Gerry Lopez and Jock Sutherland - Talkin' Pipe Pt. 1
Storytelling in any form has always fascinated me. Whether penning a tale, shooting photos, helping make a surf film or just leafing through a good read, I always become completely enveloped in the process of how a story is built and ultimately unfolds. This quirk of mine sent me on an incredibly fun ride as a writer, photojournalist, and surf magazine editor. The journey allowed me to meet heaps of interesting folks and hear their unique stories. My more recent move to running a surf shop for Patagonia in Cardiff, California certainly didn’t slow or hinder my affinity for employing the story telling process on a daily basis.
I quickly learned that Patagonia has defined much of its success by embracing counter-intuitive ideas and philosophies. For example, co-founder and owner Malinda Chouinard always envisioned Patagonia stores as more than just places to buy stuff. They were gifts to the community: places that provided opportunities to learn about local environmental issues and groups, hear interesting guest speaker presentations, donate money to local environmental causes, and meet with friends to celebrate our uncommon cultures of surfing, skiing, and climbing.
When we opened the Cardiff surf shop in May of '06 I really took Malinda’s vision to heart and made a commitment to the surfing community that we’d live up to our promises. At the foremost of these was making good on our pledge to 1% for the Planet by giving grants to local grassroots organizations fighting everyday to solve the environmental crisis. Secondly, was to give back by way of supporting our surfing culture’s tradition of oral story telling. Considering the friendships we have with so many great surfers, we thought we'd have some of them stop by from time to time and share their fondest memories from the great moments in surf history as well as some yarns from their most recent adventures.
This concept first took hold in October '06 when the Campbell Brothers (Duncan and Malcolm) offered up a rare look at never-before-seen photos and film clips from the '70s of guys slicing through empty Silver Strand lineups on their innovative Bonzer designs. The turnout was unbelievable – 150 people squeezed into our cozy patio with another few dozen spilling out on to the sidewalk. It was immediately obvious we’d tapped into something really special. Something that's been sort of lost on today’s instantly gratified short-attention-span world. Surfers, it seemed, now had a place to experience the kind of rare, intimate moments you can’t get watching a DVD, browsing the Internet or reading a magazine.
When Gerry Lopez came to the shop in November of '06, a whopping crowd of 500 showed up to hear one of surfing's most important figures talk about his life’s journey of riding waves and mountains. At that point we knew there was an audience for these kinds of events. From there we moved on to host a heavy, and moving, slide show of surfing images from war-torn Liberia by Ted Grambeau, and narrated by surfers Dan Malloy and Chris Del Moro. We showed Yvon Chouinard’s lost climbing film Mountain of Storms. And later, Shaun Tomson talked in front of a packed house about the Surfer’s Code he’s always lived by.
More recently, Gerry came back with his own surfing hero, Jock Sutherland. The two rapped about their experiences at Pipeline and shared observations on the current scene. The standing room only crowd was just over 550 people, and if you missed it, I’ve attached a video snapshot of what it was like to sit down and hear these guys talk story.
If you like surfing and an intimate setting where you can see and listen to some of surfing’s most interesting and influential characters, come by and see us at our next event. To learn more, or to get on our event mailing list, contact [email protected].
I want to thank Yvon, Malinda and Fletcher Chouinard, Robert Cohen, Vickie Achee, Jason McCaffrey, Rob BonDurant and everyone in Creative Services, the Malloy brothers, Jon Peck and everyone that works at the Cardiff store. Without the support and enthusiasm from all these great people we wouldn’t be able to continue to bring you these unique events.
Keep an eye on the men's and women's surf pages at Patagonia.com, or here at The Cleanest Line, for more videos from the Talkin' Pipe event with Gerry and Jock. Also, stay tuned for details on Gerry's new book Surf is Where You Find It.