On Friday, stabmag.com reported that Hawaiian Jamie O’Brien has been suspended from the upcoming Pipeline Masters (and any ASP event until 2014) following his altercation with Brazilian surfer Ricardo Dos Santos last August, during the trials at the Billabong Pro Teahupoo.
In the report, O’Brien is questioned about the suspension and states that Dos Santos started the incident and called his actions cowardly. The Hawaiian tube specialist also insinuated that the Brazilian – who won Surfline’s Wave of The Winter last season – is going to have a hard time surfing Pipe this season.
The commentaries on Stab’s website and on social media, as usual, go a little further, with no shortage of threats of a beat down, in case Ricardo Dos Santos shows up on the North Shore.
We spoke with Dos Santos yesterday, who said he was surprised by the new developments in an issue that, to him, was water under the bridge.
What did you think of O’Brien’s suspension?
Honestly, it’s a little sad in a way. Jamie is one of the best surfers at Pipe and to see him out of the event because of an impulsive action is a bummer. His suspension doesn’t make me the least bit happy. I didn’t become a pro surfer to be involved in such turmoil.
Where you also punished or fined because of the incident?
Yes. I was suspended for 3 months and fined US$1,500. I won’t be able to compete in this month’s WQS in Brazil.
What did you think about O’Brien’s claims that you started the fight in Tahiti and that you turned the incident into a “JOB x Brazil thing?”
I have nothing to say about Jamie. What he thinks or doesn’t think doesn’t change the facts.
Don’t you think it’s strange that he apologized to you in Tahiti only to later say you started the whole thing?
That’s the thing. When I shook his hand, I gave him my word that the problem ended right then and there. He said the same, only to come out later calling me a coward and what not. But that doesn’t really matter to me. That’s his choice. I’m at peace with my attitude after the incident.
What’s your version of events? Who threw the first punch?
He started it, he hit while we were still on the wave.
There’s a lot of talk in social media that you’ll have a hard time in Hawaii this year. Does that worry you?
Of course! But I’ll keep being respectful to everyone, like I’ve always been, and try to avoid any unwanted situation. I’ve always been a peaceful guy and I want no trouble.
O’Brien insinuated that his friends might not let you surf or that something even worse might happen do you. Do you believe in those threats?
Yes, I do. It might happen, but it’s not up to me to try to change Jamie’s mind. He knows what he’s doing and what he promotes. He must surely know that if something like that happened, it would reflect badly on him. But I won’t take action to avoid anything. I’ll be there on the North Shore doing my job. He makes his own decisions and I have no control over that.
Have your sponsors talked to you about the incident.
Naturally. No company likes to see their athlete involved in such a controversy. We all have to deal with the consequences of an incident like that.
What lesson, if any, do you take after all this?
Well, I gotta keep positive so things like this don’t happen. I’ve been trying to stay positive and happy above all, but it’s just hard when you’re caught off guard with something like this.
This article was originally published in Portuguese by Hardcore Magazine.