JOB Drops In On TWS

Jamie O'Brien in the TransWorld SURF photo studio. Photo: Sam Allen
Jamie O'Brien in the TransWorld SURF photo studio. Photo: Sam Allen

JOB Drops In On TWS

We caught up with Jamie O’Brien this morning after announcing yesterday that he’d ended his sponsorship drought and signed a deal with Body Glove. With his groundbreaking movie going gangbusters and back in the water at Pipeline after a broken arm, JOB is making some serious moves…and thinking about the World Tour.

TransWorld SURF: Last time we talked was in the lead up to your movie. What’s been the most surprising response to it?

Jamie O’Brien: When people that have known me my whole life said they learned things about me. Like “I didn’t know you were deaf,” or, “I didn’t know you were retarded.” (laughs) Some people that have hung out with me my whole life didn’t know some of that stuff.

There was a lot of talk about you not seeing the movie before it premiered. I’m not sure I’m buying that.

Dude, I didn’t see anything. The guy packed up his stuff from Hawaii and went to edit it in California. I wanted to see a semi-finished product, but it never happened. I honestly didn’t see it until the movie premiere. I was sitting in my chair thinking, ‘This is bad.’

Bad that you didn’t get to see it beforehand?

Yeah. But it turned out cool. I guess it took me not to make it to find out who I really am. But that was part of the plan, me not having control of it.

Jamie O in his front yard... Photo: Baker
Jamie O in his front yard... Photo: Baker

Well, we dug it. So the reason you came by was to announce that you signed an endorsement deal with Body Glove. Do you think in some way the success of the movie helped you find a sponsor?

I don’t know. I thought it would happen faster, but at the same time I didn’t have a manager, and I wasn’t really looking. I was getting over my manager, like I didn’t want a manager, but I wasn’t getting any sponsors. But yeah, I guess it worked, they were all watching it in their board meeting. They like what I do as a freesurfer.

So we’ll expect you to continue on in the freesurfing realm?

Yeah, they just want me to surf in some cold water, and I’m going yeah, I can fit that in [laughs].

I always get a laugh seeing guys in Hawaii wearing fullsuits to get shots for a wetsuit ad.

I told them I’d throw my wetsuit on at Pipe.

Were there any cold-water spots in the movie?

Uh, no.

Okay, the tour is starting up again this year, only with the new format it seems like people could get on the World Tour quicker. Does that make it any more interesting for you?

The problem is I have to do a bunch of smaller events to get into the bigger WQSes. Like I can’t get into the Primes.

Yeah, but you just got second at the Volcom Pipe Pro, which was a five star.

Five stars don’t get you any points. I don’t care about winning or losing, but to be completely honest, the way I see these prize purses going up, that’s got my eye. It’s a lot of money. I was almost going to give it a go this year, but my heart wasn’t there yet. I told myself if I did good at Pipe I’d go do more contests. Then I did well at Pipe, and the next day they told me I had to enter the Fernando contest in Brazil by the next day, and it was too hard to get to, so I let it go.

Speaking of Pipe, who’s the best guy out there right now? Like has anything changed in the last year or two?

Well, Andy’s gone. To me it was Kelly, Andy, and Bruce. And now John John is stepping up to the plate. He’s still young, but he’s right up in there and surfing really good.

Do you see some of yourself in him?

For sure. It’s funny, he lives in my old house. He’s a haole like me. He likes to paddle for all my waves [laughs]. We’re good friends, I’m stoked he’s blowing up.—Casey Koteen

Check out JOB and the Body Glove crew lobster diving off the SoCal coastline HERE