Gerry Lopez: Icons of Foam Tribute
At The Boardroom Show this year, we are humbled and extremely stoked to honor legendary surfer and longtime US Blanks client Gerry Lopez in the Icons of Foam Tribute to the Masters shaping competition.
Six shapers will compete in a timed competition to replicate a classic Lopez single-fin Pipeline gun. The winner will take home a cash prize and their name will be etched on to the Mike Marshall Perpetual Trophy alongside past winners Ricky Carroll, Pat Rawson, Marc Andreini, Wayne Rich, Matt Biolos, Ward Coffey, Stu Kenson, Matt Calvani & Roger Hinds.
The Icons of Foam is the focal exhibition for The Boardroom Show, which will take place on May 14 & 15 at the Del Mar Fairgrounds in San Diego, California. The event is open to the public and provides a rare opportunity to rub elbows with iconic shapers and surfers, all under one roof. Click here to attend.
Hawaiian tuberiding specialist, lauded for his cool-under-fire style at Pipeline in Hawaii, and still regarded as the model of wave-riding elegance and refinement. “What he does is poetry,” fellow Pipeline ace Rory Russell once said. “For sheer beauty, no one else even comes close.”
Lopez was born (1948) and raised in Honolulu, the son of a newspaperman father and a high school teacher mother; he began surfing in Waikiki at age nine, but didn’t take the sport up in earnest until high school, when he was greatly influenced by silky-smooth Hawaiian regularfooter Paul Strauch. He won the Hawaiian Junior Championships in 1966, was a three-time finalist in the state titles (1968, 1969, and 1972), and a finalist in the U.S. Championships in 1969 and 1970.
The shortboard revolution had by then enshrined the tuberide as the ultimate surfing maneuver, and while Lopez was in the high-performance vanguard, ricocheting off the curl and doing hairpin cutbacks, he began to focus on riding as far back inside the wave as possible. Taking cues from Pipeline ace Jock Sutherland, Lopez taught himself how to take the simplest but deepest line through the tube, first making the near-vertical drop down the wave face, then turning and positioning himself beneath the curl with an absolute minimum of adjustments, and finally assuming a tranquil posture within the tube itself, knees slightly bent, arms and hands lowered, gaze steady. “One movement, one breath . . . very Zen,” three-time world champion surfer Tom Curren said of Lopez’s tuberiding at Pipeline. “Like an archer pulling back and letting the arrow fly.”
By 1972, progressive surfing was all but defined by images of the sinewy (5’8″, 135 pounds) dark- haired Lopez atop a sleek pintail surfboard decorated with a narrow lightning bolt logo, racing deep inside the Pipeline. Asked a few years later by Sports Illustrated magazine how he was able to keep his cool while enclosed in a exploding funnel of water, Lopez said it was partly from choosing the right waves, but also a matter of focus and concentration. “The faster I go out there,” the soft-voiced goofyfooter told the magazine, “the slower things seem to happen.”
Lopez was the most-filmed surfer of his generation, and a protracted Lopez-at-Pipeline sequence was part of nearly every surf movie made between 1971 and 1978, includingMorning of the Earth (1972), Five Summer Stories (1972), Going Surfin’ (1974), Super Session (1975), Tales from the Tube (1975), and In Search of Tubular Swells (1977). While the yoga-practicing Lopez had doubts about the validity of surf competition (“Surfing’s a dance,” he said, “and when you’re trying to squash your opponents it kind of takes away from that whole experience”), he nonetheless entered most of the pro events in Hawaii, winning the Pipeline Masters in 1972 and 1973, and making the finals in a handful of the meets held at Sunset Beach. He also traveled to Australia to compete during the nascent years of the world pro circuit. — Encyclopedia of Surfing