Or at least totally destroy the World Title race!
Today is the day! Or maybe tomorrow, but let’s hope today. It is like Christmas morning for the professional surf fan. The promise of big, unruly Pipe thrills. Every possibility hovers but in looking at the heat draw there is one thing that thrills me more than others and its name is Jamie O’Brien.
Maybe some of you are unaware that I once directed an award-winning film called Who is JOB some years back. I did not come up with the name, it was forced upon me, but the subject was almost too delicious. Jamie had/still has to some extent, a funny reputation but he is nothing if not easy to work with. I lived in his house for the early part of the filming right there on Pipeline’s sands. Every morning I’d wake and there it would be. Pipeline. It is one of the few things in this world, I can honestly say, where familiarity does not breed contempt. It was as captivating each time.
And Jamie would surf it with such wacky comfort. Such bizarre ease. It’s not like the kid has had a cupcake run out there either. Both his legs have been broken by Pipe’s reef. Both of them. Watching him surf it, day in and day out, also captivated. I watched him in all sorts of conditions, catching all sorts of waves. I’ve seen him pack the biggest closeouts and toss pointless airs on the inside section. And today, or maybe tomorrow, I want to see him win.
It was fun to direct his film because he is as carefree with himself as he is in his surfing. The magnificent Dayten Likness, an artist who truly breathed life into the film, and I took all the footage and ran to California when it was time to edit. Jamie saw none of it, zero, until the night it premiered.
And now, five years on, he has made it back into the Pipeline Masters. Jack Robinson received the praise for winning the trials but it was Jamie O that I cheered for. Look at him, slotted into heat 5 against Filipe Toledo and Kolohe Andino. Filipe, ranked 2nd in the world, has a legit shot of winning the title. But there, by the grace of God, goes Jamie O. And how sad is Filipe right now? Of all the damn people to draw.
Hopefully he will chew right through the World Surf League rankings and leave a giant mess in his wake. That will be fun for all.