Teachers told a young Jamie O'Brien that there wasn't a future in surfing. He's now one of the best surfers in the world and recently produced a movie out about his life and -- you guessed it -- surfing. Suck on that, teachers.
Jamie O'Brien is a pipeline surfer who overcame a debilitating ear infection as a kid to become the youngest surfer to win Pipeline Masters and be considered one of the best surfers in the world. His movie "Who Is J.O.B.?" is now out, and Jamie will be touring the nation to promote it. We caught up with him last month in attempt to ultimately find out who is J.O.B..
This is going to sound weird to say, asking a question about a question, but what is "Who is J.OB.?"
"Who Is J.O.B.?" is a movie about me and my life, traveling around the world, surfing the best waves, and explaining how I grew up and how it wasn’t easy.
When I was younger, I got an ear infection that left me semi-deaf. I went to special ed because I had to catch up on school, and teachers told me that surfing was not a job and that it wasn’t even an outlet. That school is number one. But I preservered and ended up living my dream.
You grew up next to the Banzai Pipeline in Hawaii. What was it like growing up so close to a legendary spot?
That pipeline maybe every kid’s dream but at the same time it might be every kid’s nightmare. I would come home from school going "Oh my god. It’s 10 feet again." Now when I see it, I go "It’s perfect…I can’t wait to go out there."
Do you think that if you didn’t grow up there that you’ll still be a surfer?
I think I was just meant to be a surfer. My dad was a surfer and he wanted me to surf. And he would support me because I wasn’t causing any trouble and he’d watch me go surf. All I thought about was the water and surf.
So does Hawaii better prepare you to become a professional surfer?
Every kid that’s raised on the beach in Hawaii, they get a really good one-on-one with the ocean really quick. It’s definitely helped with my courage and my strength.
What’s your training like to make sure you’re in good shape?
I'm always try to find where I can go to surf. For instance, if Hawaii’s flat, I’m taking off to Bali, Tahiti, or Mexico. I’m surfing these waves of such high consequences all the time, so when I get back to Hawaii in the winter, my conditioning is still there and I’m used to all the poundings.
I’m surfing these waves of such high consequences all the time.
What are you looking forward to for the rest of 2010?
I look forward to the Pipeline Masters and the Triple Crown in Hawaii.
Speaking of the Pipeline Masters, you’re the youngest person to ever win it. How’s that working for you?
It was an honor to win the Pipeline Masters, but I haven’t won the Pipeline Masters since. It’s not saying that my surfing has gone downhill. It’s such a hard competition to do really well in. I’ve made the finals before; I’ve made the semis and corridors. I’m always right there but it’s so hard to win. There’s so many great competitors.
Every year it’s, like, a good run but not a win. Everyone has a pretty good chance that win the Pipe Masters that surf out there a lot. I won multiple events out there. I’ve won the Backdoor Shootout and the Volcom Pipeline Pro. I’ve won my fair share of events but I want to win some more Pipe Masters.
Is that ultimate prize for you?
Pipeline Masters is kind of the ultimate. To me that’s the proving grounds of the surfing world.
What advice would you give these young cats trying to be like you?
Surfing is the best outlet for me. And if you feel the same about it, I hope that the adrenaline that surfing gives you and the rush is enough to to satisfy you for the rest of your life. You don’t have to go out and try different things like drugs -- all this other stuff that doesn’t matter in life.
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