ANOTHER DAY IN THE BACKYARD: Jamie O'Brien Pushes Past Irons For Title
“Backdoor means you either backdoor Pipe or you backdoor Backdoor,” explained Eddie Rothman, standing next to the beach marshal’s table on Jamie O’Brien’s lanai. “Either way, you got to backdoor it to really get barreled. That’s what these guys are doing and having a good time and we’re stoked we got to run our contest.”
“Pipeline is my backyard. I don’t surf it as a contest, I surf it as an everyday backyard deal.” – Jamie O
With their permit good through the weekend, flawless conditions and 6 to 8 foot swell still pumping across the shallow reef on Saturday, Jan. 12, the surfers decided to run another day of competition at the sixth annual Da Hui Backdoor Shootout.
It was a fortunate call for Jamie O’Brien, who sat in second place behind Bruce Irons after yesterday’s competition. “The most terrifying moment was when Bruce took the lead for the point total and I had to sleep on that one last night,” said O’Brien. “I didn’t think the event would be on today so I guess I was second. I had a hard time sleeping.”
The lack of sleep didn’t seem to affect his performance in his fifth round heat as Jamie threw himself over the ledge on a right, pulled in way behind the peak, pumped through two sections, came out and carved a huge cutback, setting himself up in the pocket for another barrel on the inside section. Jamie nailed an 11.4, turning the tides on Bruce and taking the lead once again.
Bruce had one more chance in round six to best Jamie. He was going for broke, taking off deep and pulling into Backdoor drainers, but couldn’t seem to find his way out. Bruce broke two boards in a valiant effort that had Jamie pacing around his lanai, tense with apprehension that Bruce might pull off a comeback. Bruce had no such luck and handed his second broken board to a stoked grom on the beach.
The winds picked up out of north and conditions deteriorated slightly for round six, but the competitors reveled in having Pipe and Backdoor all to themselves and continued getting shacked off their heads. Backdoor was offering up bigger and more critical barrels, but Makua Rothman and Kalani Robb managed to pick off some beautiful Pipe bombs, positioning themselves perfectly in the pocket for incredibly long barrels.
Ian Walsh showed up to take Jamie Sterling’s place on team Red Bull and snagged a handful of sick Backdoor shacks, while original Da Hui founders Billy Blankenfeld and Brian Amona stopped by to make sure everyone was charging and sign a couple of checks.
It just so happened that Jamie O’Brien drew the last heat of the day and stuck a backside rodeo on a 4-foot Pipeline corner for good measure—clean. Another sick Backdoor barrel for the local and the horn sounded, starting the party at Jamie’s house.
Jamie O’Brien took first place, bragging rights and $50,000 for his prestigious win. “I’m not a competitive surfer in small waves,” comments O’Brien. “It just doesn’t excite me. I can’t release what I want to do, surf how I want to surf. Pipeline is my backyard. I don’t surf it as a contest, I surf it as an everyday backyard deal. I just go play out my backyard and get barreled—switch-stance, airs, 1 to 30 feet, this is how I live.”
A boat-load of money was doled out to second through fifth place as well: Bruce Irons took home $25,000, Ola Eleogram $15,000, Marcus Hickman $10,000 and Mark Healey and Myles Padaca tied for fifth, each receiving $5,000. The top five also took home a Lassen painting, except for Myles Padaca who lost paper-rock-scissor to Healey for the work of art.