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Pro Surfer-Turned Content Creator Jamie O’Brien Discusses Reality of Competitive Surfing on Red Bull’s 'Mind Set Win' Podcast

Episode 8 of the third season of Red Bull’s Mind Set Win podcast sees record-breaking surfing icon Jamie O’Brien sit down with host Lisa Ramuschkat to discuss the risks and rewards of competitive surfing and his 180 move into social media content creation.



Growing up right by one of the world’s most notorious waves, the Banzai Pipeline, led to O’Brien developing his love for surfing from a young age, winning his first competition aged just six. He quickly became enamoured with the sport, going on to become one of the youngest surfers to ever win the Pipeline Masters.


Jamie quickly went from strength to strength collecting numerous accolades, including being recognised as a Surfer Magazine Breakthrough Performer of the Year, awarded to up-and-coming athletes with an impact on the sport for years to come. His professional career then led him to discovering a second love: content creation. In filming his surfing to watch back and study, Jamie found an affinity for creating and building content, and to date has produced two films.


In this episode, Jamie discusses the highs and excitement that comes with such a high adrenaline sport such as surfing, but also opens up about the fear that sits alongside it, following a number of catastrophic accidents. He discusses how he developed the mental strength and drive to push through the fear and be comfortable with risk-taking. He also speaks candidly about the pressures of competitive sport, and his subsequent move to focusing on content creation and opening up his own surf school.


Here are some key quotes and soundbites from the chat:


On dealing with feelings of fear and assessing risk vs award

I get scared. I feel like I might almost drown, but I'm not going to tell someone I almost drowned. I feel like I fight with a lot of these feelings - sometimes when you're the most scared, those are the times when you're living the most. I'm not saying live life on the edge 24/7, - you’ve got to take calculated risk. But understand, is the risk worth the reward?”


On his ‘mind over matter’ approach

If you're scared, you got to be mind strong. You got to get through it. You know? It's like anything in life, right? You get delivered a lot of surprises in life. But, you know, mind over matter, you know, who cares what everyone else thinks? It's putting yourself and your mind in the right place and focusing and zoning in on the task. And that's when we all, as humans, become superhumans.”


On chasing the adrenaline

“For sure I'm chasing the adrenaline, but like, when I walk out in my backyard, or a pipeline, sometimes I'm scared. So I wake up, sort the dogs, drink my coffee, and I look out and I'm like, ‘one, two, three’. I'm out there. I just go straight downstairs and I'm like, straight on it and yeah I'm scared. But I'm like, wax on the board and my adrenaline is going, like I'm a risk taker, I’m ready to take the risk, I’m ready to get out there.”


On trusting himself and his capabilities

"Those hours that you put into the water are so valuable to the moment that you're very scared, but you trust your ability to survive. So I know when I go surfing that I know, like, I gotta remind myself still to this day that, like, if I'm ever nervous, I gotta kind of back in the bank and go, you put in the time, you put in the hours. You've done this for 20 years."


By ML Staff. Content/Image courtesy of RedBull

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