Company Profile: Lightning Bolt

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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.

History of Lightning Bolt

When was the company founded?

Lightning Bolt was founded in 1971.

Where was it founded?

Gerry Lopez and Jack Shipley started Lightning Bolt Surfboards in the summer of 1971 in Honolulu.

Who were the founders?

Gerry Lopez and Jack Shipley founded Lightning Bolt.

Why was it founded?

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.

Important milestones in the company’s history


Through the ‘70s, Lightning Bolt became ubiquitous.

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.


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!”


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.


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.


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.


Edited by Lightning Bolt, these magazines were written for people to whom surf – sport, culture, and fashion – was a lifestyle.


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.

Here’s to fifty years of history: a golden era. And a lot more to come!

Company mission, vision and values

If a surfer was hot, put a bolt under their feet & a quiver on their car.

The Company Today

Who is the CEO?

Sandra Gonçalves

How many staff do they have?

The estimated number of employees is 67.

How much revenue do they earn?

Lightning Bolt earns an estimated revenue of $12 million.

Where are they located?

The headquarters of Lightning Bolt is located in Portugal.

Do they have a foundation / non-for-profit arm?

The company does not have a foundation or non-profit-arm.

Which products do they specialize in?

Lightning Bolt specializes in surfboards but also has expanded to men’s, women’s and kids’ clothing and accessories.

In the News

Any mainstream news articles referencing the brand?

Lightning Bolt SS@1 men’s surf apparel preview

Any interesting quotes from executives or ambassadors?

Waves keep coming, that’s the one thing you can count on in life.

Gerry Lopez

Everyone gets caught inside when surfing. You have 2 options. Give up a paddle outside. Life is the same. Keep paddling!

Gerry Lopez

Surfing is attitude standing.

Gerry Lopez

The Ambassadors

Rory RussellFacebook


Do they produce any eco-friendly products or have a sustainability focus?

Lightning Bolt produces eco-friendly products and have a sustainability focus.

Showcase products

For more information

Visit the Lightning Bolt website.