GERRY LOPEZ BY ROB MACHADO

Tracks - - Standing On The Shoulders Of Giants -

My first mem­o­ries of Gerry were im­ages from mag­a­zines. I had a poster of Gerry on my wall and I re­mem­ber it as clear as day. Gerry stand­ing in the tube per­fectly poised wait­ing to get blown out with the spit. This shot gen­er­ated so many emo­tions for me. It was late af­ter­noon and one of the most beau­ti­ful back-lit im­ages. It was the last thing I saw be­fore I went to sleep and the first thing I saw when I woke up. It scared the shit out of me. I never thought I would ever ride a wave even close to that. Then there were the movies. The lo­cal the­atre that played all the surf movies is called La Paloma. When­ever a new movie came out I was there. It was hec­tic. Peo­ple scream­ing and yelling. I was su­per young but I re­mem­ber see­ing some old 16mm footage of Gerry get­ting blown out of tube af­ter tube at Pipe and just be­ing in to­tal awe. He made it look so easy. I think af­ter watch­ing some­one surf for any long pe­riod of time, it's go­ing to have an ef­fect on you. Whether you know it or not. It's kinda like guitar play­ers ... you lis­ten to Hen­drix long enough and it’s only nat­u­ral that you want to try and play like him. It ob­vi­ously doesn’t al­ways pan out that well, but grow­ing up and watch­ing Gerry def­i­nitely ef­fected the way I ap­proached waves. I don't think you re­alise it at a young age. It's more on a sub­con­scious level. As you get older, you re­ally start to un­der­stand things more clearly. Gerry's surf­ing is pure. There’s no un­nec­es­sary move­ments. If you think about the gen­er­a­tions be­fore Gerry and the gen­er­a­tions be­fore that ... surf­ing was purely based around style and your abil­ity to surf good un­der in­tense sit­u­a­tions and look su­per cool and re­laxed do­ing it. Gerry took that ap­proach into the short board rev­o­lu­tion and into one of the heav­i­est waves in the world: Pipe­line. There's so many amaz­ing im­ages of Gerry at Pipe. There is one shot that is so cool. It was at the end of his love af­fair with the Pipe­line and he must have been in his 40s. He got a crazy sec­ond reef dou­ble up that just went nuts on the first reef. A re­ally big first reef one. The scary ones. He was rid­ing for Gotcha, had a yel­low and green board, so early 90s. It might have been one of the last crazy waves that Gerry rode at Pipe. I didn't know Gerry very well un­til 2004 when we both went on a boat trip in the Mentawais. Gerry and I had to sit on a boat to­gether for eight hours while we crossed the Mentawai Strait. No one else. Just us – star­ing at an open ocean with noth­ing but time. We talked about ev­ery­thing. I asked ev­ery ques­tion I could think of from Pipe­line to G-land to snow­board­ing to yoga and med­i­ta­tion. One topic led to the next and on and on. Af­ter that boat ride, our friend­ship was born. Af­ter cross­ing the strait we ar­rived at this perfect lit­tle left and there was no one out. The boards couldn't come out of the bags fast enough. We surfed to­gether for a few hours with not an­other soul in the water and not a cam­era in sight. We hooted each other into waves and laughed the whole ses­sion. It was magical. Over the past 10 years our friend­ship has grown and I'm stoked to be able to call him my friend and a men­tor.

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