Unlocked: Lucas Godfrey’s SEOTY Entry ‘Repthrillians’
“Maybe I’ll just be remembered as the lizard who pulled into close-outs at Off The Wall.”
Lucas Godfrey knows how to navigate Pipeline’s inter-dimensional vortex.
Growing up on his fathers fruit farm in Pupukea, Godfrey dropped out of school (though got his GED shortly thereafter) and began fixing boards, with the hopes of building a relationship with Pipeline. After dedicating the better part of his 28 years to this quest, I’d say he’s filled his horn-o-plenty. Every year, he finesses some of the best waves that hit the stretch of reef between Pipeline and Off The Wall.
Lucas focuses his winters on surfing the North Shore, his summers on strike missions, and the off-season working the farm, fixing dings, and moonlighting as a sales rep.
“Surf, fix, farm. In that order,” he tells me.
I recently had the opportunity to chat with Lucas about his new SEOTY entry, reptilian conspiracy theories, and the secret to surfing Pipeline. Shall we?
STAB: What went into making this project?
LUCAS: The clips are primarily from the 2021-22 winter. That season, we had good runs of back to back swells, which made it easy to stack clips. I was sitting on all this and wanted to put something together. I think creating a film is valuable, it has a higher production value, better editing, and lives longer than a standard post.
With this film, I provided the surfing and theme, and Tomo McPherson put the rest together. He’s extremely talented, so I don’t mind letting him go at it. I’m forever grateful that he gave me his time and we were able to make a sick movie.
What’s with the ever present reptilian theme in your life and edits?
In your life, you meet a lot of people that don’t seem real. You’re like, ‘Is this a person? They must be something else, like a reptile [laughs].’ Repthrillians is a spoof on being unreal — turning into a reptile, getting barreled, and going crazy. When the waves here in Hawaii are good, you want to surf all day. It leads to minimal amounts of water and lots of sun exposure. We’re all basically turning into a bunch of lizards.
There’s also the conspiracy theory that the whole world is run by a reptilian government. I think it’s real, cause I’m one of ’em. I was turned into one [laugh]. It was an inside joke in my friend group. Eventually I decided to turn it into a video. My friends will get the joke, and other people might wonder what it’s all about. I just like to branch out and be original. Have fun and create a piece of work that people can enjoy. Whether it makes sense to you or not, I hope you’ll be stoked to watch something new.
Who got you into surfing Pipe?
I feel it was self-directed. When I was a kid, I used to always surf V-Land and got into barrel-riding. I think it naturally progressed into trying to get as barreled as possible. Eventually, I figured out that Pipe was way better than V-land, so I had to start surfing here. At 14, I slowly started working my way up. I still remember getting my first super mental Backdoor wave around 21 and got addicted. I definitely was not that young, like some of kids out there these days.
Do you think Off The Wall helps you practice for Backdoor?
Absolutely. To me, Off The Wall feels less sketchy than Backdoor. I’ll go on way crazier waves at OTW because I spent more time out there getting comfortable and learning my limits. It’s definitely less perfect than Pipe or Backdoor, but if it can teach you anything, it’s how to take a beating. You can understand why people don’t want to go over there and get amongst it.
If you catch the wrong wave and don’t make it, you’re getting pushed to the beach and watching everyone else get barreled as you’re pummeled for 30 minutes. There’s usually less people at OTW, so weirdly you might not get as many good waves, but you get more practice. You learn how to thread the needle and read the sections. It saves you from trying to learn at Pipe or Backdoor, blowing it, and having guys not want to give you a chance.
Is the Vans Pipe Masters something you want to be a part of?
I was the second alternate for this yearʻs event, but no alternates got in. I appreciate that invite, though. I might not be inside the box, but I’m right outside — they just gotta open up and let me in somehow [laughs]. I think there’s a whole community of us that deserve to be in it, but I know how it is. There’s limited spots. I would love to be in the event and I think I’ve proven in past years that I’m capable of surfing to that caliber. If people wanna see some sending go down, I’m available.
Is it beneficial or detrimental to roll in a pack of superstars at Pipeline — like John, Nate, Jamie, and the OGs?
It’s the best thing in the world. You’re being pushed by incredible human beings. If you were out there by yourself, you’d be scared shitless. You wouldn’t even go on any of those waves. With people pushing you, you have to go on those waves just to hang. If a bomb comes right to you and you don’t go, they’re gonna be like, ‘Well, fuck this guy.’ There’s nothing negative about it.
Jamie is a huge influence and heʻs given me lots of advice. Without him, Iʻd have to figure it out by myself — or maybe never figure it out at all. It’s cool to learn from people who want you to succeed, especially when you’re growing up. Just take some notes, and do your own representation of it. Copy is a gnarly word, just transpose.
How would you describe your approach to Pipeline?
Probably just looking for the big right [laughs]. I try to have fun. It’s easy to get frustrated out there. Every day is different and there’s thousands of possible combinations of wind, tide, swell, crowd, sun. Thereʻs a lot of surfers out there and there’s only so many good waves. Sometimes you get lucky, sometimes you don’t.
There is a formula to getting good waves at Pipe. I think the secret is just to go on the wave that no one wants, or the wave that no one can catch [laughs]. If you’re quick, it doesn’t matter who you are, you can whip it right into it and free fall into the wave of your life.
Be smart, quick, and ready. That’s the secret.
Alright, now a Mikey C question: “I want to ask Lucas about his DGAF approach to the North Shore lineup. Besides JOB, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a person do more laps around the crowd, even if they’re locals, and he seems to get away with it.” What’s your response?
Um… shoot. I guess just to have a smile on your face. Or wait until someone rousts you [laughs].
I’ve invested an insane amount of time, injuries, and broken boards into surfing that wave. You learn and gain a lot of respect from doing so, which will help you in the future. Putting in your time will get you those waves. At the end of the day, whoever has the best positioning is going to get the wave. If you’ve got the chip in, there’s almost nothing anyone can do.
It’s not always someone else’s fault that you didn’t get the wave you wanted. You look for someone to blame and then you’re like, ‘Wait, maybe I’m just having a bad day’ [laughs]. To have the opportunity to be healthy and out there is a blessing, whether I get the wave I want or not.
What would you say your experience with surf sponsorship has been?
I’ve struggled with it almost my entire…I don’t even know if you called it a career, cuz I haven’t really made any mone [laughs]. I’ve had sponsors here and there, but no major contracts. But I do have people that have supported me along the way. Bret Marumoto Surfboards and Third Stone Glassing provide boards for me at a good price, sometimes free. Roark clothing recently sponsored me. On A Mission and Future Fins, too. I take what I can get, and I don’t expect much. If I can get free stuff and a little bit on top of that, I’m stoked. I’ve gotten used to having to provide on my own.
I support myself by fixing surfboards and doing surf lessons. I’m also a sales rep/team rider for Carve Sunglasses, so that goes both ways. I dip into different things and pull what I can from each. Surfing as a full-time job for me was never a reality, and I was never looking at it as something I could survive off of. Right now, I’m in a place where I can do it and support myself. I still live with my dad and we get along great. I think family is above all.
I feel like the surf industry’s really hard. It’s hard to be in that top tier. When things change, I’ll move on and work harder. Life’s like a video game. There are endless possibilities and opportunities. Just gotta do what you love.
Your edit is dedicated to Kalani David. What was your relationship with him like?
Kalani was a huge part of my life. He was an extremely talented person and we had a lot of great moments together. I think it’s the most important part of the whole video — to express the importance of his legacy and remember his life. Kalani lived life to the fullest and gave it his all, the least I could do is put him at the beginning. To me, we’re still making memories; but the memories that we created before will live on forever.
What’s your mission for the future?
Make cool videos and surf as much as possible. Everyone loves watching stuff, especially in this day and age. We live our life, then go home and watch something. So much of life just slips away into the memory bank, it’s hard to recognize everything as it happens. I feel like videos are a great way to relive those moments and relate them to other people.
Last question: When it’s all over, how do you want to be remembered?
Maybe I’ll just be remembered as the lizard who pulled into close-outs at Off The Wall.
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