If you’ve recently seen a silhouetted figure riding a yellow, bruised and battered board deep in a Pipeline barrel, the afternoon sun isn’t playing tricks on you. That silhouetted figure is Lucas Godfrey, 22 years old, and the boards he rides are not the newest, the greatest, the most innovative or the most expensive. Like most of us, Lucas has a day job and only buys equipment that he’s budgeted for.
On the biggest and best Pipe days, Lucas finds a way to get off work and catch waves among the pack of pro surfers on his stickerless boards, and during the winter season, photographers have captured the North Shore Underground charger deep in Backdoor barrels, sliding casually behind enormous Pipeline curtains, and exploding out of Off the Wall tubes.
His rides infiltrated social media and magazines, and the question grew amongst the surf community: who is Lucas Godfrey?
What was your focus during the winter season, Lucas?
This winter I focused on having a lot of fun, just being in the water every day. Overall, just try and have fun. Stay happy and positive and catch good waves.
Take us back to your surfing roots. How did it all begin?
My earliest memory of surfing was sand sliding on a boogie board at Sunset and Three Tables. I remember thinking it was the best thing ever. Then going into the shorebreak and getting pounded, graduating to the soft top and going further out. It was one of the best times of my life, no worries, just going to the beach with my friends and going to school.
Did attending Sunset Beach Elementary, across from Pipe, help motivate you to push your surfing skill?
Yeah. Watching Pipe from a young age, you want to be out there, watching guys get barreled out of their minds. You tell yourself I want to be one of those guys one day, and if they’re doing it maybe I can be doing it as well.
What was your first contest?
My first contest was at the Menehune surf contest when I was 11. I never really performed well in contests so I never continued doing them. I thought of surfing more as a fun time, while at the contest everyone is serious and trying to win. I didn’t feel like I fit in. I’d rather surf with my friends and have fun, it’s a lot less stress and a good time.
Did you ever think of surfing as a career?
I never thought of surfing as a career. It’s my passion, how I have fun, what I like to do with my life. I love the ocean, the beach, and Hawaii and as long as I can stay in this place and keep surfing, I’ll be happy. I don’t have much of a focus or determination to do something in particular other than having a good time. It’s about the adrenaline rush. Any wave out there is a good wave, it doesn’t matter what happens as long as you’re ok and come up laughing.
What is your day job?
I work in landscaping and carpentry. I help my Dad or other people I know and try and choose my days when the waves aren’t good to get work done and then when the waves are good, surf.
We’ve seen you all winter long at Pipeline and Backdoor. Are those your favorite places to surf?
I love surfing Off the Wall and Pipe. A couple years ago, I didn’t like surfing over there, I grew up at places like Chuns, but I began to enjoy hollow waves.
You’ve been spotted by multiple photographers riding some interesting boards in the lineup at Pipe. Tell us about them.
Boards for me are difficult because they cost so much. I’ve had so many new boards I’ve broken the first session and I thought wow I paid so much money for this board. I try and get boards a little cheaper and on the older side. I’m not too specific with them…it seems like old boards do well in the barrel no matter how old they are. As long as they float and paddle good and draw a good line, I’ll ride it. I love yellow boards because when you break them, you’re not bummed about it, you just go grab another one and do it again. I’ll go to friend’s houses, look under the house, find some old boards and slap some spray paint and some old surf stickers on it and send it into a closeout.
Define for us the North Shore Underground.
The North Shore Underground is whatever you want it to be. It’s about getting the good waves when no one knows who you are, when you’re not on the World Tour but you’re getting insanely barreled. That’s the Underground. It’s about getting good waves and staying unnoticed. I’ve never had a sponsor, so I embrace the Underground. It’s cool when you’re on a yellow board and get a good barrel and people say who was that? The Underground involves good surfers who don’t get the representation, and it’s cool to be a part of it.
Who are your surfing influences?
There’s a long list of surfing influences. I always liked watching Andy and Bruce Irons, especially Bruce in the old Volcom videos. Just his style and attitude, I wanted to surf like him. Mason and John John, how they approached waves and are always having fun and unpredictable. Gavin Beschen, too. I try and mimic him, especially when the waves are big. He has a cool style even though it’s crazy out there. It makes it a lot more fun and less scary.
What can we expect from you next winter season?
Next year, I definitely want to get more trained at surfing the Outer Reefs. I’ve only been riding single fins, so I need to re-think my strategy and get some better equipment so I can make that happen.