Chasing J.O.B


Ben Thouard

JOB on fire in the barrel, at Teahupoo, Tahiti, PYF, on 22 July 2015. at Teahupoo, Tahiti, PYF, on 22 July 2015.





      Jamie O’Brien, or better know J.O.B. for short, is a professional surfer/daredevil. He’s known to do crazy things that involve fire and big swells. He’s also a two-time first place champion in the 2004 Foster Expressions at trestles and the rip curl pipeline masters. He is sponsored by Body Glove and Odyssey. He lives and grew up in Banzai Pipeline, Hawaii. Jamie’s father, Mick O’Brien was an Australian lifeguard at their local beach. Jamie said the reason he is what he is today is probably because how much his dad made him so comfortable in the water, and how they would surf every day together.  In 2001, Jamie took 4th in pipe masters competition after improving from a groin injury. Only two years later, he’s back and better than ever, winning back to back competitions, coming always in top three at 2003 Hansen’s pipeline pro and was featured in surfer magazine’s performer of the year.


      When a big swell demands attention, he responds to the call almost instantly. On a Wednesday in Tahiti, while filming for his original series “Who is JOB 5.0,” he realized one of his surfing dreams is to get barreled or to get covered by the wave and potentially get tubed on one of the world’s heaviest waves while lit on fire. I know most of you think he’s crazy, but for him this is like a walk in a park. He put on a rubbery material over his wetsuit so he wouldn’t get burned. The fire was scorching hot, he had realized if he paddled into the wave the flame would be put out so he got towed in. The wave he picked had about a 40ft face. One mistake, and he’ll fall into the rugged reef and probably die.


       As Jamie got his wet suit on in the the boat in the pitch black, the crew readied  the secondary boat, the speed boat. Jamie put on the rubbery suit over his wet suit and they put a flammable fluid on his back. They lit him on fire and towed him into where the sets break and sploosh! He was off. He turned his board, dodging the lip of the wave so he wouldn’t get crushed. He grabbed the rail of his board with his right hand and reaches his left hand out to touch the base of the wave. After a good couple of seconds he pulled out around the shoulder of the wave and leaped into the air in excitement. He hit the water and the flame went out. The boat propelled to him, lifted him up and the same process happened again. He has the time of his life getting barreled on fire. If you think you’re a good surfer and not afraid of fire, you should try this.