“Cory Lopez was the first to paddle into a max-size wave on a crazy, super west swell,’’ legendary photographer Brian Bielmann recently told Surfline. “He didn't make the wave, or his heat, yet no one remembers anything from that contest except that wave." That was back in 1999, when it was called the Gotcha Pro, and the various shots of Cory’s deep-blue behemoth smashed the glass ceiling of what was possible in surfing, as well as becoming bedroom wallpaper for thousands of surfers all around the world. Cory would win the comp two years later, and over the next decade and a half he made a beeline to Chopes every time a red blob showed up on Tahiti’s charts. To no one’s surprise, Cory was one of the standouts in the Code Red swell of 2011, famously surfing a normal board with no straps on one of the biggest waves of the swell.