Gerry Lopez Big Wave Challenge & Luau | Mt. Bachelor, OR on May 11, 2013

Andrew Marshall |
Big Wave Challenge at Bachelor
Big Wave Challenge at Bachelor.  photo:  Andy Goggins

There’s a swell upon the sea…or at least upon the mountain. Next Saturday May, 11th, the Gerry Lopez Big Wave Challenge returns for its third year to Mt. Bachelor. The lifts are still spinning and with over 400 inches of snowfall this season, Mt. Bachelor is prime for spring shredding

Legendary big wave surfer and Mt. Bachelor Ambassador, Gerry Lopez will be hosting this snowboard-only event complete with an after party luau, traditional Hawaiian music and cuisine.

Mount Bachelor, OR
Mount Bachelor, OR

Based on elements found only in a surf competition, the Big Wave Challenge is unlike any other snowboard event. Riders are judged on control, speed and power through a flowing course of banked corners, hips and quarter pipe ‘waves’. Features are set up to air or slash and just like in the ocean, riders won’t be able to truly feel the swell until they drop in – no practice heats.

Gerry Lopez, nineteen seventy-awesome.
Gerry Lopez, nineteen seventy-awesome.

Gerry has been slashing Mt. Bachelor since 1989. He is also cooler than an ocean breeze and was kind enough to catch up with Snowbrains this week to discuss further…

“Guys like Sunny Garcia and Derek Ho got me snowboarding. They were into it way more than I was at the time. Tom Sims told me, ‘you’re gonna love that mountain – it’s full of snow waves.’”

That was over 20 years ago.

Gerry Lopez.  photo:  Andrew Marshall
Gerry Lopez. photo: Andrew Marshall

“The snow waves are a result of wind build up. They are in the same places year after year, but always a bit different – just like real waves. Eventually I started to name them after spots they reminded me of and people have begun to recognize…Uluwatu, G-land, Mavericks.”

“That’s where the idea for the Big Wave Challenge came from.”

“Of course visiting the mountain’s natural waves would be neat, but logistically it made more sense to build our own. Getting machines, judges, riders all over the mountain would be tough. Plus it’s late in the season – features will be changing enough as the day warms up.”

You can see the waviness of Bachelor in this photo.
You can see the waviness of Bachelor in this photo.

The spirit of the event is more about fun than competition, but it’s growing every year and with Superpark 17 taking place at Bachelor this week, there are bound to be a few professionals in the house. Pat Bridges, editor of Snowboarder Magazine, and friends are set to judge.

New this year is also a Pro Surfer division. Amongst others, Ian Walsh, Shane Dorian and Matt Meola received invites, but Gerry is somewhat skeptical about their attendance…”you never know where they might chase the swell.”

It snows a lot a Bachelor in Oregon.
It snows a lot a Bachelor in Oregon.

BIG thanks and BIG respect to Gerry Lopez for taking the time to chat with us. Mahalo!

Registration is still available online at: http://www.mtbachelor.com/winter/services_activities/activities/events/bigwavechallenge

For more info check out the Transworld recap from last year: http://snowboarding.transworld.net/1000178173/photos/the-gerry-lopez-big-wave-challenge-at-mt-bachelor/


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3 thoughts on “Gerry Lopez Big Wave Challenge & Luau | Mt. Bachelor, OR on May 11, 2013

  1. Very cool event. I’d go just to get a high five from Gerry…then never wash my hand again. It’d be very cool to throw a few words back and forth with him.

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