Jamie O’Brien Wins Volcom Pipeline Pro
By Daniel Ikaika Ito
A Red Bull sponsored photo shoot of night surfing quickly turned into a Jamie O’Brien victory party. Trogs. Pro surfers. Shooters. Creepers. Brazilians. Enforcers. Lifeguards. Hot chicks. Industry dudes. Surf Journalists. They all crowd on the O’Brien’s lanai, drinking Vodka cocktails and random beers, celebrating JOB’s Volcom Pipeline Pro victory. This victory party has been raging for 12-hours now.
The eclectic party people are getting wasted, but Jamie is still out at his beloved Pipeline that is being illuminated by Stadium Warrior lights from the yard of the Quiksilver house.
“This is for fun to enjoy ourselves,” said O’Brien of the p.m. exhibition session at Pipe. “It’s really hard to see out there. We’re trying something new and different.”
The swell is already on its way out and the waves are definitely “different.” Jamie isn’t finding the same 6-to 8-foot, perfect barrels that were at Pipe and Backdoor early morning. JOB emerged victorious at the 5-Star QS Volcom Pipeline Pro yesterday marking the third-time he’s won this contest. Thus, adding another trophy to an already full-mantle that includes Da Hui Backdoor Shootout and Pipeline Masters titles.
The 26-year-old, Pipeline local admitted that yesterday’s win wasn’t easy.
“I’ve been squeaking heats the whole contest except for one heat,” said O’Brien who faced tough competition every round of the Volcom Pipeline Pro. “I knew my time was coming I just didn’t know if it was (yesterday) or next week.”
O’Brien was challenged by fellow Pipe Specialist Danny Fuller, and Australian chargers, Mark Mathews and Anthony Walsh, in the 45-minute final heat. At the start of the final, Jamie found himself searching for a combination of scores. His fellow finalists jumped out to an early lead, leaving O’Brien looking to rally.
“In the begging of the heat I was just worried that theses guys were going to get really good scores early and I was going to have to play catch up which is a nightmare,” he admitted.
Seasoned Pipeline competitors, like O’Brien, knows it only takes two rides at the world’s most dangerous wave to take the lead. In a 3-minute span, O’Brien got totally covered up twice at Backdoor to claim the lead.
Toward the end of the final, JOB found another incredible tube at Pipeline to bolster his two-wave total of 17 out of a possible 20-points. O’Brien’s wave selection was on point the whole event, showing his deep understanding of the Banzai Pipeline. He held the lead for the last 5-minutes of the final, and luckily for O’Brien, the ocean went flat at the end of the contest.
“It’s funny because Mark (Matthews) looked at me and said, ‘I bet you’re hoping it goes dead flat.’ And, I said, ‘yup,’” said O’Brien after following Matthews around the lineup in the waning minutes. “Mark could have done it really easy so I had to sit on him.”
Along with the final placing of the 5-Star QS Volcom Pipeline Pro, the Todd Chesser Memorial Award went to Honolulu City & County Lifeguard Dave Wassel. Wassel competed from the first round to the quarter final of the Pipeline Pro and demonstrated the heart and sportsmanship of late-great, pro surfer Todd Chesser.
“For me this is like a lifetime achievement award. It means more to me then winning this contest,” said Wassel who was visibly choked-up and honored by the award. “The best contest– hands down– in a decade.”
Volcom Pipeline Pro Final Results
1) Jamie O’Brien $16,000
2) Anthony Walsh $9,000
3) Mark Matthews $4,600
4) Danny Fuller $4,200
Todd Chesser Memorial Award Dave Wassel
More info at VOLCOM PIPLELINE PRO.