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Derek Ho, Hawaii’s first world surfing champion, dies at 55

World surfing champion (1993) Derek Ho, who became Hawaii’s first male surfer to win a professional title, has died at the age of 55.

Tributes from friends, family and fans were pouring in on social media today for Ho, who reportedly died Friday night after slipping into a coma from a heart attack.

Ho won the Triple Crown four times (1984, ‘86, ‘88 and ‘90). Ho was 20 when he captured his first title in 1984. “It’s not like I got big and fat and can’t surf anymore,” Ho told the Honolulu Advertiser in 2007. “I guess it’s just a love for the ocean. I love being out there and I still feel like I have a drive to compete.”

Ho and his older brother Michael dominated the North Shore waves in the 1980s and early ’90s. “We appreciate it, and we don’t take it for granted,” Ho said of his family dynasty in 2007.

Pro surfer and musician Landon McNamara shared an Instagram video, recalling memories of Ho: “I love you Uncle D thank you for paving the way and being an inspiration for a GoofyFooter. The NorthShore, The surfing world, and Pipeline will never be the same again.”

 
 
 
 
 
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You can see at the start of this clip me pulling back, and the only reason is because I saw Uncle Derek Ho going for it, and I’m not even gonna try to say I gave him the wave because in my eyes any wave he wanted out there was his, that’s the respect I had for him and how much of an idol he was to me. Im lucky enough to have shared sessions like this with him, some good times, and inspirational one liners he’d throw my way every now and than that I’ll never forget. I love you Uncle D thank you for paving the way and being an inspiration for a GoofyFooter. The NorthShore, The surfing world, and Pipeline will never be the same again. All my love going out to all the HO Ohana, if you need anything I’ll be there! R.I.Paradise Uncle D

A post shared by Landon Mcnamara (@landon_mcnamara) on

 
 
 
 
 
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RIP Derek Ho. 🙏🏻 Sending prayers to the Ho family and his Ohana @derekho1980 photo (c) @erikkabik – The great Derek Ho, brother to Michael, uncle to Mason and Coco, four-time Triple Crown winner, two-time Pipe Master and Hawaii’s first-ever men’s world champ (1993) has died, aged fifty-five. – I captured this image of Derek in January 2020 when he competed in the Volcom pipe pro at Banzai Pipeline on Oahu Hawaii. On this morning there were no waves, so I didn’t get him surfing but I was honored to meet this legend and have a chance to snap a photo of him. He was a true inspiration to many.  #derekho #surfchampion #surflegend #ripderekho #surfing #surfer

A post shared by Erik Kabik (@erikkabik) on

 
 
 
 
 
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The man. The myth. The legend. Our hero. Words can never express what this man stood for and meant to all of us growing up here in Hawaii. From the first time I surfed #Sunset and #Pipeline 38 years ago until now #UncleD was always on the best waves and dominating. He always surfed more than anyone. Always so psyched. More psyched to surf than anyone I have ever met. Only #UncleMike and #Mason came close. Going to miss that smile and that #Mana. My Aloha goes out to the Ho Ohana. Love you guys. I’m always here for you. Love you Uncle D ! ❤️ You always put a smile on my face. #FirstHawaiianWorldChamp #Hawaiian #KanakaMaoli #NorthshoresFinest #WaimanaloBoy #LegendsNeverDie #RestinParadise #AhuiHou

A post shared by Kala Alexander (@kala_dacaptain) on

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