Liquid Roots

The third generation of the Ho family shows no signs of getting out of the surf.


Photo by Mark Arbeit

The Ho Family: Michael, Mason, Derek and Coco.

Some kids inherit the family business. In Coco and Mason Ho’s case, they inherited DNA that was laced with salt water. Their dad, Michael Ho, and uncle, Derek Ho, are legends in the surf world, and their grandfather, Edmund “Chico” Ho, was an original Waikiki- Beach Boy. Both Michael and Derek spent more than a decade on the Association of Surfing Professionals’ (ASP) world tour, snatching numerous victories. Michael twice won the Triple Crown of Surfing (including the 1983 inaugural title), while Derek scored four Triple Crown titles.

Growing up on the North Shore, and among such influences, surfing was destiny for Coco and Mason. “My dad took me surfing starting around 11 months on a longboard, but I actually knew I wanted to be a surfer at eight,” says Mason, now 19.

The surf bug bit his sister at the same age. “That’s when I started wanting to compete,” says Coco, now 16.

The young rippers are already carving their own impressive surf paths. In January, Mason and Coco both finished third in the Billabong ASP World Junior Championships in Narrabeen, Australia. The contest is recognized as the most prestigious event for juniors, and a breeding ground for future hopefuls in sport.

The surf progenies say that they’ve never felt any pressure from their dad. “He’s always been super relaxed and never pushed us to do anything we didn’t want to do,” says Coco.

Both admit, however, that they didn’t want to surf with him when they were younger. “It just seemed like the only thing we could go off and do by ourselves. When he came out there it was like, ‘Aah, just go back on the beach,’” laughs Mason, “but now we beg him to come.” Coco adds that her dad and uncle “go head-to-head and they’ll try to get us into it. It turns into this big competition between all of us, like, ‘Oh, but did you see my last wave?’”

As for advice, Michael says, “Basically I just try to make sure they use the right equipment, check the currents, the reefs, respect the ocean and don’t try to go over their heads. ... I tell my kids, ‘Just because dad rode big waves doesn’t mean you have to,’ but, eventually, they probably will.”

Triple Crown Time!

Photo by David Croxford

This year, the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing celebrates its 25th anniversary. The event takes place Nov. 12 to Dec. 20, with more than $750,000 and a new Chevy truck offered as prizes. The men’s events include the Reef Hawaiian Pro, the O’Neill World Cup of Surfing and the Billabong Pipeline Masters. Women compete at the Reef Hawaiian Pro, Roxy Pro and Billabong Pro Maui. Will Kelly Slater win a ninth world title?

If you can’t make it to the North Shore to find out, no worries, watch from your desk. The action will be live on the Internet at

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Honolulu Magazine May 2018
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