Earlier this week, Jamie O’Brien got knocked out at Pipe and filmed the whole thing, walking away with nine staples in his head and a story about nearly drowning courtesy of the world’s most dangerous wave. He’d be forgiven for parlaying that moment into a months-long sabbatical, probably some emotional recovery, and a little bit of physical rehab before touching the ocean again, let alone surfing Pipe itself. It also wouldn’t be a J.O.B. story if the guy didn’t immediately turn around and say three days later, “Dad, can you duct tape me so I can go back out?”
It turns out the duct tape method is a family tradition, passed down through generations of O’Briens. When Jamie was young, he says his dad used to apply a skull cap and a little bit of duct tape in these situations so he wouldn’t miss any time in the water.
“We’re getting ready to surf right now it’s uhhh…a really bad idea,” O’Brien said.
This probably shouldn’t be too much of a surprise. The accident itself, just a few days ago, was just that: an accident. O’Brien wasn’t sure if he hit his head on the reef or the board when he was knocked unconscious on a day that was less than maxed out. There was nothing spectacular about the wipeout other than the resulting injury, and it all went to remind us that Pipe doesn’t have to be exploding 15-foot monsters onto the reef to be deadly. Many argue head high Pipe is when the place becomes it’s most dangerous. And at least from Jamie O’Brien’s perspective here, there’s no better way to handle such things than to get back on that horse.