the catalogue #181
Bolt Pintail Shaped
8 ft 1/2"
MANUFACTURER: Unknown /
Lightning Bolt Surfboards? Hawaii
SHAPER: Gerry Lopez
DESIGNERS: Gerry Lopez
Fibre-glassed foam blank, 1/4"
redwood stringer, spray, resin pin-lines.
Tail: gun pintail
with very sight vee in tail
8" x 5 1/2'' base @ 5
Four colour laminate
Red - blue- red - black
Deck: LOPEZ - pencil on stringer, rear sweet
Image right is not from this
board, but #181 does have the same markings. I neglected
to take a suitable photograph.
Sprayed orange deck panel ,
yellow rails and thin black resin pin-lines.
Hand painted/sprayed, off-set
black and red lightning bolts
Shaped by Gerry Lopez circa 1972,
apparently for his own use. See
Subsequently purchased by Terry
Richardson and surfed in Hawaii, circa 1976. See below.
Board sold to Wollongong surfer, circa
Collected by Ralph Riddell , circa
On display at Ralph Riddell
34 Flinders Street Wollongong NSW
Phone 02 4228 - 0988
Dimensions and photographs, 12.03.20002
Special Note : The off-set lighting bolt graphic is not a
It has been applied in paint by hand
(brush or sprayed?) and the board dates from (and could even
pre-date) the earliest days of Lightning Bolt Surfboards.
A classic example of the Hawaiian Gun,
that traces it's origin back to Fran Heath and John Kelly's
Hot Curl design of the mid - 1930's.
Established as the preferred big wave
design in the 1950's by master shapers George
Downing and Pat Curren, the pintail gun was the favoured
design of Richard "Dick" Brewer:
The Pipeliner, for
The Mini-gun, for Lahaina Surfing Design, 1967,
Pocket Rocket, for Plastic
Fantastic Surfboards and Inter-Island Surfboards
Brewer's designs were a major shaping
influence on his understudies - Jock Sutherland, Jeff Hakman, Reno
Abelliro and Gerry Lopez.
Gerry Lopez had been a Brewer team
rider at several companies before shaping with Dick Brewer at Surfline
Surfboards, Honolulu: and at Dick Brewer Surfboards,
Hanapepe, Kauai, circa 1970.- 1972
He started his own company, Lightning
Surfboards, circa 1972.
Although an talented surfer in all
conditions, no surfer has been so strongly identified at one break
like Gerry Lopez is with the Pipeline, Oahu.
The longest reigning "Mr. Pipeline", he
set the standard for deep tube riding 1971 to 1977.
His major contributions were the
application of a fluid and relaxed style in extreme condition (see image below) and the
principle that the safest place to ride large waves is inside the
These are reflected in the fine lines
and subtle curves of the boards.
The identification between Gerry Lopez
and the Lightning Bolt logo is nearly as strong as that with
Pipeline, although he left the company circa 1995.
He was at the forefront in the
extension of surfing in Indonesia, circa 1975.
Gerry Lopez made further contributions
in the development of Windsurfing, circa 1985, and Tow-in surfing,
literally waded through blood at the slaughteryards to get
here, the break that had dominated my imagination since I'd
first seen those movies and the endless shots in surf mags.
|Terry Richardson from Wollongong,
NSW, is a goofy-foot noted for h is performances
on the South coast's many quality left-handers, in
particular Wreck Bay
An Australian rider of the Bonzer
design circa 1974, he competed with distinction in the
initial professional surfing circuit, circa 1974 - 1978.
Early shaping for Skipp
Surfboards, Wollongong, NSW.
He started his own company,
Terry Richardson Surfboards at Wollongong, circa 1980.
Richo (2018), Terry recalled the Lopez
It's amazing that Richo came that far when he was
In 1970 when I went to Australia for the World
Titles at Bells I was 22, we came with a big group,
George Downing was kind of our leader and he put me
in charge of all the young guys in the Hawaiian
team. - (Gerry Lopez)
Gerry told me that if I wanted to surf Pipe I could
just come and grab a board from his house.
I didn't know where his house was.
'Oh, you won't miss it, it's right there at Pipeline'.
I walked up the track and there it was.
It felt like god was inviting me to the come to the
A day or two later the swell
jacked and Banzai was breaking on second reef.
I was packing it!
Here was the moment that had filled my daydreams for
Gerry gave me an 8'1" and we paddled out with Rory Russell and
Jacky Dunne. - page 66.
(1976) Now Australian surfers had to pay $200 Lightning Bolt
boards at a time when you could buy a hand-shaped board in
Australia for $50.
Head shapers were no longer available for Aussies ordering
Tom Parrish was threatened: don't make boards for Aussies.
I just went about my business, trying to squeeze in as much
Pipe-time as possible.
Soon after I arrived I reconnected with Lopez who seemed to be
above all the threats and aggression, and he gave me a gun
that he'd shaped in 1972, one of the first Lightning Bolts.
It was an 8' 1/2" pintail, orange deck with yellow bottom and
rails and the classic red lightning bolt with black shadow
painted on the deck, before they had brand stickers.
As a raw twenty-year-old this was a pivotal moment.
Not only was I in possession of the perfect vehicle for
navigating Banzai, it had been bestowed on me by the Master.
Surely that would allow me a little bit of respect in the
wrestling ring of Pipeline. - page 132.
1. Drew Kampion :The Life and Work of Richard
The Australian Surfer's Jourrnal Volume
2 Number 3, Winter 1999, pages 72 - 95.
2. Phil Jarratt : The Last Soul Surfer
- Profile of Gerry Lopez
Surfer Volume 20 Number 8, August 1979,
pages 28 to 39
3. Mick Mock : Richo's Choice
Deep Number 18, Spring 2000, pages 22 to
Alby Falzon : The Morning of the
Earth, 1972 - Last sequences
The cinematic performances of
Gerry Lopez (surfing - not acting) are numerous and he
regularly featured in surfing films throughout the 1970's.
The Morning of the Earth
sequences are the earliest that I am aware of.
Terry Richardson and #181, Pipeline,
Hawaii , winter 1976 - 1977
Photo : Devine
'Terry Richardson, touching the
breaks (sic; brakes?) for a bit of a cover up at
Surfer Volume 17
Number 6, March 1977, page 46
board Gerry gave me became my Pipeline gun for the next
few years. Pic: Jeff Divine.
Richo (2018) page
wrote, January 2004:
the Gerry Lopez Lightning Bolt (#181) that you
have listed on your site looks exactly like the one in the
attached 1975 photos of Gerry's board quiver by Steve Wilkings.
Many thanks to Phil.
The photographs show Rory Russell, Jack Shipley,
Gerry Lopez with a quiver of Lightning Bolts, circa 1975.
In 2005, these images were available at Steve Wilkins Photography
Unfortunately the site appears to be
unavailable as at June 2014.
In October 2005, Ben Hams commented on the
very well known, and very highly respected Jack Shipley.
Jack was the co-founder of Lighting Bolt surfboards along with
Gerry in 1971, was head Hawaiian ASP judge, and is now head
judge of the HASA (Hawaiian Amateur Surfing Association).
Many thanks to Benny.
In Orange Sunshine: the Brotherhood of
Eternal Love (2010) Nicholas Schou writes of
the 70 foot wooden yacht the Aafie, purchased by a
Brotherhood consortium in the Virgin Islands with the intention of
sailing to Pakistan for a load of Afghani hash, to be purchased
with the funds from first smuggling a boat-load of marijuana (colitas)
from Mexico to Hawaii.
The yacht unloaded her cargo at Hana on Maui in early 1970, but
failed to complete the voyage to Pakistan.
The Mexican weed unloaded from the Aafie quickly became
famous throughout Maui as "Lightning Bolt."- page 212.
Gerry Lopez : a fluid and relaxed style in extreme
Pipeline circa 1973.
Photograph by Lerner.
Surfer Volume 14 Number
3, September 1973, page 48.
Richard Brewer, Gerry Lopez, Reno Abelliro
and Pocket Rockets ,
Maui circa 1972.
Photograph : David Darling
Australian Surfer's Journal
Volume 2 Number 3 Winter 1999, page 76.
(2003 - 2019) : #181 Lopez Lightning Bolt Pintail, 8ft 11in,