Gerry was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, grew up in East Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii, and attended Punahou School. He frequented the semi secret reefs in and around Aina Haina as well as better known surf spots around Honolulu. An early reference point for his sleek and precise style was the legend Paul Strauch, whom Lopez still credits as “the most stylish surfer ever.” Lopez became the Hawaii State Champ at age 14, and he began surfing Ala Moana Bowls frequently. It is here that Lopez began honing his casual style and masterful tube riding skills.
Lopez played an important role in the industry of commercial surfboard manufacturing. While in Hawaii, and together with other shapers, Lopez started the Lightning Bolt Surfboards brand of high performance shortboards. Lopez created the Lightning Bolt brand; every surfer in the ’70s wanted one.
Whether shaping boards or building brands, Lopez’s mastered every pursuit with peerless grace and infinite respect, undertaking each new challenge with the same approach as his classically effortless Pipe crouch. This has earned an unprecedented level of respect within the surfing world. No matter how heavy the situation, Lopez continues to make the near impossible look deceivingly easy.