Firstly, it’s very cool to have someone like Gerry Lopez endorse anything. Having been to Mt Hood and Batchelor and spoken to people about the Gerry Lopez – endorsed Big Wave Challenge, it’s clear to see that The Poetry Man’s influence runs deep across other genres of boardriding.  

The Big Wave Challenge website describes their event as thus –

This snowboard only event features a series of huge sweeping banked corners, quarter pipes and spines, incorporating the natural terrain as much as possible, to create wave-like features into a flowing course - this year located off Midway. The idea of the Mt. Bachelor Big Wave Challenge is to bring the surf to the mountain.” 

Gerry Lopez’ message to competitors and spectators alike with regards to this event is thus:

I grew up surfing in Waikiki where the beach boys there taught all us youngsters that the best surfer was the one having the most fun. That was the foundation of my surfing and then surfing became my life. Snowboarding was an easy thing to get into because it was very much like surfing and if we look at either or both, the underlying reason we love it, is because it is really fun. Sometimes things can get in the way of that fact but ultimately, when we clear away all the ‘other stuff’, it will always come back to this basic truth.”

What does this have to do with a mechanical left-hand wave pool? Nothing much except the fact that the Big Wave Challenge gained all it’s credibility and inroads by being endorsed by someone of legendary status as Gerry, as well, much like the snowboard event. Therein lies the crux. Slater’s appointment of someone with Gerry’s credibility and coolness is canny marketing. Gerry is synonymous with G-Land, arguably one of the best and most perfect lefts in the world. Any surfer worth his or her salt has knowledge of Gerry hanging out in treetops, and surfing perfect uncrowded lefts for weeks on the edge of the jungle, and of surfing Pipeline in all sorts of moods and conditions.

Gerry, who will be turning 69 years old in November, comes with all the integrity, and then some. He is one of the rare surfers to have some sort of aura about him. It’s possibly a mix of his ability, his discipline towards the sport of surfing, his pioneering spirit, his approach to physical health and longevity, as well as his friendly smile for all and sundry that makes him so special.

It’s perfect timing as well. All eyes are on the wave pools of the world right now, as The Cove and Wavegarden, as well as Webber Wave Pools are all getting ready to rumble or step up, and it is therefore vital for market share and for credibility, to stand out above the rest.

You don’t get much more value in surfing than having someone like Gerry ride your invention, and then claim it and it’s virtues to the world.

“Kelly has created the quintessential perfect wave and you know to be able to get that over and over again is really going to push the envelope,” said Gerry, and with a comment like that about a perfect man-made left reeling off with the legend getting a head dip at full trim is all the authority that the left version of the Kelly wave needed. “That’s the future bro,” finished Gerry with a laugh. “That’s it, man.”

Done and dusted.

Video here