Lightning Bolt

Pipeline, Hawaii

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A Pure Source
Born in Hawaii in the summer of ’71, Lightning Bolt was comprised of Gerry Lopez and Jack Shipley at the time of its inception. During this period, Surfing was undergoing a transition as the migrations to the shores of Oahu throughout the 60’s were beginning to produce a newer breed of surfer. Previously, surfing had been largely associated with the style of Phil Edwards and his contemporaries in the 50’s and 60’s. A style best characterized by an adherence to trim. Many of the boards being ridden at the time were of heavy weight and typically still best characterized as single fin logs or variations of the design Bob Simmons and his contemporaries were working out. However, as Gerry and Jack continued their pursuit of the aloha spirit their board design began to take a radical turn toward the pinned out guns that began to hold the wall and allow them to sit deeper in the curl than ever before. Places like Pipeline, Waimea, and Sunset previously ridden by Greg Noll and Phil Edwards as near death defying feats were now being harnessed through the innovation of the radical board design. This newfound confidence allowed them to open up a style of surfing that became synonymous with the Lightning Bolt label they crafted under… Steeply angled drops into massive barrels pushed them closer to the most dynamic aspects of the breaking wave. What they found amounts simply to… A Pure Source.
Nearing forty years since first born, the brand has reintroduced itself in the United States and Brazil with surf veteran Jonathan Paskowitz leading the effort. The allure of the brand remains distinct and irreducible today almost 40 years from its beginning. At its core is a philosophy that surfing, in its truest form, is a way of life rather than just another sport. Rather, it was lifestyle that pushes physical and mental development and allows one a deeper connection with the natural elements that surround us. This is an aspect of surfing Lightning Bolt believes has wandered from the consciousness of today’s consumer. In this respect, it is the goal of the brand to highlight those that most resemble the true spirit of surfing. Often in competition, the true nature of surfing is lost. Lightning Bolt believes that which something is comprised of is exactly what makes it whole. In this sense, character goes hand in hand with the surfing prowess of the individual. Lightning Bolt seeks to keep the soul of the surfer ignited in the modern age by choosing style and class, in the water and out, in favor on contest results in its choice of representation.
As Lightning Bolt continues to grow and evolve from its roots some forty years ago, the focus of the company now becomes developing a label that will endure and remain representative of the Aloha spirit so closely associated with Bolt at its outset. Product categories will be carefully developed with functionality and taste in mind. Lightning Bolt believes that the corporate climate of action sports has left many out in the cold and with no true representation of their spirit and lifestyle. Lightning Bolt sees that today’s consumer is so often pandered toward and inevitably inundated with logos with every turn. The brand sees an opportunity to create within this maelstrom a brand that emphasizes quality, style, and utility.
Lightning Bolt features a collection of men’s apparel inspired by the Aloha spirit born on that small sliver of beach in Oahu. The designs inspired by the surfing of Reno, Rory, Gerry, Barry, and others to come. Additionally, Lightning Bolt has begun working closely with both Rory Russell and Reno Abellira as they continue the lineage of boards that helped ignite a generation of surfers. These legendary shapers are the beginning of a board program that aims to capture the very same soul first introduced by Rory, Gerry and the boy’s years ago. Lightning Bolt believes in an international presence. The company prides itself on manufacturing premium product and supporting local manufacturing where possible. In that way, Lightning Bolt tries to keep the mantra simple: Think Globally, Act Locally. Having just launched the brand in Brazil as well as increased presence in Europe, Lightning Bolt’s international presence and place in culture seems poised for continued growth. Currently distributed at the better surf and apparel retailers over the country as well as the flagship location opening in December of 2010 in the heart of Venice Beach. Lightning Bolt remains committed to the ethos so aptly captured in its logo. Lightning Bolt: A Pure Source.

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  1. Manuel Portugal
  2. Jon Hechtkopf
  4. Christian Yeager