Life is good for Derek Ho. He lives one minute from the beach in Pupukea, gets paid to ride his favorite waves on his own schedule, and helps provide direction to younger team members. Not a bad gig if you can get it.
“It hasn’t been [a bad life],” he laughs. “I’ve been fortunate to still be able to do that at this time. You don’t have to win world titles - though it helps - to make a living out of surfing.”
The surfer, who along with his brother Michael dominated the first years of the Triple Crown of Surfing, will always be remembered for being the first from Hawaii to win an Association of Surfing Professionals title, his Triple Crown victories and his legendary ride at the 1986 Pipe Masters that included an eight-second tube.
When he’s not “trying to do my best job taking care of my kids,” Derek is sticking close to home. He no longer travels the world to compete, but when the tour comes to Hawaii, Ho is there in the lineup.
“I think we will be surfing the Triple Crown for a few more years,” says the man who won four such events. “It’s nice surfing at home, and the waves are really good at that time. And it’s fun to get out there and compete with the kids.”
Being the son of one of the original beach boys, it should come as no surprise that the Ho family continues to succeed in the water.
“I have five nephews who are all goofy footers,” he says. Also added to the brood of successful surfers is niece Koko, who recently won the World Amateur Title at Huntington Beach.
How long Derek will compete is anyone’s guess - even his own. What he does know is that the ocean will always be a part of his life.
“I still love having fun getting out there, being active when the waves are good,” he says. “I can’t escape the ocean. I’ve been doing it all my life.”
Yep, life is good for the one-time troublemaker from Kailua High School. He surfs, plays golf, passes along his experience to his kids and other young watermen and women, and is appreciative of his past.
“I never imagined when I was growing up that I would accomplish what I did in surfing.”
Derek hopes others will follow in his footsteps - and enjoy the good life.
It sure beats the 9 to 5 grind.
- Steve Murray
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