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.
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 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…
That was over 20 years ago.
“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.”
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.”
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/