It was bound to happen one day.
In fact, Jamie O’Brien has been on a collision course with the coveted Pipe Masters trophy since the first day he moved into his beachfront crib, located spitting distance from the sands of Pipeline.
Not just a beach house, it’s the ultimate residence for anyone who wants to be front and center in the gladiator-pit-like atmosphere that encompasses Pipe, Backdoor, and Off The Wall on any given eight-foot day-it’s downtown Pipeline, if you will.
When you sit on the lanai that precariously hangs six feet above the beach, a simple head rotation will give you an amazing view into the glory, destruction, mayhem, and beauty (i.e., chicks in bikinis) that go down any time the surf comes up.
“Don’t lean against the rail,” warns Jamie’s dad, Mick, as I gawk at a newly forming twelve-foot Pipe swell, ” you’ll go right down.”
Jamie and his father moved into the house five years ago and have had an all-star cast of couch crashers. Names like Dean Morrison, Koby Abberton, Damien Hobgood, Paulo Mauro, and shaper Alan Byrne have all called the place home at one time. “Staying at the house has paid off for those guys,” says the gregarious Mick O’Brien, a former North Shore lifeguard. And it’s true, if you stay in the house, you’re expected to charge Pipe-just like Jamie.
While many are welcome to stay, these are the rules of the house: Don’t bring a bunch of people over; don’t curse on the lanai; and if you see something on the ground, pick it up. “It’s a dream living here-we can’t afford to blow it and lose the house.”
The rules seem easy to follow, but as you’d expect, some guys just can’t seem to get with the program.
“I had to kick out (no names mentioned-but you’ve heard of him), because he was trying to grow pot plants in the front yard!” bellows Mick in his fading Australian accent. “I’m like a babysitter-I’ve had to throw a lot of guys out of here.”
The house itself, which is actually two studios nailed together, is pretty nondescript. Dad and guests stay in back, and Jamie lives in the oceanfront studio, which may be in need of an expansion soon.
“It’s getting pretty cluttered in here,” the 21 year old mutters. And it should be, he won the Pipe Masters the previous day and threw a huge party that night-topped off with a catfight and a visit from the cops. Piles of The Honolulu Advertiser and the Honolulu Star Bulletin, with Jamie prominently on both front pages, are strewn about the kitchenette. His puppy, Kane Mu (Hawai’ian for “First Inheritance of Hawai’i), is running amok, the grass out front is saturated in beer and looking dead, clothes are strewn about his bedroom, and he’s lost his phone.
It’s no worry to Jamie, though.
As I comment on the beauty of the Pipe Masters hand-carved glass trophy and the accompanying 30,000-dollar foam check (they let you keep those), all Jamie can say is, “That’s mean, yeah?”
Spoken like a true master.-Justin Cote