"Lopez rode Pipeline like Audrey Hepburn stepping out of a cab on 5th Ave.”
Did you know that the Hawaiian surfer Gerry Lopez, who is seventy-four, is the star of a new documentary made by the award-winning filmmaker and former skate star Stacy Peralta?
Oh of course you didn’t.
We eat up our stars, lick the bones and then go back to our crass TikTok lives.
A seventy-four-year-old man? Eee-yew!
Gerry, of course, ain’t no ordinary surfer.
When I hit surf historian Matt Warshaw about Gez, he left little doubt to his explosive influence at Pipeline.
“He catwalked the hell out of it,” said Warshaw. “He invented it. Nobody catwalked Pipe before Gerry. Jock Sutherland, my third-favorite surfer as a kid, rode Pipeline like he had a stick of dynamite up his ass. Lopez rode it like Audrey Hepburn stepping out of a cab on 5th Ave.”
A little misstep in the film, small, not fatal, is reference to Lopez’ supposed modesty.
“There is towering dignity, yes. But the self-effacing bit is nonsense. Or not nonsense, exactly. It is strategic and disarming. Lopez, and I say this with the utmost respect, is incredibly calculating and shrewd,” says Warshaw. “You only ever see what he wants you to see, when and where he wants you to see it. Which makes him, in this live-streaming tell-everything age, all the more attractive. He’s the last mysterious man in surfing.”
As for his surfing,
“At the height of his powers, if you’d stacked the reputation of every other big-dick surfer into a pile, it would have come up just below Gerry’s chin.”