Mr. “Pipeline” himself, the pirate who discovered a new frontier at Banzai Pipeline, and co-founder of Lightning Bolt Surfboards, shaped this master-piece as a benchmark for the transition into the short board phenomenon.
“These surfboards were the state of the art back in the 1970’s when Jack Shipley and I started Lightning Bolt Unlimited, Surf Co. Inc. The pintail shapes were designed specifically for the riding the tube at the Pipeline, something that had not been done with a lot of success before that time. The sleek look of the shapes as well as the uniquely individual color work of the glass jobs had tremendous appeal to surfers visiting Hawaii from all over the US and other parts of the world. We sold a lot of these racy pintails because they looked great all lined up in the racks of our shop. Many of them ended up at beaches on the East Coast of America, Australia, England, Japan and other places where they really were unsuited for the local waves. They did, however, still look good on any beach anywhere.” Gerry Lopez.
THE PICTURE OF COOL AND CALM
Lopez was the picture of cool and calm surfing The Pipeline when surfers were taking their sport back and taking it underground. Real surfers were appalled by what mainstream culture had done to surfing in the 1960s: Frankie and Annette riding the wild surf bom dip da dip da dip. It was phony BS into the 1970s, all of a sudden it was uncool to be cool. Be visible. Lopez was an exception to that. The world was mesmerized by a man who matched Pipeline’s power and beauty with grace. Lopez’ fast-twitch, German/Japanese physiology was part of the act, but what was under his feet was also important.
Matt Warshaw detailed the influence of Gerry Lopez as figurehead/godhead in The Encyclopedia of Surfing:
Lopez was the most-filmed surfer of his generation – a protracted Lopez-at-Pipeline sequence was part of nearly every surf movie made between 1971 and 1978, including Morning of the Earth (1972), Five Summer Stories (1972), Going Surfin’ (1974), Super Session (1975), Tales from the Tube (1975), and In Search of Tubular Swells (1977).
Lopez needed surfboards that were as lithe, quick and fast as he was – so around 1970, Lopez teamed up with experienced Surf Line Hawaii store manager Jack Shipley to form an elite boutique for Hawaii’s best surfer/shapers. The symbol was the Lightning Bolt and the symbol meant energy – the energy of Hawaiian surf, but also the energy of human physicality and artistry to make the surfboards to ride that energy deeper, faster and more radical.