One could be forgiven for calling Jamie O’Brien a big softie. These days the Pipeline aficionado seems to spend much of his time leading the foamie revolution, marching a tribe of soft-centered followers over the ledge and into heaving pits aboard spongy craft.   

Jamie’s regular soft board jams help perpetuate his role as one of surfing's court jesters. Both Jamie and fellow Hawaiian, Mason Ho, offer a free-rolling alternative to a WSL scene that can look a little vanilla-wrapped at times.

Jamie O'brien dancing with the foam ball on his foamie craft. Photo: Seb Diaz @surfographer

The foam board antics are also a furtive way of reaffirming just how good a surfer Jamie is because he can ride the buoyant, boxy-railed craft in almost any conditions - sliding through deep barrels and doing airs at will. It’s as if he is saying 'well if I can do this on these boards, imagine what might happen if I really tried'. Or maybe he’s just addicted to the peculiar sense of accomplishment that comes from pulling off tricky stuff on a foamie.

This particular beach-hugging barrel ride came from a very recent session at Cylinders in Southern California. Cylinders is just down from the famed Newport Wedge and while the Wedge is best known for its colossal, side-winding, back-wash-flared lefts, Cylinders hucks up cavernous right shoreys. Jamie O' obviously wasn’t scared to get a little sand between his bits.