Lopez was born in Honolulu, (Nov 7, 1948) Hawaii, grew up in East Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii, and attended Punahou School. He frequented the semi-secret reefs in and around Aina Haina as well as better known surf spots in Metro-Honolulu. An early reference point for his sleek and precise style was the graceful Paul Strauch, whom Lopez still credits as "the most stylish surfer ever." Lopez became the Hawaii State Champ at age 14, and he and friend Reno Abellira began surfing Ala Moana Bowls frequently. It is here that Lopez began honing his casual style and masterful tube riding skills.