Date: One Saturday morning in 1963.
Moment: Gerry Lopez surfs the Pipeline for his first time.
Location: Banzai Pipeline, North Shore, Oahu
On a calm morning in 1963, 15-year-old Gerry Lopez took his first tentative steps on what would become a long, winding road. He, along with his friend Tommy, were on a mission to surf Pipeline. Gerry Lopez had never surfed there before, and he was nervous. “It was a spot that, I guess, I was intimidated with at first,” he said. ”But I got to know it, and eventually became pretty comfortable there.”
There wasn’t anyone around. No one on the beach and no one in the water; the palms leaning gently away from the wind, feathering the top of a four-foot swell folding over the reef. It was the beginning of a long love affair – the first kiss in one of the most important relationships in the history of surfing.
The first few waves were a little rough – an awkward teenager fumbling with a bra strap. “I paddled for my first wave,” he wrote about the experience. “But it stood up so fast that I buried the nose of my board and quickly found myself swimming.” He and Tommy pearled on wave after wave. Lopez rode a 9′ 8″ Wardy with a 3″ redwood stringer, and it was built like a plank. The lack of rocker made Pipeline’s steep, quick drops nearly impossible, at least the way Tommy and Gerry were going about it. After a while, they gave up and bodysurfed.
Disruptors is a new series powered by Oakley that identifies the thirty most groundbreaking moments in surf history.