Gerry Lopez Speaks at Patagonia

Gerry Lopez's lightening bolt surfboards

Last Friday night (17th of November), Gerry Lopez spoke to a huge crowd at the Patagonia store in Cardiff by the Sea, California. The staff of Patagonia wisely filled an entire parking lot with chairs to handle the crowd they expected and recieved. The Mattson 2 helped mellow the crowd for an hour or more and by the time Gerry started speaking, everyone from old-school locals to groms lined the walls surrounding the lot. There were even surf folk chilling in the parking lot of the Shanty (a local dive bar) watching The Man speak about some of the choice pictures of his life.

Slideshow and more after the jump…

All photos by Maggie Marsek

Pictures 4-8
: To start the evening, Jeff Johnston showed slides and spoke about his first book, Bend to Baja. Starting with Keith Malloy converting his truck to run on striaght veg oil, covering some nice swell in the Californias, flicks from the road and ending at the tip of Baja, this book looks like a great use of paper. Hey Patagonia… send me one to review! ;D

Picture 9: Rob Machado introduced Gerry. Nobody better for the job.

Picuture 10: When Gerry began speaking, he so was mellow and humble that people in the back asked Devon to turn up the volume. No one asked Gerry to speak louder, which I think is an important distinction.

I appologize for what follows, as it is generally a poor bit of reporting. Instead having an audio or even video recorder I furiously jotted down quotes a notebook, only to leave some great line half-written when Gerry moved on to another enlightening comment or crack at a friend. The result is that everything below is paraphrased, not direct quotes. I fear I may have gotten something terribly wrong, so if you were there and see a mistake please leave a comment and I’ll correct. My notes are in grey boxes, the rest is paraphrased from Gerry…

The Early North Shore
There are a lot of ways to ride a wave. ‘Seems to happen best on a surfboard.

Picture 12: This is the first Dick Brewer minigun. It’s the board that started the shortboard revolution in Hawaii. Dick’s boards got really popular after this. It became hard to get one, so I started making my own.

Picture 13: My first board looked like an ironing board… …a lot of broken boards, a lot of trial and error, a lot of getting creamed…

…Sunset was a good place to do a bottom turn. I don’t think there is a better wave to do a bottom turn.

Picture 18: These boards are pretty flat, but worth a lot of money nowadays.

Boobie Jones
This is Boobie Jones. He had a bad habit of dropping in on me. I had a worse habit of not letting him get away with it.

In the slide show Gerry drops in behind Jones and makes a tighter bottom turn, making it to the face first. Jones looks back at Gerry in surprise halfway through his bottom turn and eats it, bad, getting sucked up over the falls. The crowd hoots.

On Movies
Being in Big Wednesday allowed me to be in some other movies…

Someone in the back shouts Conan and Gerry starts a clip from the movie, with no sound. He recites his lines from the movie in sync with the scene from the film and the crowd erupts in hoots and laughter.

…They asked me if I wanted to be a movie star. I asked them what I had to do and they said live in Hollywood. So I came home.

I’m bummed Gerry left his part in the North Shore out of the slideshow. Not sure if he was keeping it short or what, but I think I’m right in saying everybody loves Vince.

On Maui
The thing about Maui was, it could handle all these different wind and swell variations. When you put all the variables together, you could get some pretty good waves.

On Shaping
Building surfboards has always been a great job for me. I got to build all the boards I wanted, and every now and then I get to build boards for guys like Keith (Malloy).

There are alot of changes going on in the industry… …molded boards made overseas… …back then we called them pop outs. The only guys riding them were paid to. The other guys riding them we called kooks.

…If you buy those boards it’s going to kill our industry, you’ll have guys making boards that don’t surf and don’t know anything about surfing.

On Snowboarding

The next slide is a picture of a beautifull mountain, covered in untracked snow.

About 1992 I found a new surf spot. It’s very consistant and there’s no paddling.

…If you put a surfer in the snow, he’ll snowboard with the exact same body language he surfs with.

…You can make the drops as big as you want them. The only problem is you get to look at them first, and think about them. In surfing you just go.

On Surfing in Oregon
You do some wierd stuff to surf in Oregon. This is a wave in an irrigation ditch. Even Jack Johnson will come out and ride it.

On Yoga
SS Picture 24: Yoga and surfing pretty much go hand in hand. If you haven’t tried it, give it a go.

Pictures in Waves
…There is a face in the wave right here.
gerry lopez rob machado

Gerry starts mousing over the portions of the lip that looked like the profile of a man… eyes, nose, lips…

…I always thought that I’d like to meet the guy in the wave some day.

gerry lopez rob machado
gerry lopez rob machado

Gerry, I think you have. EDIT: The pic of Rob Mob is something I super imposed on Gerry’s pic.

That’s all the notes I have. I didn’t get everything he said down and I really hope someone got a recording, because surfers all over the world should see it.

Whenever Gerry was showing photographs of the places he’s been in the world, he would show a slide or two of children. These photos included the little kids that carried his boards and wore his shoes in Bali or his son learning to surf. I believe he mentioned after recounting his Bali experiences, “I’ll always remember the kids”.

Listening to Gery Lopez speak, you get the sense that he possesses a passionate concern for not only our sport’s future but also the future of the children of the world.

Surfing couldn’t have a better ambassador. Thanks Gerry.

12 Responses to “Gerry Lopez Speaks at Patagonia”

  1. Doc Says:


    Wish I coulda been there…

    But I was stuck surfing in Oregon…

    Thanks for the recap.


  2. Rhino Says:

    I can’t belive I did not hear about this.
    Let me know when something like this pops up again.


  3. ras Says:

    Great piece. It’s 6a.m. and I’m checking your site before I head out for frozen sunrise surf.

  4. morgan Says:

    its mattson 2

  5. rob70 Says:

    Thanks Morgan, I’ve corrected it in the post.

  6. pushingtide Says:

    Stoke! And thanks for the write-up for us heads who couldn’t make it down to get enlightened.

  7. RobB Woods GPIW/Patagonia/Ventura local Says:

    Great write up on the Gerry Lopez event.I was at the Corperate event prior to this one.From your photos essay would have like to see my friend do it down there too. Stoked to be !

  8. The Goat » Blog Archive » Gerry Lopez Proves Not All Surfers Blond, Spacey Says:

    [...] via 70 Percent Written by Rocky Thompson [...]

  9. JP Says:

    Once again excellent coverage by you crazy kids.

  10. S.d. Flores Says:

    Where is Gerry located. . . I got a break coming up and some extra dabloons’


  11. rob70 Says:

    I believe Gerry is in Oregon, but you can snag one of his XPS epoxy boards from the Patagonia Cardiff store.

  12. » Blog Archive » Dirtbags Invade Cardiff By The Sea Says:

    [...] A year ago Patagonia opened their first surf waterman’s shop in Cardiff. Since day one their events have positively contributed to the local community’s vibe. Gerry Lopez, The Cambell brothers and Shaun Thompson have all enlivened weekend nights on Chesterfield with projected surf and stories. [...]

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