di Erika Scafuro
Pointing our lens at the legends of surf, it is impossible not to focus on Gerry Lopez. Have you ever heard of Mister Pipeline? No doubt, you have!
Surf icon Gerry Lopez was born in 1948 in the hawaiian island of Oahu. It’s not hard to imagine how great was living in Hawaii around 1950 and how the environment in which he grew up played a fundamental role with his destiny, in fact Lopez began to surf in childhood and came out his natural gift.
Very soon his surf skills improved so much until he distinguished for his incredible style of tube riding big waves in Banzai Pipeline, a surf break located in the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii. This place is considered one of the most perfect in the world: surfers can ride big waves that break during winter season (from October to March) over the three reefs of Pipeline, also if the peak is over the first reef, the closest to the shore. In 1972 and 1973 Lopez won, with his famous bolt board, two times the title of best surf tuberider of Pipeline Masters, a competition that held still today every year at Banzai Pipeline in Oahu. Mister Pipeline was born.
Around ‘70s as Honolulu was facing a rapid growth and devolopment as Lopez needed to find pristine places, he moved to Maui island. This period was such a golden age for Gerry Lopez: he began to travel around the world in search of the most incredibile and unknown surf breaks, he found the best to ride huge waves especially in Indonesia islands as G-Land and Uluwatu surf spots.
Living in a kind of paradise named Maui has meant also to follow a lifestyle in a natural and healthy way that included yoga and outdoor sport as mountain biking not to mention that Lopez started to to dedicate also to windsurfing and touring with stand up paddle.
Until 1993 when it came out a new phase for him and his family, during a winter trip in Oregon, Gerry Lopez experienced for real first time the snow. Guess what? From gliding along the waves of the Ocean, Lopez started to glide over the snow practicing snowboard and this became a big part of his life. A constant in Lopez is the search of large spaces in which to live in connection with nature and his passions, so it should come as no surprise that he decided to move to Bend, in Oregon, together with his wife and son Alex where they still live.
Of course Gerry Lopez is also known as surf and sup board shaper and, as other surf legends, he took part into several surf movies; we can watch him in Big Wednesday, Conan the Barbarian, North Shore and Farewell to the King.
Lopez represents an example for current generations of surfers and following his Instagram profile you can see how surf is an attitude for him and it is part of his whole life because “Surfing is a deeply wonderful thing – anytime, anywhere and any way”.