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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