Couple of years ago, I got on the phone with Gerry Lopez. He’s a very interesting man. We talked about a lot of things, from his relationship with Pipeline (“you know, a good wave is a good wave”) to a life in general (“I guess if you’re alive, that’s a pretty great thing”) to a fight I recently had with my girlfriend (“go to the hardware store, buy some knee pads, and beg for forgiveness”). Here’s what I had to say about him back then:
Gerry Lopez speaks very slowly.You can tell that he smiles through his words. Each is measured carefully before spilling out. He pauses mid-sentence often, and, in the course of a 45-minute conversation, I interrupt him a few times, thinking that he is done speaking. He isn’t. He is merely thinking about his words before he speaks, something that, surprisingly, is very rare. And although his words are slow, the content of them is not. His words have a presence – a quiet confidence bolstered by the fact that he knows exactly what makes him happy, and he has spent his life living the way he wants to.
His influence on surfing is almost beyond comparison. One of the first to master the Banzai Pipeline, Lopez’s style and casual approach to one of the most dangerous waves on earth struck a chord, and continues to do so today. Years spent searching for – and finding– perfect waves opened up the public’s eyes to whole new horizons. And yet, through all of it, his easy smile and quiet cadence remained the same.
He is quick to impart the knowledge he’s gained on the road he’s traveled, but quicker to explain that there is more than one road for each of us. Here is some of the wisdom from his road.
The rest of the article is a series of his quotes, because the simplicity of his sentences was better than anything I could have written. . His surfing, seen above at Uluwatu back in 1974, is much like he is–relaxed, thoughtful, and full of soul.