The Big Wave Challenge at Mt. Bachelor is a perfect synthesis!
Growing up on the Oregon coast I pointed my little nose toward the sea rather than the mountain. I was cold and miserable enough and the technicolor dream of California and Hawaii fired my imagination. Oh I went to the hills, to Hoodoo and Willamette Pass and even Mt. Bachelor a handful of times a season and loved but surf had my heart even though the water was near freezing and angry sharks swirled underneath my frozen solid feets.
When I was in the ocean, amongst the waves, I could at least pretend that I was tropical. I was at least doing the same thing that bronzed Australians and even more bronzed Hawaiians were doing.
And I remember like some great tragedy the day that Hawaiian legend Gerry Lopez left Oahu’s North Shore and moved to Bend, Oregon.
“BEND?” I thought. “Why did Gerry Lopez go crazy? What made the poor man lose his mind?”
For those who don’t know, Mr. Lopez is one of the most stylish surfers of all time and Pipeline was his playground. I could not fathom what would make someone move from the warm to the cold. From the sand to the snow. From Hawaii to Oregon.
And then, years later, I snowboarded in powder for the first time and it all made perfect sense. It all clicked.
I crossed paths with Gerry a few years ago. I was waiting on a helicopter out of Bald Face and he had just arrived. The man belongs in both worlds equally and, oddly both world’s belong to each other. And, thus, his surf event at Mt. Bachelor, the Big Wave Challenge, makes perfect sense too.