Jamie O'Brien once had the strangest man ever in surf as his agent. Come and meet!
I dug out an old machine yesterday and it has reams and reams and reams of half-finished writing bits, lost interviews, buried personalities, flotsam and jetsam.
Jamie O’Brien once had the strangest man to ever dance through this surf world as his agent. I spent lots of time with him and could never quite decide if he was an untethered genius or disturbed giant. Just like Ignatius J. Reilly.
He confused absolutely anyone he came across. Confounded them. And yet he made Jamie into a surf personality. Like or hate, Jamie has succeeded far above what was rightfully his.
Anyone who came across this man in this surf world has stories. If you do tell it to me in the comments!
Here is one of mine recording the first time we met.
The orange Australian is wedged, semi-comfortably, between table and un-upholstered bench, in a private dining suite. His girth necessitates an economy of movement. Chopsticks held in hand, brought to mouth. Champagne flute, held in other, brought to mouth. There is a sort of general stillness, except for the hands and the mouth.
“And mate. Don’t go fucken telling me for one fucken minute that digi-cammo would not sell. Look. Parkour requires both dexterity and the ability to get lost in a crowd. The whole fucken art was started to allude fucken autoritarian figures. It, like digi-cammo, is born out of functionality, not some sort of bull fucken shit fashion bourgeoisie mentality.”
A double extra-large Spike Lee dressed as Mars Blackman peers, menacingly, from a well-washed black t-shirt.
“But parkour is uncool.” I retort. He snorts and grabs for a delicate piece of Kobe beef.
It is thus how I meet Andrew Long. I am jet-lagged from a longer than expected flight from Sydney to Tokyo. I always had the two cities close. Maybe it is because I heard stories of Japanese designs on Australia during WWII and figured Sydney to be the target. Baz Luhrmann corrected me later in the epic Australia.
The private dining suite is located at the topmost floor of a Ginza high-rise. It’s lacquered black sliding door opens periodically and a demure Japanese boy enters with either more entrees or more drinks. Sake, sushi, Dom Perignon. The entire meal is on the hotel. Last time Andrew ate here a cockroach was found in his soba.
“The fucken surf industry is not even smart enough to fucken know that the surfers on the tour cannot move product. Best case scenario, a surfer who rides for a brand wins. Nobody will buy more of that brand thanks to the victory. Worst case scenario, a surfer who rides for a brand loses and everybody stops buying that brand thanks to perceived fucken taint.”
The lacquered black sliding door opens again and a nonplussed manager is standing with another bottle of Dom Perignon. Andrew keeps talking, spitting little fishlets out of his orange mouth.
“The fucken surf industry…blah blah blah.”