Derek Ho, the 1993 World Champion, has passed away on Friday afternoon, July 17, after suffering a heart attack earlier in the week. He was 55 years old.
As news broke of the loss of the much respected Ho around the surfing world the outpouring of love and grief has come from all corners of the globe. From former Pipe Masters, to former World Champions, to all of the friends who's lives Uncle Derek, as he was known, touched in the Islands, Ho's impact on the sport of surfing is vast and extensive.
The iconic Pipeline specialist had enjoyed a bountiful winter on the North Shore. True to form, he was the stand-out on an all-time day at Pipe on New Year's Day in a lineup that included 11-time World Champion Kelly Slater, bodyboard icon Mike Stewart and other chargers such as Nathan Florence and Balaram Stack.
Ho was a two-time Pipe Master and a four-time Triple Crown winner, but he made history in 1993 when he became the first Hawaiian surfer to win the World Title.
Earlier in the week Ho sent a heartfelt birthday wish out to his brother, Michael. "I don't know where I would be or what I would be doing if it wasn't for this special human being I get to call my brother my father," he wrote. "Love you to death! And thanx for the inspiration and motivation! You are the man."
Ho was the uncle of former Championship Tour surfer Coco Ho and her brother Mason Ho. He was the brother of Michael Ho, and first cousin of Don Ho, the much-loved Hawaiian entertainer.
Our hearts are with his wife Tanya, his son Makoa, his daughter Kianaho and the whole Ho family. Derek will be missed and remembered.