“It’s the Calm Before the Storm”: Millionaire Surfer Goes on a Chilling Adventure to Pick Up Trash and Clean the Reefs

Published 05/29/2023, 5:07 PM EDT

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Every sport has its own rebel, and for surfing, it would probably be Jamie O’Brien. Right at the start of his career, O’Brien made waves in the sport in 2004 after becoming the youngest man to win a Pipeline Masters, at 21. One could say he showed immense promise for a career in competitive surfing. But Jamie O’Brien decided that he did not want to be bound by the rules of competition.

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His decision gave birth to a free surfer, flitting around different parts of the world in search of a new adventure every day. But, underneath the fun-loving and carefree exterior, is a man who cares deeply about surfing, the ocean, and everything that comes with it.

Jamie O’Brien, the environmentalist

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O’Brien might have experienced thousands of different waves all around the world, but his favorite still remains the Pipeline. He grew up beside the famed turf, after all, and had mastered the art of riding those waves when he was 16. Recently, Jamie O’Brien shared a video right from the Pipeline, but this time, he was not riding the waves, he was cleaning them.

Before going for a dive at the Pipeline, O’Brien said, “The waves are pretty small right now. It’s the calm before the storm. So I figured, why not go check out the reef?” As O’Brien walked towards the roiling sea, he contemplated the idea of creating a Pipeline Walk of Fame, but immediately rejected it after he realized millions of people would flock to the place. As the video progressed, the Pipeline could be seen in all its glory, and Jamie O’Brien proceeded to call it the “gnarliest wave in the world” before suiting up and diving right in. It was shocking what O’Brien was able to dig up after spending some time underwater.

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The pro surfer displayed the mounds of garbage he had discovered from the ocean in his hands, and said, “…we don’t want this in our oceans. We wanna keep our oceans clean and beautiful. So, I’m glad I could do a little part today and clean up the ocean and find some treasures.” And what did O’Brien find underneath the surface of the water? The items ranged from a golf ball to shoe soles, slippers, plastic bottles, sunglasses, and dog toys. There was also a lot of surfing-related waste discovered, such as fins. These are, indeed, a bane to the pristine waters of the sea, and O’Brien is not the only one to recognize that fact.

Is surfing really a sustainable sport?

The seven times British women’s champion, Lucy Campbell, in a recent interview with BBC, raised concerns about the sustainability, or rather the lack thereof, in surfing. According to her, surfing might project an eco-friendly image, but the truth is far from that. The industry still makes use of surfboards made of plastic that are covered in toxins. She asserted to BBC that she will only accept sponsorships from brands that are actually sustainable.

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via Imago

Campbell said, “It’s often hard to turn down a big pay cheque, if they’re a brand that isn’t sustainable, but it’s definitely more worthwhile in the long run.” According to experts, the manufacture and export of polystyrene and polyurethane boards and neoprene wetsuits comes with a significant carbon footprint. Therefore, companies have now started looking into manufacturing sustainable surfboards and fully recycled wetsuits.

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At the end of the day, the wellness of mother nature is in our hands, and it is our responsibility to ensure that we keep the oceans, and all other aspects of the environment, neat and clean. Jamie O’Brien and Lucy Campbell are doing their part, are you?

Watch This Story: Kelly Slater’s Little Buddy Gets Special Praise from Surfing Legend Following His Sensational

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Written by:

Apoorva Behl

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Apoorva Behl is a sports writer for EssentiallySports. With a range that would make Bruce Lee proud, Apoorva’s writing embodies the philosophy of "Be Like Water," flowing seamlessly between a diverse range of sports and sensitive angles. Her articles are known to resonate with her audience, earning her a common spot on the Editor’s Pick list.
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Edited by:

Anupama Ghosh

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