One year after cheating death in freak surfing accident, Jamie O’Brien triumphantly GoPro’s his Vans Pipe Masters heat!

"Death is always just a stone's throw away!"

Last Hawaiian winter, the carrot-topped king of Pipeline Jamie O’Brien, a forty-year-old man who looks like a hamburger on a griddle, was almost killed in a freak accident at the Waimea rivermouth.

Do you remember?

The famous Waimea River had become swollen like never before following wild rains and locals had opened it up to create the biggest rivermouth waves ever seen.

Jamie O’Brien tried to ride it only to be sucked out to sea and when he eventually returned he said he’d almost died.

“Gnarliest experience ever,” said Jamie O’Brien. “I got sucked into the vortex of all vortexes! I knew that it was going to be the biggest river wave ever ridden. It was sending me everywhere. I was like, ‘Don’t fall on this, Jamie. Don’t fall.’ I couldn’t control my board, and I honestly just fell right back. It’s like a 10 or 12 foot wave, and it sucked me back. Then there was another wave, and it was just as big, and I’m like, ‘oh my god. I’m gonna die. My leash is gonna break. I’m in a very bad spot.”

Despite the brush with mortality, not his first let’s add for who can forget the terrible day when Mr O’Brien was almost slaughtered on rocks at Waikiki, today we find our second-favourite vlogger using his GoPro to give his fans a taste of what it’s like to surf in the Pipe Masters.

And, more than surfing the heat, but what it’s like to be Jamie O’Brien, with all the fans, the endless requests for selfies and autographs and a man who looks like he never forgets to butter his muffins telling Jamie he’ll give him anything he wants and that he’s going to DM him about something or other.

In the heat, alongside Koa Rothman, Eli Olson and Makai McNamara, the viewer sees everything Jamie O’Brien sees. We take off into what might be a heat winner but the force of the blowback sends the 2004 Pipe Master tumbling.

We get caught inside, our breathing becomes laboured, we feel the turbulence of the most dangerous wave in the world.

Eventually, we survive only to be accosted by more surf fans and are soon forced to flee the beach to our modest home one hundred feet from the sand.



Epic surf-sail adventure “Calypte” hailed as surf film of the year!

"The brutal honesty of this surf film melds with nuanced passion to create a staggering emotional intensity…"

The surf film Calypte documents the epic voyage of Mr Torren Martyn, an Australian who touches the clouds at six-feet-two and who only rides twin-fin surfboards shaped by Simon Jones, and surfer-writer Aiyana Powell, from Thailand to East Indonesia.

The pair have been asked by Martyn’s long estranged Daddy to deliver his thirty-five foot yacht from its home in Thailand to Indo with no time limit stipulated.

The message: get a little wind in those dirty old sails and enjoy testing yourselves, kids, and make one helluva surf film.

Neither Martyn nor Powell are sailors of great skill. Their experience but a few days fooling around on a training boat on a flat-water lake and shadowing Need Essentials owner Ryan Scanlon on his little yacht just offshore from the Yamba marine where he lives, or did last time I spoke to him.

Over the course of one year the pair are tested by the sea, by the weather and by the wild Indian Ocean.

“Our first night watches were intimidating to say the least,” writes Aiyana. “I didn’t know how to interpret the different coloured lights and found it difficult to determine how close other boats were or tell which way they were going. We had to learn how to use the AIS and navigate around the many fishing boats, some that were towing big nets. The shrimp boats were easy to see, but some of the bottom trawlers were not well lit and looked like proper pirate ships silhouetted in the night sky. It didn’t help that this area used to be notorious for actual pirates, and leading up to the trip we had heard lots of stories. It’s definitely a vulnerable feeling to be floating in foreign oceans on a small boat with literally no idea what you’re doing and imagine having to fight off real life pirates.”

Their surf film bona fides are well known, however.

And, Torren surfs, as you know, with the sort of flash and glitz that has made him a cult favourite; Aiyana, meanwhile, is sensational in her smooth cameos.

The brutal honesty of this surf film melds with nuanced passion to create a staggering emotional intensity, culminating in a resolve that is nothing less than heartbreaking.


BIPOC “Queen of Crazy” Mason Ho dominates insane Black Friday session at Waimea Bay!

While other surfers are shaken like dolls in the big waves, Mason Ho coolly slips into the twenty-footers as if he were putting on a pair of silk pyjamas.

In this short film by Mason Ho’s faithful film jockey Riordan Pringle, we find his master madly jack-knifing multiple sets at Waimea Bay during last week’s Black Friday swell.

Mason Ho coolly slips into the the twenty-foot waves as if he were putting on a pair of silk pyjamas and pillow-propping himself against the headboard of his upholstered Californian king and glancing at the winking diamond face of his Patek Philippe.

Other surfers are less lucky, shaken like dolls, heads banged against the water until their eyes cloud.

Mason Ho is delivered to the famous Bay by his daddy Michael Ho, “one of the world’s best tuberiders in the mid- and late ’70s (he helped invent the “pigdog” tuberiding technique)”, although Daddy Ho decides discretion is the better part of valour and decides not to attend the crowded lineup.

If you want to see sixty-seven-year-old Michael Ho at his indestructible best click here. First wave, hands behind the back set at Backdoor cut to Black Magic Women, Santana. Epic.

But, back to Mason Ho.

“The way his brain works is a lot different than any of my other friends,” says Kolohe Andino. “It’s refreshing to hang out with him, and get him talking about something. It’s like he’s a complete innocent. My friends and I might get eggy about something, but I’ve never heard him bum out. He gives me some of the best vibes I’ve ever felt.”

Kelly Slater says that Mason Ho is “so psyched and happy sometimes I think he’s putting it on, and messing with everyone. But he’s always just that way. He’s a cross between in-control and in-awe at all times.”

Mason Ho has a safety word he uses if the situation ever gets sticky. “When shit gets bad,” he says, “I think of this one word, imua. And, it means, ‘to move forward.’ It’s an ancient Hawaiian saying. They’d use it right before they went to war, or begin a march. When I’m down, I yell that out instead of ‘Fuck!’ I yell, ‘Imua!’ I mean, I don’t if there’re people around. That would be corny. I ain’t a hundred percent Hawaiian, but it feels good to think about it.”

After the session Mason Ho sits in the tray of Daddy Ho’s pickup, wide-chest still dewy with Pacific Ocean, heaving smoothly.


Surfer Filipe Toledo pulls curtain back on family in intensely personal documentary

“All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”

In the second instalment of Filipe Toledo’s docuseries Peace and Power, the two-time and reigning world champ has gifted surf fans a wildly personal glimpse into his life in San Clemente with his extended family.

Here we find Filipe Toledo, artist wife Ananda Marçal, children Mahina and Koa along with Daddy Ricardo and mammy Mari in their sprawling Orange County compound, living as only a happy family can, connected by blood and love.

The scenes of Filipe Toledo and his little boy Koa reveal a father and his progeny in the beginning stages of that crucial relationship between father and son. Father is provider, role-model, teacher, authority figure but also the little boy’s guide to the true nature of love and the provider of maps to success and happiness.

(Although, to quote Sherwood Anderson, “You can’t always be too fussy about what you say to a young boy. Really, sometimes, you should take him into your confidence, into your life, make him a part of your life.”)

Watch as father and son embrace when Filipe exits the water. As grandaddy Ricardo cradles the boy as the family sits around the outdoor fire pit.

If you’ve got boys, what kind of father are you?

Are you leaving ’em with smudges, cracks or totally broken?

You ever get haunted by quotes?

Michael Chabon got me real good in his book Manhood for Amateurs.

“Sooner or later, you will discover which kind of father you are, and at that moment you will, with perfect horror, recognize the type. You are the kind of father who fakes it, who yells, who measures his children with greatest accuracy only against one another, who evades the uncomfortable and glosses over the painful and pads the historic records of his sorrows and accomplishments alike. You are the kind who teases and deceives and toys with his children and subjects them to displays of rich and manifold sarcasm when–as is always the case–sarcasm is the last thing they need. You are the kind of father who pretends knowledge he doesn’t possess, and imposes information with implacable gratuitousness, and teaches lessons at the moment when none can be absorbed, and is right, and has always been right, and always will be right until the end of time, and never more than immediately after he has been wrong. And when your daughter’s body begins to betray her, and her sky flickers in the distance with the heat lightning of sex, you clear your throat and stroke your chin whiskers and tell her to go ask her mother. You can’t help it–you’re a walking cliché.”

Surfer of the year Nathan Florence reveals secret to duckdiving world’s heaviest waves

Deep water, shallow water, ledge or beachbreak, Nathan gonna get you under!

The American Nathan Florence, surfer of the year, a man sometimes referred to as Nathan Fletcher, has a well-deserved reputation for extraordinary vigour.

It is evident in every post on his excellent YouTube channel, and as you’ve already seen here, here and here.

One year ago, Nathan Florence knocked the surfing world for six after shucking what some big-wave surfers called the “best barrel ever.”  Florence rode the wave at a remote Irish reef on November 6, the swell generated by the remnants of Hurricane Martin.

WSL commentator Strider Wasilewski described Nathan Florence as the “best heavy wave surfer in the world.”

Six months later, Florence went a little better, riding a wave the same gang called “the best wave ever ridden.”

Mark Healey, John John, Peter Mel all behaved like young boys forced into service by a stronger man.

Dorian described it as “loony”, Kai Lenny said, “Too bad the Big Wave Awards no longer exist, you would’ve won the big cheese” and Australian big-waver Loz Towner wrote, “Incredible! Who’s had the best barrels at all the good big wave spots around the world ? @nathan_florence by a football field.”

Who better, therefore, to ask than Nathan Florence for advice when its comes to surviving and thriving in the world’s heaviest waves?

In that dark and mysterious world of big-wave surfing, Florence does his best work, even better than Olympian brother John John and sexy little bro Ivan.

He visits far-flung territories, Ireland, Indonesia, Scotland, and returns to shore with his point of view camera filled with captivating raw vision and with more intel on the techniques man must employ if he wishes to survive these sort of activities.

Nathan Florence is the the most engaging of the three brothers, and gets his quirky, literary side from his Daddy John, I think, who wrote in his tell-all memoir eight years ago.

“I am natural flirt. I enjoy making people smile, chuckle, laugh. I am very sexual by nature. I was raised that way. I have always enjoyed the whole sexual innuendo sort of suggestion in general conversation. Something that would make a person raise an eyebrow while giving a sly knowing smile back. Very sexual in every way to a fault or not, I am not sure but this is simply how I interact with everyone from passengers at my tables to coworkers, friends and girlfriends.”