Derek Ho, Pipe. Photo: Noyle/A-Frame

The first ever Hawaiian ASP World Champion (1993), Derek Ho is not your stereotypical Polynesian surf hero. Built more like a jump jockey than a beefcake who rides frightening water, nevertheless his uncanny prowess at Pipeline and eerie calm under pressure tube style drew inevitable comparisons to Lopez. Four Triple Crowns and three Pipemasters pay testament to his North Shore competition credentials, while ultra paper thin boards facilitated by his tiny build, combined with a dramatic showdown at nasty 8ft Pipe allowed Derek to make history in Slater’s injury-troubled sophomore year. The son of one of the original Waikiki beach boys Chico Ho, Derek started surfing aged 3, egged on by older brother Mike whom he’d eventually join on tour. After run-ins with the law as a teen, Derek became a fixture on tour making the top 16 ten seasons in a row, before ultimately winning the title from a rank outsider’s 36th seed. A horrific injury at G-Land in ‘97 eventually contributed to him leaving the tour in 98, while these days Derek is still seen pulling into bombs with the same sleek precision.


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