“It’s easier to ride the horse in the direction he’s going.” – Anonymous
“Surf is where you find it.” – Anonymous
Entire books could be written about Gerry Lopez. Suffice to say Gerry made his reputation at Pipeline, riding it like nobody else before him, or since. He was among a crew of Indonesian adventure pioneers who first surfed Garajagan, or “G-Land,” long considered one of the best lefts in the world. Lopez starred as himself in the surf-cult classic film Big Wednesday, and was noted as “shaper of the year” in Surfing Magazine’s annual surfboard design issue, 2002. He is as charismatic, intelligent and intuitive on land as he is in the waves. Gerry lives with his family in Bend, Oregon where he shapes surfboards and pursues the sport of snowboarding.
About himself, Gerry has this to say:
“When I lived in Hawaii, my needs were few and my interests limited… I watched the weather forecasts to keep track of storm activity for the surf that might be generated. Then I chased those waves down wherever they were and rode them. I was very happy doing this. In the tropical Hawaiian lifestyle, the bare neccessities didn’t include much more than a few pairs of shorts, some tee shirts, papayas, bananas, brown rice and fish.
“In 1989, I got interested in a new sport called ‘snowboarding’ and everything changed. I discovered snow and a whole new world. I found out the snow came from the same storms that I had already been watching. But I also found out that snow was cold. My shorts and tee shirts didn’t cut it anymore. The good guys told me about some long underwear called Capilene. They were right, Capilene kept me warm in the coldest weather. I found out Capilene was a polyester made from polypropylene… like boogie boards and plastic water bottles. I also found out used Capilene was being recycled by the company that developed it. I became very interested in that company. Now I live in Central Oregon and I work for that company. I’m happy about these things, about snowboarding, and especially still about surfing. My life has really changed.”
Check out the surfboards that Gerry shapes at www.gerrylopezsurfboards.com
When asked about his recent projects, Gerry says: “Raising a son. We moved to Central Oregon full-time when he started the first grade and have been here ever since. He’s in college now and so far, so good. We live near a great ski mountain and everyone loves the snow. We all spend a lot of time snowboarding. My wife and I love Nordic Skiing. Summers here are short but sweet and warmer, that’s when we go camping a lot.” The lakes and rivers in Oregon are splendid as are the coast and beaches.
“Surfing is still my all-time favourite pastime. Recently I’ve become enamored with Stand Up Paddle surfing and find myself going for it at every opportunity.
“Other than that, I’m just doing the usual. Still building surfboards, something I’ve done for the last four decades but it remains creative, artistic and fun. Plus, its good practice for when I want to make myself another surfboard.
“I‘ve written a book of surfing short stories. It’s called, Surf Is Where You Find It, and can be found at any of the Patagonia stores. I have many more stories and am considering another book.
“If I knew what the future would be it would spoil all the fun of waking up each day to something new.”
“I’m the kind of person who dislikes wasting anything. I’m living in one of the greenest places in the US and I think my destiny has brought me here for the lessons about sustaining our natural resources.
“I’ve always believed another wave is always coming but in a figurative sense. At the rate our modern world burns through everything, there may be a point in the future when there won’t be any more waves… that would be a great tragedy for our children.
“Too often people live a life of ‘Use it, abuse it, throw it away and get another one.’ Well, it can’t be like that anymore and the responsibility to do something about it falls on us. To bring peace to the world, we must first find peace within us, so the first step in changing anything is to change ourselves.”
Favourite Patagonia Products
“Besides the wearability, the designs, the comfortableness, and the durability of just about everything Patagonia makes, the idea that the cotton is organic, the polyesters come from used plastic bottles and everything is built with sustainability or recycling in mind is completely refreshing and right.”Background Photo: by Scott Winer. Kohl Christensen locks into another one in a seemingly endless week of A-plus surf in Fiji.