A Letter To: Jamie O’Brien

posted by / Blogs / September 5, 2013

Jamie O'Brien. Photo: Jimmicane

Jamie O’Brien. Photo: Jimmicane

Dear Jamie O’Brien,

Before we get into it, I want to make it clear that I’m only saying this because I love you. I’m saying this because I care, Jamie O’Brien. You are inherently heroic. You won the ASP Pipeline Masters as a wildcard and then set the ASP rulebook ablaze. You self-produced full-length videos and they were always a thrill. You reset the precedent for tail-slithers on the dark sands of Bali. You landed rodeo flips on sections that most decent men wouldn’t dare touch. You had talent and panache, and the surf world had never seen anything quite like you. You, Jamie O’Brien, were amazing.

But since those Freakshow glory days, your limelight has dimmed. You’ve gone from shining star to runaway comet. Once radiant and sturdy, now volatile and potentially hazardous. Your movie introductions used to consist of playful North Shore knockoff scenes and now they are embellished with champagne and dubstep — a horrible concoction. It used to be Jamie VS Dane, but it’s starting to feel more like Jamie VS Kenny Powers. We’re now at a turning point. We’ve arrived at that scene in Good Will Hunting when Ben Affleck says he’s going to kick Matt Damon’s ass if he doesn’t put his natural gift to use. You have something that nobody else has. And if you don’t attend to that, it’s going to haunt you.

And now, Jamie, a plea. I beg you to nip the horseplay and concentrate entirely on your surfing. You owe it to the entertainment-hungry common man. Put your head down and win another Pipe Masters. Land more rodeo flips. Self-produce your own surf videos that will blow our minds. Invent something new, and light more things on fire. Go back to being Jamie O’Fucking Brien.



The Jamie of old:

The Jamie of now:

The Jamie of the future….

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  • anyone

    consumed by twitter and the sport passed him by.

    now he’s sucker punching guys that are eclipsing him, brazzo’s at that.

    pretty soon, he’ll be rooming with Bruce and asking what happened? Bruce, of course, won’t answer the question because he hasn’t had an answer for himself. 24 beers should distract them at least till the morning… when they avoid the question all over again.

  • Bianca

    It would not suck to see the old Jamie return thats for sure.

  • sean

    whisper words of wisdom, let it be

  • B Ugly.

    Holy shit this may be the best surfing related article I have ever read. JOB, ur the man!!! Living Legend. I hope u read this and take note.

  • Nic

    Haha JOB!! He’s the man, been stoked on his surfing from the start, and look forward to his clips every winter! “Anyone”, what a lame comment against Bruce and Jamie, I hope mother ocean spanks you into a reality check. Why is it so easy for people to hate?! if you read this, know that whether it’s one fan or 50,000 all that matters to us is that you’re doing what makes you happy because that’s what got us inspired to begin with. The Good Will Hunting is a motivating statement, but from someone who grew up inspired by your mags featuring these bad asses (moved from Miami to Oahu, now living on a sailboat, hiking, body surfing, yoga, eating healthy, working, sharing Aloha, and as stoked as you could imagine for the North Swells about to grace our beaches this week), I’m living proof that these guys don’t owe anything to the “entertainment-hungry common man”! That’s just BS. A big sad load of horse poop. Give those starving guys a book on self improvement and I’m pretty sure they should stop caring about what others are and aren’t doing, and care more about what they need to be doing.
    We are surfers. Not sport fans that are reminiscing on the golden days when we could do things better. We are stoked on the present and the chance to catch an epic session next swell no matter on a longboard, fish, or on our step up board. AND damn! Who is JOB was only three years ago, and I haven’t purchased many flicks since that level of performance graced my iPhone! He’s still got it, and him and Bruce will always bring the stoke to the people who are putting in the work as opposed to wanting more or something else from some one else. Man this just makes me want to give a shout out to all the people doing their own thing, from WCTers like the twins (that photo #10 in the creed gallery when he mentioned Damien surfing/charging Greenbush!) to the Live Like Sion lovers, to the kooks about to learn what this Ocean magic is all about. Go!!!
    Surfing mag I love you guys. This challenge makes me think of Obama and his red line drama, come on! You can be more constructive.

  • yeahno.

    Counterpoint: Jamie O can also just fade into obscurity and no one will care. No one. I won’t. My friends won’t. The industry won’t. Well, maybe Brendan Buckley will care. And maybe JOB’s sponsors will care, but they’ll find someone new. They always do. Someone more deserving. Someone who contributes something positive to the sport. Someone who isn’t such a pudgy asshat haole pretending to be Hawaiian.

  • Tim

    Well said, but maybe he was always like that, i.e., a douche.

  • Puig

    Who cares? Was bren his lover or something. shitty article.

  • SlightlyStoopid

    Dear Brendan Buckley,

    Before we get into it, I want to make it clear that I’m only saying this because I love you.. The kid doesn’t owe you (or anyone else) a thing. He’s living his life as he sees fit and by the looks of it, is having an absolute blast. Given that you’re knocking out 300 word articles for surfingmag.com, perhaps you should focus a bit more on where your life has gone wrong. Surf more, criticize less & have a great weekend.

  • SirShredAlot


  • Ice Ice Baby

    very talented, YES a douche, ALWAYS flaming out like a hair band rockstar after a decade long coke binge, FO SHO!

  • pistol

    Another tragic story of a selfish a**hole whos family has raised him without respect. His a-hole antics will far surpass his carnival tricks out at pipe. I’ve never wished a shallow water blackout on someone. But jaime, I’m glad your spearfishing a lot these days.

  • Jenkem shredder

    I watched this pompous, spoiled, looser in action all winter in Hawaii. He’s about as big of a douche as they come.
    On Halloween he walked around alone in a banana suit with a dick along with a backpack blasting crystal castles. Only when he took it off and had his red bull get up on did he get the desired attention of the drunk college girls.
    He drinks like a 80lbs white girl and makes a blackout fool of himself every Monday night at Lulu’s.

  • kyle

    It speaks volumes for this sub-culture that we hold Jamie’s burning of the ASP rulebook as the pinnacle of rebellion. It’s not the Bible or the flag or Mao’s Red Book…it’s not even The Secret. It’s just a tiny pamphlet read and semi observed by a few professional (ish) athletes. Burning it was neither inventive nor consequential, but it was the kind of thing we seem to THINK equals “dangerous” or “subversive.”

    The new JOB is the same as the old JOB, a gifted surfer and little else of public worth. Cloaked in an outlaw facade he is now and has always been motivated by money, acclaim, sex & ego. He wants to challenge and tear down the system like Miley Cyrus wants to lead a sexual revolution…and has equal odds to do so.

  • waves

    you guys should show the video of when he entered the bodyboard contest at pipe. He ripped….

  • Peter

    He was way more of a dick years ago than he is now. FACT:he is still one of the top ten big wave surfers alive today. I’d love to see him get on the Healey and Dorian program and put everything he’s got into charging the worlds heaviest waves. I am a southern cali surfer who got burned by Jamie at the Base and hated him for a while for his attitude at a sacred spot. I’ve gotten over that. Dude is one of the best surfers to ever live. I even made a best wave-edit tribute video on youtube because his second video blew my mind so much. This article is dead on…come on Jamie! You have the skills to become a fucking a legend in surfing alongside Dorian, Andy, and Kelly.

  • jd

    If he was a cool guy we would be happy for him, just like we are for Dane. They are both doing what they want. And that’s the dream, right? But one of them is a nice humble enjoyable person loved by the surf community and the other is a prick with tons of talent. Pricks tend to become old news as soon as the talent slows. The loved become legends, mentors, and heroes when their skills in the water become average. The bottom line is that your talent means very little to anyone if you are a jerk and at some point we all loose are talent. I have little reason to think that Jamie will become an awesome guy. Bruce Irons, who is a huge jerk half of the time, thinks Jamie is a selfish prick. Ask anyone here in Hawaii what they think of Jamie. Pray for Jamie. I’m sure he would enjoy being an awesome person.

  • Kaipo Gomes

    When the circus comes to the North Shore one thing is certain. JOB will take his place in the Pipe/Backdoor lineup as one of the Top 5 Best in the World. John John, Slater, JOB, ?, ?, ? fill in the last 2 if you can. When that spot is doing its thing he is in his element and that can’t be denied. He is in the Eddie. He paddled Jaws on the last huge swell. What do you haters want from him? He is a smart person with his money and he takes care of the people around him. Meet him, go introduce yourself and you might be surprised to find that he is a lot nicer than the rumors would suggest. Does he party? Sure. He’s still young and single. Who wouldn’t if they were in his shoes. Walk a mile in his flip flops before you so harshly judge him. You sure wouldn’t want to draw him in a heat at 10 foot Pipe/Backdoor. Talent and Personality is what he represents.

  • wyatt

    I’m 100% apathetic about your point Brendan, but you’re writing (tone/style) has succeeded in doing what was once considered impossible:

    Making me nostalgic for Chas Smith.

  • 805Local

    lol the author is missing the point, this dude does whatever he wants. The only reason he was portrayed one way earlier in his career was cause of sponsors, and when he didn’t do what they wanted they split, now we get to see Jamie do his thing. Who is J.O.B. was one of the best surf films to get pumped on in a while, better than all that Kai Neville garbage. I want to see more guys getting pumped on music and Red Bull before they surf. Blasting crazy airs and surfing Pipe switch, that’s Jaime’s thing. Jaime does what he wants, if you like it cool, if not he is going to do it anyways. If you want to see a JOB movie soooo bad, Surfing Magazine should fund the movie, we will all buy it for sure!

  • Scotty B

    There’s no denying JOB is a phenomenal tube rider, but why does it seem like he’s burning someone in nearly every clip?

  • Pauly Boy

    Kaipo G is correct. Jamie owns Pipe…..JJ learned everything from him and he is a genuinely nice guy. Life isn’t easy and Jamie has had to deal with a lot of challenges in his life growing up. We are all a product of our environment and Jamie isn’t any different. I liked the article but Jamie will decide how is going to evolve his career and I know one way or the other he will continue to blow minds.

  • Thin

    I remember Jamie had never drank a drop or smoked weed. He was a really smart, focused guy compared to most of that crew. and then he won the pipe masters and got shitfaced for the first time. I think he said he was only gonna smoke a joint if he won the world title. He’d be in better shape if he smoked weed instead of drinking.
    He should be challenging Kelly and JJ on tour, but so should Dane.

  • Lad Turner

    I say to JOB and any other SOB lets see what you are made of in this Hawaiian winter and then see you take it on the road through 2014, let the real men stand out! My bet JOB is one of them if he puts his mind to it?

  • PO

    JOB is about 30 years old by now, that’s not young by any means in the surf pro world. Very few pro surfers keep getting better until there 35, just because Slater and Knox are true freaks of competitive pro surfers doesn’t mean all other pros are. Slater and Knox eat raw or whatever and train all the time. By the time Dane is in his early 30s he will be over it as well, as he should be. Being a Pro from 18 to 30 is a good run especially when your making tons of $$$ the whole time. At some point just like anything you burn out and just wanna whatever it is you want especially when you have the $$$ to do so. JOB’s small wave game isn’t what it used to be and probably cause he’s over it and he’s about 25 lbs heavier now than at 21. JOB started a lot of the crazy innovative air stuff today that all the young brazos are doing in there sleep and got paid well to be innovative. He can paddle out at any day at pipe and get any wave he wants and I’m sure deep down that’s all he really cares about. It’s all a natural progression for professional athletes to slow down, and that’s why if the pro’s don’t have a back up than most get washed up.

  • anyone

    inspired comedy Wyatt.

    jd too… fucking hilarious.

  • Surfing Kook

    Jaime O has come and gone but his struggles within himself continue. He is in a constant battle. In his mind he’s the best surfer. That is until reality checks him at every contest he enters. The salt water can be hard to swallow. Title of Pipe Specialist isn’t much to brag about especially when you haven’t won a “real” Pipe Event in nearly a decade. Being scared to fail can act as a disease. It can prevent a person with gifted ability from excelling. Some grow wings and fly away. Brett left Huntington. John left Pipe. Nat left the Lane. And for others the wings just won’t grow. You surf the same wave day after day bored out of your mind. Just to entertain yourself, you ride switch or board swap just to challenge yourself. I wish you would have tried harder to blossom as a pro because you had the talent and that will to want to win contests. Instead we will look forward to next months episode of “Who Is JOB”. I can’t wait to watch “Who Is JOB 29.0″ when you’re 50 years old. That will be awesome.

  • Mike Anderson

    Amazing how many ppl out there must have never had up’s and downs in their life, made a mistake, partied too hard and o ya can surf like Jamie and Bruce…

  • AlbyTRoss

    Better one has been than one never was…

  • wtf happen?

    yeah he is a fucking prick! but he still rips harder than most of us here put together.

  • Jay

    What the hell are you begging for? why don’t you just go do what he is doing. SURFING IS ONLY ENTERTAINMENT TO ALL YOU POSERS AND KOOKS. To us true surfers it’s a spiritual thing, it helps us with our everyday lives, it’s not about doing rodeo flips or what ever that letter was about. See what the media has made surfing into. Jamie is fine doing what he is doing.he has the freedom to do what ebver the hell he wants. He doesn’t need to stress about sponsors when he is in a contest because he usually only enter contests in Hawaii. He doesn’t need to please anyone but himself. and if you were a true surfer you would understand, but your not. it’s not about the fame or mag shots or rodeo flips or what evers. He is a cool person. just another local boy making the best of what he got. .

  • Laserwolf

    Wow, how many of you fucking idiots have actually met Jamie before? Nice guy, he rips and he’s having fun. Quit hate’n. Company does not enjoy misery. This article is pretty great though!

  • Mik

    i’d rather be a surfer than a gangsta…

    i think that’s all Brendon is trying to say?

    i agree.

    there’s nothing very interesting about looking like an alcoholic, or acting like one.

    remove that, and JOB is amazing.

    as for Bruce?

    I for one worship the feet of the Irons brothers surfing ability, and I pray we don’t lose another.

    I am still bummed about AI, and I never even met him.

  • Mik


    just watched the videos…

    As I said JOB is an amazing surfer…

    And seems like a happy guy, so i’ll mind my own business.

    Apologies to all.

    (could lose a few pounds tho….)

  • hurricane aka auntie robin

    I have known Jamie since he was 16.watched him win the first triple crown I was so thrilled and excited for him . I approach Jamie to congratulate him… I was flooored by his humble responce he said I just got lucky…His score was a perfect 10 . I’d say he is quite the Gentleman. I would like to see u catch even a sand crab. or are u one of those 5 in the heat and came in afta 99 Goodnite Love u JOB

  • rklp

    Leopards don’t change their spots…they only get bigger!!!! Bless u! JOB

  • Garf

    meh …… there can only be one kelly . JOB is a sick surfer ….. but he is not a champion surfer , i say let him be …. he will get tired of being a kid and grow up

  • alohalaia

    it sure wouldn’t hurt to get the old Jamie O’Brien back. that’s for sure.

  • Seth Chalnick

    So much easier to tear down than to build up. The guy puts himself out there in a way that entertains thousands of people with raw talent and original sense of humor. Why is it the same people who claim to value “marching to one’s own beat” also seem to love knocking down anyone who is successful? Just shut up.

  • rick o’shay

    Success and exposure always bring out da haters. Congratulations, jayohbee, by the responses you are getting, you appear to be getting some success. I live windward and surf a lot of north shore; I’m always happy to see everybody out doing all the different things they do and anything that breaks up the overly serious thing that surfing in public has become, gets my smile.

    Keep progressing. Aloha!

  • Tim Johnston

    K double O K