Gerry Lopez, Pipeline Firewalker

Larry Bertlemann got the kids excited, and North Shore heavies like Barry Kanaiaupuni and Jeff Hakman inspired awe across the spectrum of waveriders, old and young, human and alien. But there remained a sliver of daylight at the top of the Hawaiian surfer pantheon, and there, slender as Gandhi, was Gerry Lopez—the coolest surfer alive; the Pipeline firewalker; the man who singlehandedly raised the tuberide from a mere surfing maneuver to an advanced Zen practice.

The Lopez-Pipeline union in t...