Andy swung by and hung out at Astrodeck recently. Of course he did. He’s a Wave Warrior. Andy did a little Q&A with Dibi Fletcher for her “D-Side” series of interviews. Linked below is a teaser piece of that interview, so make sure you come back later to check out the rest of the interview in its entirety.
Here’s a teaser piece of Andy Irons when he swung by Astrodeck recently to do “The D-Side” interview with Dibi. Check it out and stay tuned for more!
Herbie went on a boat trip to the Mentawai Islands this past fall. It was all-time. With a crew that consisted of Nathan Fletcher, Bruce Irons, John John Florence and Danny Fuller, how could it not be?
When Herbie came back to San Clemente, he came back in typical form: with lots of great tales of near-perfect surf and good times. He also took a bunch of photos for definitive proof of all of this. Always stoked, always amped. So Herbie.
Here Herbie takes us back to last October and how it all went down. Read it through and check out the pics while you’re at it. To say the least, Herbie and the guys were going mental at the Mentawai Islands! This is Part 1 in the series, with more to follow in upcoming blogs.
I was sitting at my desk at Astrodeck, working on some new traction pads when Nathan called me and asked if I would like to go on a boat trip that he was putting together. I hesitated for a moment because I wanted to go, but knew that something like this was going to be a big commitment. I was thinking about all those waves I had seen from photos and about being on a boat for two weeks. If the waves were going to be good, it would be such a great trip.
Nathan told me that Archy (Matt Archbold), Bruce Irons, Danny Fuller, and John John Florence were the surfers he had picked to go, with Art Brewer taking photos and Joel Guy as the videographer. Such a core group of guys. Hard to pass up.
It was a perfect time of the year for surf and the winds…well, it’s an island, you know? No matter what the wind does, somewhere it’s offshore. At work, things were slow. Business usually is during Mid-Fall. And at the islands during this same time, there are hardly any boats because the season is coming to an end. So that also means no crowds. Not that that really matters, I guess, because I always get my quota. So, keep in mind, all these things factored into my head real quick about whether or not I should go. Then when Nathan said that it would only be the six of us on that boat, I was so stoked. Just us at that break. And I couldn’t think of a better group to go with.
I mean, I’ve known these guys since they were groms. Archy, Nathan and I used to surf all the time together. California, Hawaii, Mexico, etc. Archy would come by just before sunrise and get the coffee going. It was a trip to see him now with a fat ass gun, laughing and joking. “Fuck Herb!” he’d yell. And Nathan would be right there chomping at the bit, so excited to surf with Arch, knowing that he was going to have a good day.
To watch Arch surf was the best because Archy is the man. Archy surfed fucking great. Always doing new and innovating things. His surfing has always been radical and he put himself in critical positions, and pulled it off, frontside and backside. There are only a few great surfers that push the limit every five years. Kids have always been coming up, changing and pushing the old guys, and Archy was one of those kids.
Bruce Irons is another one of those surfers who has always been gnarly. He’s been blowing minds from a young age. Bruce and Andy would come by Astrodeck first thing in the summer on their way to the NSSA Nationals at Trestles. They’d stock up on Astrodeck for the contests so they’d have more control with their boards and be able to push the limits in the air and on edge. As they grew-up, they’d stop by my house at Pipeline on the North Shore. Bruce and Andy would hang out with the best surfers of the time. This was the Wave Warriors house that I owned with Gerry Lopez. The Pipe house. We’d lock the gate to keep the posers out. To get through the gate was a big deal, and I knew that Bruce and Andy were going to be part of surf history somewhere down the line. Coming from a big surf family based out of Haina, Kauai, they just had the “It” factor, and I got to watch them develop their talent. Lucky me.
Danny Fuller also came from Kauai and surfed the North Shore ripping Pipeline. He’s so casual and smooth, with lots of style. He’s part of the current gang dominating the Pipeline line-up. He’s very versatile; from hot-dogging small waves to tow-in’s at Teahupo’o. He’s also one of the most friendly and happy-go-along guys I’ve ever known. Always smiling and laughing.
John John. The tow-headed North Shore grom. I’ve watched John John surf since he was eight-years-old and now he’s suddenly turned into “da man” at places like Pipe and Backdoor. Here he was on this trip, still only 16-years-old, but hanging with all the older guys. But the kid surfs like you can’t even imagine. He’s the future. Being raised on the North Shore among surfing’s powerful elite, and learning from them, watching them, surfing with the best of the best, has all contributed in allowing John John to take it to the next level. His surfing is what the other kids are going to try to live up to. He tows-in when big wave riders won’t even paddle out. He walks right by them and says, “See you out there!”
Nathan has always surfed…since he could hold on to a boogie board. I think even before he could walk! I’d play with him, float around with him in the water. He always rode the big waves. In Hawaii, I would have to pull him up from under water by his leash. Nathan is a true daredevil. From motorcycles to snowboarding to skateboarding to big wave surfing. He’s a master of it all and with respect. When he was younger, Nathan always had to keep up with Christian and the other older guys, and so that would just push him. And then some. Everyone has always loved Nathan because of his talent and his mellow vibe. He just does what he does, hanging out and loving it. Surfing, traveling, making movies, doing magazine articles, designing and shaping surfboards, painting, taking photos, etc. He’s a real artist-in-motion.
Art Brewer. I’ve known Art since I was seventeen. He’s always had a camera around his neck. I really got to know him when he and Spider Wells moved in next door to me in ‘69 at Pipeline. It’s been a long road. He’s been on the cutting edge of surf photography for over forty years and still has the stoke to go on surf trips. He’s paid his dues and got his rewards. Art taught me how to work a manual camera back in the mid-seventies, and he’s still teaching me.
So this was our little group. No tourists allowed. This was a trip that only Nathan could put together. No maggazine or clothing company could come up with something like this, with these group of guys. From 16 to 60. And what an adventure it was.
It began when we flew into Singapore and found out that there had been an earthquake in Padang. Padang is where the rest of us were to meet up with Bruce and John John at the boat. There was no chance of us getting a flight into Padang after the quake. So we hung in Singapore for awhile, some of us just prowling through the city of lights, some of just trying to get some rest while we had to wait around.
Finally, after about two days, we were able to head for Padang, where we met up immediately with Bruce and John John at the boat. And right off the bat, we went to Lance’s Right for sunrise services. It was head high and overhead for a few days. The goofy-footers wanted to go to Macaronis.
Check out our blog on Part 2 as the journey continues…
Volcom is doing a special Pipeline/Pipe House series, mainly featuring Herbie and Gerry Lopez. This is Part II in a series and shows some crazy Herbie antics. Typical of Herbie but outrageous to the rest of us. Their next series will feature some cool Old School footage of Christian and Nathan back when they were groms, so stay tuned!
So anyone who knows a lick of surf history knows that before it became the notorious Volcom Pipe House, it was Gerry Lopez’s and Herbie Fletcher’s pad first. And it’s safe to say that all throughout the 80s, anyone who was anyone in the surf world walked through the doors of that house. People from Johnny Boy-Gomes to Dane Kealoha, Martin Potter and Kelly Slater. So many notable, talented riders and characters. Much of the Wave Warriors grew into infamy from the sands in front of Pipeline and Backdoor; it was the best of times with debauchery run amok on land and sheer, unfiltered bravado in the water.
Fast forward a couple of decades. Time flies but good times never die down. Some faces have faded but as is always the case, that only means new ones emerge. Many of Astrodeck’s team riders haunt the Pipe House compound and still dominate with their presence. And no one has forgotten that Herbie and the Pipe House go hand-in-hand, rich in a timeline of history.
Volcom’s own Bruce Irons recently went on a trip to the Mentawaii’s with Herbie. And after coming back home from that epic journey, Bruce called Herbie up and personally invited him to join the Volcom Pipeline Pro that’s taking place now. Because, come on…how can you do an event like that and not involve Herbie Fletcher? That’s just wrong.
So this five-star WQS event started today and the conditions are…eh. The winds aren’t a big factor today, they’re kinda light. And the waves are looking choppy, junky with sand on the reef and double-ups. Not ideal. Guys who are regulars out there are getting scored 1.6 and 2.3’s. Anyway, been getting all this coverage by watching the live webcast (www.volcompipelinepro.com). Herb was invited to do some commentary, an opportunity to give a rich detailed history of having been one of the first people to surf Pipeline back in the day, and also talk about the good ole Pipe House during its heyday of yesteryear. Herb’s also going to be surfing the event right before the finals. That’s always cool. And, you know, he’s still the only guy his age who’s not afraid to charge Pipe…on a longboard!
Yeah, Herbie! Can’t wait to hear all about it when you get back.
Below is a piece that was writen by Volcom about the Pipeline House:
On Thursday February 8, 2007 Volcom purchased one of the most famous houses in surfing history. The three-story home is situated directly in front of Pipeline on Oahu’s North Shore. It was once home to legendary surfers Gerry Lopez and Herbie Fletcher and has been an icon in the surfing world for close to three decades. It will now serve as Volcom’s second residence in front of the world renowned surf break.
“This is an incredible opportunity for our team riders, coaches, product developers, and the entire marketing program,” said Richard Woolcott, Volcom’s president and chief executive officer. “It’s also a great honor to carry on the legacy of the house that Gerry Lopez and Herbie Fletcher made so famous.”
The new home will be headquarters for Volcom team rider Bruce Irons and other top Volcom surfing professionals during the winter months while they train for the Triple Crown of Surfing and maximize their exposure during the north shore season. In addition, the house will be used as an R&D center for product design, testing and retailer roundtables. The original Volcom House will continue to accommodate the majority of Volcom’s domestic and international up-and-coming team riders.
“I can’t believe that we even had the opportunity to purchase this historic house,” said Volcom’s vice president of marketing, Troy Eckert. “Just thinking about the legends that used to call The Pipe House home is amazing. I can’t wait for our team, and especially Bruce, to enjoy the house. It’s a dream come true.”
“We are all so lucky to have both places and ensure our presence at Pipeline. We wanted to give Bruce and the team the best place to live in the winter,” said Volcom’s surf brand manager Brad Dougherty. “This is a very exciting step for our surfing program.”
Volcom team rider Bruce Irons said, “Growing up as a kid we saw this place in all the videos and we could only dream about what it was like. That dream has become reality and we now get to live it for the rest of our lives!”
Volcom Hawaii sales rep, Clint Moncata said, “From the ghettos of V-land to the beachfront at Pipe, never in my wildest dreams could I have predicted we would be part of one of the most famous houses in the surfing world. The new Volcom Pipe House is a reward to our Volcom Hawaii surf team for always believing in the brand!”
“The community up-roared when we bought the first house and we proved that we fit in. We all hung out at this house when we were kids and this was the only place we knew. Now we are back and in full effect. Check mate… bring it on!” said Volcom Hawaii ambassador Kai Garcia.
“This place and this house are full of Hawaiian surfing history. I’m proud and humbled to be a part of it. Volcom will continue the history from this incredible site,” said Volcom Hawaii team coach Dave Riddle.