The combination of surfers and MTV can be a delicate thing. Depending on how surfing is presented, we can either look bad, or stupid, or sometimes just OK. With that in mind, there were definitely a few hedged bets floating around concerning the Pipe contingent's appearance on "TRL," the popular MTV video show, from the WaveHouse in San Diego's Mission Beach. But based on the surfers' fun level, as they got barreled, chucked airs and generally wowed thousands of screaming and scantily clad MTV teeny-types, the issue of public perception seemed irrelevant.
"It's too funny," said Braden Dias about winding up on nationally aired television for doing nothing more than having fun with his friends. He'd been flown into San Diego as part of a crew that included Jamie O'Brien, Kalani Chapman, Mikey Bruneau, Flynn Novak, and other North Shore regulars. Their job: to simply provide MTV producers with the occasional action-packed backdrop for the video countdown show "Total Request Live." Upon arrival however, this role was quickly expanded.
"Yeah, when MTV first showed up they weren't really focused on the wave," said Jamie O'Brien. "But when they saw what was going on, they were like, 'Oh my God.'" O'Brien ended up with his own segment on the show, teaching fans how to surf, and the rest of the boys were asked to stay for the week. Even after five days of shooting, O'Brien and the Hawaiians still seemed pumped on the opportunity. "I never thought it'd be possible to get barreled and come out a few feet from hundreds of chicks," said Flynn Novak with a laugh. "That's always been a dream of ours."
MTV also seemed pleased. "We're psyched to be here," said Tim Healy, vice president of production for MTV. "We've shot in San Diego before and we love it – the people, the beaches and the weather – but this wave here and the what the surfers are doing has brought everything to a new level. I'm sure there are kids in Des Moines, Iowa, whose heads are exploding today."
Hopefully not. But if the folks in Des Moines enjoyed the show half as much as the Hawaiians did while putting it on, then mission accomplished. And maybe, for once, surfers came off of an appearance on MTV looking a bit better than just OK.