"The Yin & Yang of Gerry Lopez" is a fascinating film about the life and career of Gerry Lopez, a pioneer of modern surfing and one of the most influential figures in the sport. The film explores Lopez's life, influence on the surfing culture, connection to the natural environment, and commitment to protecting the planet. It also looks at his philosophy of balance and harmony, how these principles shaped his approach to surfing and his overall outlook on life. It is another film produced by Patagonia, the outdoor adventure clothing company known for its passionate commitment to environmental and social responsibility.
From the beginning, Gerry Lopez seemed destined for surfing stardom. He was born in 1915 in Hanalei, Hawaii, to a father who was an expert cast net fisherman and a mother who was a powerful swimmer. He grew up with ready access to the beach, watching surfers perfect their craft. And though he began surfing at a young age, the surfing bug bit him quite late, only when he was in university in California. From then, he was hooked, fully immersing himself in surfing culture and what was to be a proverbial love affair that would last a lifetime.
Lopez quickly developed a reputation as an exceptionally skilled, stylish and somewhat aggressive surfer. He began to join contests and soon found himself winning them all, gracing the cover of surfing magazines and starring in surfing docu-films popular in the late 60s and early 1970s. He is popularly known as "Mr Pipeline" because he is one of the first surfers to conquer the famous surf break at Banzai Pipeline on the North Shore of Oahu and, in succeeding years, even more challenging waves worldwide.
He also discovered yoga early in his career and is famous for incorporating it into his surfing routine. He claims that practicing yoga has improved his flexibility, balance, and strength and helped him develop mental clarity, concentration, and the ability to stay calm and composed under pressure.
But beyond the actual surfing, Lopez also creates high-quality surfboards and is a significant contributor to the design and construction of modern surfboards. He began shaping surfboards in the 1970s and quickly gained a reputation for producing functional and aesthetically pleasing boards known for their precision, attention to detail, and superior craftsmanship. His innovative approach to surfboard design has also greatly impacted the industry, experimenting with new materials and construction techniques. Today, Lopez's "Lightning Bold" surfboards are still the most sought-after by surfing enthusiasts and experts worldwide and are considered some of the best in the industry.
Many were surprised by his sudden move to Colorado in the 1990s to raise his family. However, it did not lessen his passion for the sport. Gerry also took up snowboarding like a duck to the water. Today, Gerry Lopez is 74, still fighting fit, still surfing and inspiring thousands.
Directed by: Stacy Peralta