Which Ski Resort is the Surfiest? | “Mr. Pipeline”, Gerry Lopez, Votes for Mt. Bachelor, OR

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[this article is sponsored by Mt. Bachelor, OR]

Gerry Lopez is known as “Mr. Pipeline”.  What did Gerry do to deserve that nickname?

Oh, not much.  He was just the best to ever surf pipeline, won the Pipeline Masters back-to-back years in the 70s, was “Waterman of the Year” in 1999, and stated Lightning Bolt Surfboards which was the first to ever sponsor team riders with free boards.  That’s all.

Gerry has lived in Bend, OR since the early 1990’s where he surfs the heck out of Mt. Bachelor, OR.  If you didn’t know how surfy Bachelor is, watch this video and you’ll get it immediately.

Gerry even has his own event at Bachelor:  The Gerry Lopez Big Wave Challenge where competitors try to outdo each other with fluid, surfy moves and style.

Mt. Bachelor has already gotten 368″ of snowfall this season and they currently have a 128″ snowpack.

Gerry Lopez at Pipeline, Hawaii in the '70s
Gerry Lopez at Pipeline, Hawaii in the ’70s


Lopez and friends began to migrate out to Oahu’s North Shore, where they watched surfers like Butch Van Artsdalen and Jock Sutherland ride the hollow waves of the Banzai Pipeline. As surfboard designs began to integrate “downrailer” edges, curve, foil, and rocker, the vertical drops and thick tubes of Pipeline became survivable. Not long after, performance levels at big Pipeline exploded, led by Lopez. Quoted: “If you can buy it with money, it is cheap.”

He was widely recognized as the best tuberider in the world, and won the Pipeline Masters competition in 1972 and 1973, which has since been named the Gerry Lopez Pipeline Masters. In 1999, he was selected as “Waterman of the Year” by the Surf Industries Manufacturing Association (SIMA).

Lopez played an important role in the industry of commercial surfboard manufacturing. While in Hawaii, and together with other shapers, Lopez started the Lightning Bolt Surfboards brand of high performance shortboards. Lopez created the simple but eyecatching Lightning Bolt jag; every surfer in the ’70s wanted one. This brand was the first one to sponsor team riders with free boards, partially because many of the riders didn’t have the money to buy them.

Lopez and friend Rory Russell were credited with exposing and validating Indonesia and nearby areas as a comprehensive surf destination. Starting with the long, ultra shallow reef tubes at Uluwatu in Bali, Lopez and crew explored the immense surf potential of the ancient island archipelago. The undisputed crown jewel of their discovery was a long, peeling, and dangerous left-hand pointbreak located in the Indonesian natural reserve of Plengkung, on the southeastern tip of Java. The nearest town is called Grajagan. The surfspot they discovered is known today among surfers as G-Land.

Lopez has also worked as an actor, appearing mostly in films by fellow ex-surfer John Milius. In 1982, he played the character Subotai in the film Conan the Barbarian with Arnold Schwarzenegger. Other film appearances include Big Wednesday (1978), North Shore (1987), and Farewell to the King (1989). He has also appeared in numerous surfing documentaries, including Five Summer Stories (1973), Tales From The Tube, Step Into Liquid (2003), and Riding Giants (2004). Lopez is an ambassador for Patagonia clothing company and has written at least one essay for their catalogs. He also appears frequently in ads and catalogs for Rainbow Sandals, and is a friend of the founder of the company and fellow surfer, Jay Longley. – wikipedia

In 2008, Lopez authored a book called Surf Is Where You Find It.  He and good friend Jock Sutherland also appear on YouTube in the Patagonia sponsored “Talkin’ Pipe” series, where they describe their harrowing and sometimes humorous early experiences at the Pipeline.


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2 thoughts on “Which Ski Resort is the Surfiest? | “Mr. Pipeline”, Gerry Lopez, Votes for Mt. Bachelor, OR

  1. Hi Gerry~ Began surfing N. Oregon coast in ’64. Later, lived in Bend 71-72, skied every day. Lived with Randy Barna, Ron and Gail Hill. Then moved to Sun Valley ’72-’76 same deal. Nov 76 was paralyzed at train crossing accident in PDX. So no more surfing and skiing. Began racing sports cars in ’88 still at it 2016 . YOU, sir, would be a VERY fast racecar driver. Same ingredients as surfing, skiing (and boarding I’m sure).

    Have your book—an excellent read. You write extremely well. You must have been good student at Punaho (sic). Hope to talk to you some day. Keep shredding and maybe I’ll get you in a racecar at PIR. All you need is another obsession, right?
    Rock own Mr. Lopez! Sincerely, John Brewer, Beaverton Oregon

  2. If you want to talk about surfing the mountain get strapless and snow sk8. Gerry if you ever want to borrow one of mine come find me at Cape Kiwanda. I will be one of the wimps surfing prone in awe as you SUP past us at gas chambers.

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