Jamie O’Brien burns ASP Rule Books, tweets harder than most dare tweet (@whoisjob), and he’s the first to admit that his life has thus far been an extended vacation. That’s what makes him interesting. That, and the fact that he surfs barrels better than almost anyone else in the world. Tetsuhiko Endo, The Inertia’s Surf Editor, called him up a little while ago to talk about Twitter feuds with Kelly Slater, the right reasons to surf Pipe, and how he deftly manages to pull off the unthinkable: being a career freesurfer. If he didn’t have much to say in response to a certain question, he wouldn’t rephrase or fall back on stock answers that athletes in his position often favor; he would simply speak his short piece, then stop. When asked questions he found intriguing, he would muse out his answers, sometimes saying things that even seemed to surprise him. He only dodged one question: “What is it like growing up as a white kid on the North Shore?” But we weren’t expecting him to field that one anyway.
So how much time do you spend traveling?
I travel six or seven months of the year. I can’t complain, but sometimes it’s a mixed bag. Sometimes the sponsors want you to go to one place, sometimes you go where you want to go. It’s only a problem when you have to go where the sponsors want you and the waves are good where you want to go.