Two days ago, Power Surfing the world over turned up another notch. If you don’t already know, Pipeline, the beautiful beast — was at her moody best. Massive heathens of salty Pacific punch were on hand, blowing themselves up due west of Ehukai Beach Park, North Shore, Oahu. And wouldn’t you know? A bunch of local kids were out playing in the masochistic maw. Jamie O’Brien decided to shine a game of basketball at Sunset Elementary and instead posted up at Pipe to win the 2003 Hansen’s Energy Pipeline Pro, a 3-star WQS event. Mr. O’Brien, along with his recently grown-up playmates, Jamie {{{Sterling}}} and Joel Centeio, joined official adult tube-tamer Bruce Irons in a wash-through final heat. Speaking with our surviving victor yesterday afternoon, he spoke with the bare reverence of a man back from sea. A voice to outlast any slop the system’s feeding him.

SURFING MAGAZINE: Congratulations, Jamie. Tell us what happened yesterday.
JAMIE O’BRIEN: Finally beat The Man out there.

Who? Bruce?
Yeah, he’s gnarly out there. It was pretty heavy; we were all stoked to be in the final. Just, Joel Centeio, Jamie Sterling, the boys — we all just came out of amateurs and it was cool to be out there together and see where we stand. Bruce. . . (abruptly) Ho — that’s Biffs truck! What!? Sorry, I’m on the Eastside and I just saw some dude driving my friend’s truck that was stolen. OK, so it was really a young guy final; we were all hyped.

The surf sounded nuts.
Yeah — it was intense. It was 10 feet, 12 feet, maybe bigger — dude, it was fricken huge. Everybody’s looking at the sets marching through, everybody’s looking at each other and — boom! Jamie Sterling guys are paddling out and Bruce and I are sitting on the inside bowl. It’s hard to explain, with the waves being so good and Sterling has been getting 10s throughout the whole contest; and Bruce is getting nines; and Joel’s been getting sick ones. It was a trip knowing that anyone could win at any given time. Bruce and I sat on the inside and Sterling and Joel went outside looking for straight up 10s.

Were you feeling fearless out there?
We’ve all put in a lot of time out there. Now we’re starting to reach some of our goals. Like, everyone wants to reach a Pipe final; it’s better yet to even win one. I was just stoked to see all of my friends that I grew up with in a final. The vibe was good — we were all talking out there.

What is the new Pipe Surfing?
Backside surfing; frontsiders have it easy.

Do you remember the under-the-lip snaps that J.B.G. used to do at Pipe? Who does the new Johnny-Boy snaps?
He still does ’em. Nah, Marcus Hickman was doing the mean Johnny-Boy snaps in the event. Brah, those things are just too nuts.

What’s next?
I’m on it. I’m going to West Oz for the 6-star, going to Bells, going to the Maldives. . .I’m on it, brah. I want to qualify.

So, what’s harder, Jamie? Groveling at Newquay or getting big, no-hand pits at Pipe?
What’s harder?

Fricken groveling. Surfing good, heavy waves is almost like instinct, you know? I’ve grown up at Pipe, and have gotten so many sick ones that I’m just used to it. It’s no big deal. The ‘QS is different, though. You’re just trying so hard to find a little piece of mush that’ll let you do a snap — that’s when the fun turns into work.— Hagan Kelley