Lightning Bolt is one of the original surf brands. Old surf magazines featured classic images of Gerry Lopez and Margo Oberg threading barrels with the famous bolt logo on the nose of their boards. Lightning Bolt meant Hawaiian barrels, pushing the limits, courage and dedication.
There was a time when Lightning Bolt seemed to fade from significance. Clothing bearing the logo could be found on sale in large retailers. However, the brand is back on track and we recently included the Craig Hollingsworth fish as one of our top boards for 2021.
Enjoy this tour of Lightning Bolt history, products and videos.
During the late 1960’s there was a rapid transition from longboards to shortboards and big companies couldn’t build boards six months in advance and stockpiling obsolete boards. This shortboard revolution gave local Honolulu shapers an opportunity – and it gave Lightning Bolt its start.
Gerry Lopez and Jack Shipley started Lightning Bolt Surfboards in the summer of 1972 in Honolulu, designing high performance shortboards. Lopez created the simple but eyecatching Lightning Bolt jag and every surfer in 1970’s wanted one.
It was in nearly every surf competition and surf movie made between 1971 and 1978. From the Pipeline Masters to movies like Morning of the Earth (1972), Going Surfin’ (1974), and Tales from the Tube (1975), the Bolt was everywhere.
’80s LIGHTNING BOLT ROAD TRIPS.
Rory Russell went around the world to find the perfect wave.
Those adventures were narrated in articles for the Surfer Mag. Now, they are iconic memories of the surf lifestyle back in the 80s: “Portuguese Pipeline” (Ericeira, Portugal), “Malibu Mischief” (Los Angeles, USA), “Morrocan Madness”, “The Scorpian Bay Sting” (Mexico), “A Banzai Birthday!”
’90s CIRCUITO LIGHTNING BOLT SURF ESPERANÇAS
Portuguese surf circuit powered by Lightning Bolt through the ‘90s.
The brand managed to organize the first championships in several spots that are now biggest references on European and World circuits, such as Ribeira D’Ilhas and Praia Grande.
It started in 1993 and boosted the future of national surfing. It is possible to talk about a Generation Lightning Bolt, since it was this circuit that shot several of the best surfers in Portugal, like Tiago Pires, Ruben Gonzalez, David Luís, Pirujinho, and Miguel Champalimaud.
’00s SURF TRIPS
Living the good old days in the present! Inspired by the ‘80s road trip with Rory Russell, Lightning Bolt powered surf trips around the world with the Bolt Team.
Some names immediately pop out from these trips: Papi Xulo aka David Raimundo, that was a Team Manager, is nowadays National Surfing Coach (PT); Edmar aka Miguel Ximenez, Pumas aka Nuno Côrte Real, Abacaxi aka Maria Abecasis, João Kopke, and Miguel Blanco were young Bolt Riders and today big names on surf scenery.
These trips provided unique experiences for young surfers, boosting the sport and career of a generation.
’00s LIGHTNING BOLT PRO JUNIOR – NATIONAL SURFING CHAMPIONSHIP
These events were a launching pad for young competitor surfers, but also a key part in new promises training and internationalization. There were free surf classes in each event for any surf enthusiast, and the best athletes of the circuit were awarded with access to the Lightning Bolt Sports Grant. This was an unprecedented initiative managed by the National Surfers Association (ANS), that aimed to finance the evolution of the athletes, as for Lightning Bolt competition only makes sense in a perspective of development.
Frederico Morais, the latest Portuguese surf star to make a solid impact on the World Surf League (WSL), showed up in Lightning Bolt Pro Junior, as the winner of the 2009 edition.
’00s: 2009 – 1ST EDITION OF THE BOLT MAG
Edited by Lightning Bolt, these magazines were written for people to whom surf – sport, culture, and fashion – was a lifestyle.
’10s: 2013 – LIGHTNING BOLT LIMITED EDITION COLLECTOR SERIES
Lightning Bolt invited five of the most unique, inspirational and legendary shapers ever – Gerry Lopez, Barry Kanaiaupuni, Tom Parrish, Rory Russell and Reno Abellira – to shape a surfboard of the era that they personally find emblematic. It resulted in a collector series pipeliners including the most memorable Bolt boards of all time.
’10s: 2019 – A PURE SOURCE ON TOUR
From May 9 to June 1, we shared Lightning Bolt’s legacy, keeping it real and present.
The Bolt Team went to the United Kingdom, Italy, France, and Portugal with the surf legends Rory Russell and Craig Hollingsworth.
It was a unique opportunity to meet two legends of Lightning Bolt, and obviously have fun! With surfing films sessions, talks, contests, music, and a lot of life’s sharing, Lightning Bolt’s social responsibility was not forgotten: raffles and giveaways were organized to benefit local institutions.
’20: 2021 – 50th ANNIVERSARY
This year is all about sharing who we are. We respect our roots by collaborating both with makers from the past and with new skilled artists, that have the same desire for adventure and pure expression.
At Lightning Bolt, we believe every moment, every piece has a tale to tell and you can become a part of the narrative yourself. Live this culture and lifestyle.