Jamie O’Brien Got Barreled While Holding A Drone At Teahupo’o

Drone in Barrel Jamie Obrien from Eric Sterman on Vimeo.

Music by Automatik. // Flight assistance by Drone Fly.

We did everything that you’re not supposed to do.” That’s what Jamie O’Brien had to say about the production behind the clip you see above. He meant it, too. Jamie partnered up with Eric Sterman and Brent Bielmann to take a drone to a place where drones are not supposed to go. A place more forbidden (maybe not in the eyes of the law, or the morally sound) than the airspace above your topless sunbathing neighbor’s yard. He whipped into a wave at Teahupo’o with the drone — propellers spinning, tape rolling — then got barreled, came out and released the drone like a white wedding dove into a sunset. Beautiful, no? We called Jamie to get a better explanation as to how such beauty was born.

JAMIE O’BRIEN: Eric and I have been talking about getting that clip for a while. We were talking about doing it at Pipe or Mainland Mexico, but we never ended up actually trying it. Then we were at Teahupo’o the other afternoon and he looked at me and said, “So you want to get a barrel with the drone?” The waves were perfect and we went for it.

I had to get towed in so that I could already be holding the drone. Nobody else was towing at that point, so Niccola Porcella and I just sat out the back and waited for a set. It was difficult just trying to keep the drone dry out there. Eventually, a wave came and he put me in the perfect spot. I let go of the rope and was like, oh my god this is really going to happen.

I remember looking at the drone in the barrel and not believing it. It was one of the most bizarre feelings I’ve ever had. I was trying so hard to keep the drone dry while still having to focus on making the barrel. It’s almost hard to explain. You’re just not supposed to put drones there [laughs]. Then I made it and let the drone go, and everyone on the boats started cheering and clapping. It probably felt like Eric Sterman won a contest.

Thanks, Jamie. And in a way, Eric did win a contest. He won the contest of your interest in the ever-competitive sphere known as the internet — there are plenty of topless drone neighbor clips out there, but you’ve invested your interest here instead. And here’s Eric’s victory speech. “You’ll be seeing a lot more of these new angles coming out by 2016.” Short, simple, and plenty sweet. We approve.