Paul ‘Hardcastle’ Evans writes:
(The evening of the interview, JOB jumped in for a splash in front of his house and our man Loic was on hand rolling VT…)
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Yesterday I wandered up some wooden steps from the beach at Pipeline and onto the O’Brien lanai, an incredibly well-situated wooden deck that overlooks the Pipe/Backdoor stretch. This is where JOB grew up and learned his trade. We sat in the shade and chatted about waves, Pipeline, and of course burning the ASP rule book…
SE: So how’s your season been panning out thus far, Jamie O’ Brien?
JOB: Well the season has been pretty average. We’ve had a lot of waves but not too many Pipe swells, it hasn’t been as good as it usually is, we haven’t even really had those closeout sessions at Off The Wall. The Pipemasters came along and there was one really good day, it was real interesting to see Kelly surf, as well as the title showdown. It wasn’t the greatest showdown coz the waves weren’t great, I mean the waves didn’t cooperate for Joel and they did cooperate for Mick. So be it, Mick won the World Title. Then the waves got big, the Eddie Aikau was on.
That wasn’t a bad week though, was it?
That was pretty sick, actually. Everything just happened in a week, Pipemasters, World Title, Eddie. Hopefully we’ll get some more big swells comin and some good Pipe.
Do I detect a slight tone of disappointment that Mick won?
I was going for Joel. It’s always nice to see someone new win the title, and Joel deserves one. I mean Mick deserved it too, but I was going for Joel, yah.
Any other highlights from the contest?
I thought an real interesting heat was Miky vs Josh Kerr. Alot of guys here kinda dogged on Miky beforehand, thought he was gonna get smoked. I was all like, ‘Don’t trip out on that brah, Miky surfs insane waves at home where he lives.’ That guy knows how to ride the tube. I wasn’t surprised at all when he did what he did in that heat. I was stoked he did a good job, he killed it. I wasn’t surprised at all because I know how good his spots get at home.
Tell us what gets you excited in terms of buoy readings for out the front here?
If I call the buoys and it’s saying 11 feet at 19 seconds or 9 feet at 19 seconds, that gets me pretty excited. That with light winds, and the swell from the NW you know it’s gonna be on out here. To be honest it’s been disappointing so far, but it looks like something’s on the way, hopefully it’ll come together.
What kind of boards are you riding this year when it has been solid?
I’ve been riding a 6’7″ alot when it’s solid. It’s good in the barrel but also real loose enough when you come out. So I’d say 6’7″ has been my favourite size board this season.
What about other spots? You’re known as a Pipe specialist. You surf anywhere else?
I like Haleiwa a lot, that’s really fun but the problem is Haleiwa has a lot of surf contests, and a lot of people surfing there. I don’t really surf Sunset much, hardly ever. But I really like surfing Pipe and Backdoor, that’s my happy zone, my comfort zone.
Who would you rate as your top 5 favourite Pipe surfers?
Kelly, Bruce, Andy, Tom Carroll…. that’s my top 4.
What’s the key to becoming a great Pipe surfer?
Dedication, time spent in the lineup, experience, becoming one with the wave. Just get it know the wave and enjoy what she offers. I think those would be the key ingredients to getting good at surfing out here.
There was a bit of talk about you not getting in the Pipemasters this year after burning the ASP rule book. Tell us about that.
Things got a little weird there before the contest, I almost wasn’t in the event… but in the end I was. But then I lost, so maybe it would’ve been better if I wasn’t in it (laughs).
If someone asked you to do that again for a magazine shoot/publicity stunt, burn the ASP rulebook. Would you do it again?
I honestly don’t really care. You know it’s a free country. But I already did it, I burned the rulebook. Cool. So I don’t need to do it anymore.
Can you describe your style in the water?
Er… I’m lanky, and I’m sloppy. Maybe I look like shit to someone else, I don’t know. That’s a weird question to answer.
Surfing out here has come a long way in the last 20 years say, guys are getting a lot deeper. Where can it go from here? What are kids gonna be doing in 2020 out here?
The future of surfing at Pipe? We’re gonna see the biggest crowds you’ve ever seen in your life. That’s the future. I’ll just be glad I had my time before that happened.
What goals do you have, where you want to go? Obviously ASP competition isn’t a big priority.
I just wanna surf, get barreled, surf the best waves I can surf. I wanna get scared, get that adrenalin rush, I’m not worried about contests or titles, I just want to get barreled. In the immediate future, away from here I really want to get barreled in France, that place is sick. Insane. I love surfing VVF, Graviere, Capbreton, I want to get those sick beachbreak barrels. Let me know when it gets good, OK?