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Why Surf Legend Gerry Lopez Ditched Hawaii For The Mountains

The word ‘legend’ gets bandied around a lot, but Gerry Lopez – aka Mr. Pipeline – is genuinely one of the all time surfing greats. In fact we’ll even forgive him the cringeworthy chat about his Subaru in this sponsored video because it’s such a pleasure to listen to him wax lyrical about all things shred.

Lopez moved from Hawaii to Oregon in the early 90s, a switch that raised eyebrows in the surfing scene but which – given the mountains on his new doorstep – makes total sense to anyone who’s strapped on a snowboard. As he puts it, “The wind blows the snow into these shapes that are waves; they look every bit as great as a wave in the ocean… so Mt Bachelor is a hell of a surf spot.”

These days Gerry is still living in the famously alternative community of Bend, hand shaping surfboards, practicing yoga and working as an ambassador for Patagonia. The Big Wave Challenge is the latest project in a life that’s unfolded as naturally as a North Shore reef-break, a carving-fest in the mould of the Dirksen Derby and Baker Banked Slalom. We hope it continues to gain traction. Meantime, here’s a little more insight into Lopez’s snowboard philosophy we just stumbled across on vimeo:


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