up and looked at the glowing screen and saw an average assortment of messages, emails, missed calls. Nothing inspiring.

He scrolled onto Instagram and still nothing inspiring. Nothing inspired. His frustration bubbled. It was turning into a volcano and soon and his thumbs began to fly across the sapphire glass, posting a message to his followers but mostly to himself.

“onward and forward?” It began. “no. i aint happy with my results. i dont feel good about them. i hate losing. some things have gotta change. i gotta build better habbits. work harder. simplify my damn life. lets hear what you gotta say now haters. nothing i haven’t already heard. never did it for you anyways. did it cause i love it. 1:37am here and i cant sleep. leave me alone while i work. i can do all things through christ who strengthens me. and i will.”

He put his phone back, lay down and stared at the ceiling waiting for sleep. Waiting for morning so he could begin again.

And I wish I could have been hovering in the bushes outside his window, maybe a bouquet of wilted daisies in my hand, because I would have whispered “Buck up!” through the venetian blinds. I would have whispered, “Few have carried such a burden of expectation so lightly and so easily as you. Few have remained both hungry and unaffected. The throngs will, no doubt, have advice. ‘Don’t try so hard!’ They will tell you or ‘Don’t worry!’ or ‘You’re great just the way you are!’ But you know better than them what you need to do. Fire Mike Parsons! He seems like a tool. What? You already did? Great! Then you’re well on your way. Goodnight sweet Kolohe. May Rio de Janeiro bring glory.”

Do you have severe social vanity?

I do. Just look at my smug face!

The first time I went to Saturdays, New York City’s finest surf shop and maybe finest label, back in 2009 or 2010 I thought it was dumb. I thought, “This ain’t real because it ain’t Orange County.” As far as I was concerned, if a brand/shop/idea didn’t spring from Costa Mesa/Newport/Huntington’s fertile soil then it wasn’t an accurate reflection of core American surf. I was, in fact, the dumb one and have since come to realize that Orange County, for all its past Volcom shine, is now an ugly, stale backwater. The boys at Saturdays are busily creating a vision of surf that transcends the dull, conservative same ol’ same ol’. I don’t even think they know where Orange County is and God bless them for it.

They produce, alongside an epic white marino sweater with ribbed cuffs and hem, a seasonal magazine with zero advertisements and the most interesting people in the world like Francis Ford Coppola, Duane Michaels, Olaf Bruening, Balaram Stack, Lucien Smith, Grant Ellis, Jeff Johnson and Lucy Walker. The magazine effortlessly weaves surfing into a broader cultural narrative, looking neither try-hard nor tacky. It is brilliant. Especially the person on page 98. His name is Chas Smith.

You can buy it here for $25. And if you happen to have your copy when you see me across a crowded room I will sign it for free.

P.S. The gorgeous photo was taken by none other than Curious Gabe. Do you remember him? He used to and maybe still does feature in every Surfer Magazine asking questions and driving a green VW bus. Did you know he is a very accomplished photographer? That he is tall and handsome and kind and smart? That he married a model and she is beautiful and his children are also beautiful? That he is very close to perfect? I didn’t either.

Great White Shark
Of course it's easier said that done. But, the game is this: "Just make a rope lasso. Let the fish swim through the noose and when the rope passes those iconic, collectable, priceless jaws and just before it reaches the dorsal fin, pull tight."

How to kill a Great White!

Only hypothetically, of course… 

Killing a Great White shark isn’t that hard. These peerless, top-of-the-chain tanks are just as vulnerable as the surfers, the swimmers and the scuba divers they’re suddenly killing with unprecedented regularity.

Just make a rope lasso. Let the fish swim through the noose and when the rope passes those iconic, collectable, priceless jaws and just before it reaches the dorsal fin, pull tight.

Four, maybe five minutes, and the White is dead. Hanged.

“Get ’em on the hook and they go neanderthal,” says a shark fisherman who wisely prefers anonymity and asks that I don’t reveal his home port. “Use a powerhead and if you hit the wrong spot the spot the shark’s going to take off with half its face blown off. Of course, the lasso method ain’t perfect, either. Use the wrong people and they can get dragged over the side.”

I’d called this particular shark fisherman for a few ideas on why he thought Great White attacks had surged in Western Australia in the last dozen years.  Turned out he doesn’t just have a theory on the dramatic increase in Great Whites in Western Australia, he’s positive its due to the AFMA (the Australian Fisheries Management Authority) shutting down vast areas of fishing areas to gill nets because of the by-catch of Australian fur seals and Great Whites.

What fisheries didn’t know was that skippers were under-calling the number of Whites coming up in the nets; the skippers afraid they’d be shut down if fisheries knew just how many Whites were destroyed as by-catch. In the end, they were closed, anyway. The irony is, if fisheries knew just how many Whites were coming up, perhaps the White wouldn’t have been regarded as a threatened and endangered species.

“Think about this,” he says. “Ten years ago, there were nine or 10 boats operating and killing 200-to-300 Pointers a year. We were allowed to have an incidental catch of Pointers. They’d get tangled in the nets and come up dead. Now, say, if we work with a conservative kill figure of 200, and 50 of these Whites are mature, and of those 50, 25 are female, they are going to have one baby every two years. So, instead of the population growing like it was, or sustaining at a certain level, it’s blowing out. It’s growing faster and faster. The number of Pointers is increasing dramatically.”

As we speak, he texts me a clip of a five-metre White attacking his boat, taken the day before on his iPhone. “This thing was breaking its teeth off on the boat,” he says.

As to the WA government’s pledge to ice rogue sharks, he’s sceptical. “What’s going to happen? What sorta red tape do they have to go through before they can kill? By the time they sort that out, it’s in fucking Esperance.”

Stare out at the Indian Ocean, combed perfectly clean by an offshore easterly wind. The deepest most electric blue is affixed to the whitest sand in the world. A few swimmers complete their morning exercise so close the beach their hands graze the bottom.

Just like Amity Island in the movie Jaws, Western Australia is a state with a difficult choice.

“What they need to do,” says the shark fisherman, “is to anchor any Whites they catch near the beach. The other Great Whites won’t go near it. When we’re fishing, we don’t throw sharks heads over the side because it scares the fish on the bottom. Think about it. You’re having a party and someone throws a body into it. The party’s over.”

Or you can follow the sage advice from Surf Lifesaving WA: “To reduce the likelihood of contact with a shark: Leave the water immediately if a shark is sighted.”

Says the fisherman: “It’s only a matter of time before attacks surge again. That’s if people stay in the water. If they don’t, problem solved.”

Do you have severe social incompetence?

And do you also want to look like you have severe social incompetence?

Are you uncool but do you also want to look uncool? Then have I got the web store for you! The Inertia, surf website for aging liberal men with neither love nor prospect for love, is having a sale. “So soft…” their motto goes “…so salty.”

A pullover in Eco-Black costs $39 (the “eco” comes from 6.25% recycled polyester and 6.25% organic cotton. “Eco” seems like it might be a stretch but when your market is aging liberal men you do what you must do).

The Henley, in heather grey, costs $34 dollars and does not include any percentages recycled or organic.

The women’s sweatshirt, also in Eco-Black, costs $39 too but it could cost anywhere from $0.50 to $1,000 and sell the same, which is to say zero because aging liberal men with neither love nor prospect of love have no need for a women’s sweatshirt.

The sale ends April 30th and so if you never want to get laid again hurry! Supplies are, certainly, limited. Shop here now!