By pulling off a dramatic perfect 10 point ride in the closing seconds of the final heat at the Air Tahiti Nui – Von Zipper Trials, Jamie O’Brien earned a spot in the main event of next weeks Billabong Pro. Make no doubt about it, O’Brien is the trialist that no one on the WCT is looking forward to matching up against, especially if swell charts stay true and Teahupoo keeps pumping out monster barrels the way it has been as of late.
His dramatic victory over Brazilian Bruno Santos was the stuff legends are made of and even O’Brien had to admit it was a bit ‘Slater-esque.’ “I’ve never came from behind the eight ball like that in the last minute,” said O’Brien. “I figured it’s the kind of stuff Kelly does, so I thought I would give it a try.”
O’Brien, the 2006 Pipeline Masters Champion and in my eyes one of the top all-around surfers in the world, has been taking a break from being on tour full-time to focus more on just surfing progressively. While doing so, he has pulled off impressive victories in several big contests, the likes of which include this years Da Hui Backdoor Shootout as well as Billabong’s inaugural Freewave Challenge.
A typical trialist might be intimidated knowing he will be opening up action in the main event against Pancho Sullivan and reigning world-champion Mick Fanning. Jamie O’Brien is anything but your typical trialist and he has let it be known that he’s coming after those guys – “I’m not worried about it, barrel riding is what I do, I travel the world so I can go and surf barrels. I’m down for the main event, I’ll take them down.”
Looks like the WCT regulars have officially been put on notice- Jamie O’Brien is coming for you.